The Kingpin has fallen out with his former right-hand man, the Arranger. The Beetle just got involved, in a failed attempt to kill Spider-Man.
|Cover Art:||Sal Buscema|
|Reprinted In:||Complete Spider-Man (UK) #5|
After letting the dust settle, the Kingpin decides to finally take care of the Arranger. He does so by importing some foreign labour-market, two British assassins, Malcolm Knight and Thomas Fogg. They're in Liverpool, in chase of Bertie Flynn, a friend who betrayed and stole their mutual employer. Fogg is a ruthless killer, with the ability to transform into mist. Knight can turn into an armored humanoid, with a retractable blade on his left wrist. Of course, poor Bertie doesn't last much, and Knight impales him, much to his sorrow. Knight is tired of killing old friends (apparently he does that a lot). Fogg tells him that their boss got a service request from New York, very good money.
In NY, the Arranger called Spider-Man. He begs Spidey's help, saying that the Kingpin will kill him because he blames him for the Lobo conflict, the loss of territory to Chameleon and Hammerhead and for the failure in killing Spidey. Spidey isn't convinced, and goes away. The Arranger calls both the Chameleon and Hammerhead to offer his services and his knowledge of Kingpin's operations, but they both refuse out of knowing he's a dead man. What would they lose, I ask, if they took a chance and accepted him? Then the Arranger calls Detective Farrow, and he says he'll talk with the D.A. and call him back in the morning. Now this one I really don't buy. The guy goes "Hey, I'm the 2nd-in-command of the most powerful and untouchable mob lord in New York, perhaps in the whole U.S., and I want to offer myself as a witness if you don't allow him to kill me." . Anything less than "Me and a whole squad of blues will be there in 2.8 minutes!!!" would be outright stupid. Either Farrow is an idiot, who just wasted his chance of getting the best possible witness ever against Wilson Fisk, or he's on the take. Neither of them makes sense with past characterisation.
Anyway, even if any of them accepted, it would have been of no use. Just after Farrow hangs up, Fogg breaks in through the window. The scared old man still calls the Bugle saying he needs Spider-Man's help, but Fogg breaks the Arranger's neck.
40 minutes later, Spidey arrives and sees the body. Fogg is still there, as well as Knight (I wonder why? Were they making sure that an old man with a broken neck lying in a pool of his own blood wouldn't get up and leave after 40 minutes?). Fogg's effect on Spidey's Spider-Sense is weird, like the danger is all around Peter. Fogg grabs Spidey by the neck, but Knight asks him to let Spidey go. Their contract said to kill him should he interfere in the main task. The main task is done, so no need to do it. Now why would the Kingpin say "Kill him if he interferes" instead of "Kill him if you can"? Fogg throws Spidey through the window, and he barely can slow his fall with his webs, due to still being stunned by the choke hold. Spidey tries to follow them, but they leave him stunned again and escape.
In the next morning, the Kingpin thanks his Londinum counterpart, while Spidey overhears on the outside of the office, and prepares to go to London...
There's some dumb character behaviour in here, although Fogg and Knight's introduction was not bad.
Plusses and minusii. Let's call it an average three webs.