Mighty Marvel Checklist HyperboleCheck: Spider-Woman #25

By now, it should be wonderfully well-established that the merry mavens at Marvel Comics summoned superlative skills in self-promotion throughout the sixties and seventies. The practice persisted past that ecstatic era, even if the promos proved less vivid and verbose. For example, the boastful ballyhoo for Spider-Woman #25, with a cover date of April 1980, was stylishly succinct: “Spider-Woman becomes a criminal! How?…Why? It’s a shocker!” Only a few words, but one of them is tried and true. “Shocker!” Can it really be? Only one way to find out.

The titanic tale, written by Michael Fleisher and featuring art by Steve Leialoha, begins with our hero, the alluring arachnid (as the caption calls her), in a deathtrap of a room, equipped with electrified walls, floor and ceiling and bomb seconds away from going off. She manages to elegantly extricate herself from the edgy emergency, but when the bomb goes off, the Time-Life operator employed by the malevolent Mr. Big erroneously informs him that the comely crime-fighter has become a cadaver.

sw25 first

Mr. Big starts the second step of his sinister scheme, beginning with some suspicious sketches of Spider-Woman’s scintillating ensemble. Soon, Spider-Woman is swinging towards the imposing prison where the criminal who was called the Gamesman is incarcerated. Spider-Woman has visited him previously, but this time she’s strangely affectionate, even leaving him tools designed to help him escape. When he does so, Spider-Woman is waiting to waft his away to the bank where the spoils of his sins are settled.

sw diamonds

On their way out, the devilish duo is snatched up by Mr. Big’s men. Once they’re brought before the cur of a crime boss, the shocker of Spider-Woman’s newfound nastiness is revealed. Thinking Spider-Woman was no more, Mr. Big hired an actress to portray the hero and lure the Gamesman to give up his ill-gotten gains, but it turns out Mr. Big coincidentally recruited a good friend of Spider-Woman’s alter ego, Jessica Drew. And Jessica sniffed out the deception.

sw flashback

So it was when Mr. Big thought it was an actress portraying Spider-Woman, it was actually Spider-Woman portraying the actress portraying Spider-Woman in a convoluted double-switcheroo. All this deception leaves her adversaries addled enough that they crumble fairly quickly following the reveal. A shocker? They certainly seemed to think so.

Captain America #136
Thor #186
The Incredible Hulk #138
The Amazing Spider-Man #91
Fantastic Four #104
Thor #183
Avengers #44
The Amazing Spider-Man #53
Daredevil #36
Captain America #131
Captain America #132
Fantastic Four #132
Thor #192
Daredevil #31
Avengers #97
Amazing Spider-Man #100
Fantastic Four #75
Tales of Suspense #93

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