Cover Price: $.30

February 1977

Value: $16 (Near Mint-)
1st Lightmaster


Supporting Cast:
Joe Robertson, Flash Thompson, Sha Shan, Gloria Grant


1st Lightmaster, Tarantula

"...And There Was Lightmaster!" - 17 Pages

Writer -
Jim Shooter
Artist - Sal Buscema
Inker - Mike Esposito
Cover - Sal Buscema
Lettering - Joe Rosen
Colorist - Glynis Wein
Editor -
Archie Goodwin

Also see Hi-C Mini-Comics #1 for an alternate version of this issue.

The inaugural storyline of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man wraps up with issue #3 and introduces a dangerous new villain to Spider-Man's rogues gallery. Just to recap: A mystery man is targeting New York City's political leaders. This behind-the-scenes villain hired the Tarantula to kidnap Edward Lansky, vice chancellor of Empire State University. Later, the Tarantula and long-time Spider-Man foe Kraven the Hunter team up to kidnap School Chancellor Richard Gorman. However, Spider-Man prevented the Tarantula from murdering the mayor and he defeated and captured Kraven after a battle in Central Park. When Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #2 ends, the mystery man turns on his henchman, the Tarantula, and says: "You simply know too much."

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #3 begins with Spider-Man saving an elderly gentleman from a gang of thugs. It's a nice victory, but Spidey can't help but think about his failure to crack the recent kidnappings. There hasn't even been a ransom note for Lansky and Gorman. The scene then shifts to the mystery man's townhouse. The Tarantula and Gorman are bound with rope, but the Tarantula easily escapes and vows, "El Lider must die!" However, the mystery man has donned his own costume. "I am no longer 'El Lider'! I am -- Lightmaster!" he tells his former employee, as he trounces him into unconsciousness. Lightmaster can control light, using it in highly focused energy bursts, bright flares that can stun and blind opponents, and even to fly. More ominously, he can create objects out of "solid light" - things like axes and battering rams. Later, Peter Parker, Flash Thompson and Gloria Grant are leaving a restaurant when Peter notices a flashing light in a City Hall window. Quickly switching into his Spider-Man costume, he investigates, only to find Lightmaster standing over another government employee, the City Controller. Spidey doesn't recognize the villain, but Lightmaster knows him: "You have interfered with my plans before - but this time, you will die!" Lightmaster beats Spider-Man fairly easily, as the glare from the energy he projects made it tough for Spidey to see or concentrate. Lightmaster escapes with yet another hostage.

Peter, with his damaged eyes covered by dark glasses, stops by the Daily Bugle and asks Joe Robertson for some background information on the three kidnapping victims. Something in one of the files catches his attention and Spider-Man makes a visit to Gramercy Park townhouse to check it out. This time, Spider-Man has put dark, protective lenses inside his mask to better combat the Lightmaster's powers. He crashes through the window, saying, "Good evening, Dr. Lansky!" Yes, Edward Lansky, the first kidnapping "victim", is, in fact, the man behind the crimes! He admits as much to Spider-Man, saying "It was all for the college! I intended to get rid of that "idiot" Gorman and the corrupt city officials who were denying us funds to operate!" With Gorman out of the way, Lansky would have become Chancellor of the University. Pretty slick. The two fight again and Spider-Man lures Lansky into the same theater where he defeated Kraven the Hunter in the previous issue. "I clearly recall one important fact about the theoretical nature of solid light," Spider-Man thinks. "It's a conductor!" He lures Lightmaster into blasting a bank of electrical equipment, thus zapping himself into unconsciousness.

We get a little bit of character development this issue. Peter, Flash and Gloria go out to eat, but Flash gets freaked out when he realizes Sha Shan, first introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #108, is working as a waitress. Sha Shan saved Flash's life in Vietnam. He tries to speak to her, but she runs away crying, leaving Flash despondent. This is a very nice tease to a long-term storyline that will play out over the next year in this very title.

Overall, a solid three-issue story. I've always liked the mystery villain approach. However, I wish there had been one or two more clues dropped to give the readers a chance to figure out the mystery. We aren't privy to what Peter learns at the Daily Bugle until he already has exposed Lansky's scheme.

For some reason, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter wrote this issue. Long-time Spider-Scribe Gerry Conway handled the writing chores on the previous two issues of this storyline. Shooter did a very good job of running the company and always was a decent writer (his biggest credit was the Secret Wars limited series), but he's no Gerry Conway. The story is hampered by somewhat pedestrian dialogue - particularly the tendency to describe exactly what we see in the panel, rather than using dialogue to expand upon what we see.

Next issue: The return of one of Spidey's oldest foes - the Vulture!

Reviewed by Bruce Buchanan.

Quality Rating: 3
Significance Rating: 4

Overall Rating:



Spectacular Spider-Man #2

Also This Month:

Amazing Spider-Man #165
Marvel Team-Up

Spectacular Spider-Man #4