Cover Price: $.30
Value: $12 (Near Mint-)
"Tiger In A Web!" - 17 Pages
When we last left Spider-Man, he had found
himself in the middle of a controversy at Empire State University. The school's
president had made a controversial decision to end its night school program,
which mainly served poor, minority students. Night school students are
protesting the decision. They argue that the university could sell the Erskine
Manuscripts, an important collection of scientific documents, and generate
enough money to keep the night school open. However, ESU President Dwyer isn't
willing to listen. The campus is on the verge of a riot and the situation gets
worse when the superhero known as the White Tiger (or at least, a man appearing
to be the White Tiger) steals the Erskine Manuscripts.
Peter Parker: The
Spectacular Spider-Man #9 ended with the White Tiger angrily confronting
Professor Ramon Vasquez, the leader of the demonstrations -- only to be
interrupted by an equally angry Spider-Man! "Let him go, killer--now!"
Spider-Man yells, leaping through the professor's office window. "Pero, usted no
comprende! You don't understand!" the White Tiger replies. But to no avail. The
two start fighting and Spider-Man immediately notices that this man is far more
formidable than the White Tiger he fought in the ESU library in the previous
issue. "There's something goofy here," Spider-Man thinks.
The White Tiger escapes, but not before giving Vasquez a warning. "You have caused great harm this night, Ramon Vasquez," he says in Spanish, meaning Spider-Man doesn't understand it. "For your sake, I hope you can undo your deeds--before I return!" After Spider-Man leaves, Professor Vasquez looks at the Erskine Manuscripts on his desk. Vasquez knows that selling the manuscripts could enable thousands of kids to get an education. But he fears their theft may cause a bloodbath on campus. He hangs his head in his hands, not knowing what to do next. The situation between the student protesters and campus police appears to have reached a boiling point. However, Spider-Man and the White Tiger create a distraction when they brawl through the campus. That gets the protest leaders and President Dwyer to stop and talk. Meanwhile, Blackbyrd, a private detective and a good friend of the White Tiger, tracks down the gang of thugs who tried to steal the Erskine Manuscripts in the previous issue. Campus officials mistakenly believed they were working with the White Tiger, when, in fact, the Tiger tried to stop them.
Spider-Man and the White Tiger land on a delivery truck as they fight and the truck takes them into the South Bronx, the White Tiger's neighborhood. The residents of the heavily Puerto Rican community come out of their homes to watch the fight - and cheer on the White Tiger. "Huh? They--they're cheering him! They love him -- an outlaw -- just like me?!" Spider-Man thinks. "M-maybe I was wrong about him! He said I didn't understand--! Web-Head, you may have pulled one of the biggest boners of your life!" The fight ends when a collapsing wall threatens to crumble on top of a young child. Both heroes stop fighting and go to the boy's rescue. "It finally sunk into my thick head that you were set up! Framed!" Spider-Man tells the White Tiger.
The two heroes head back to campus, where Professor Vasquez has confessed to impersonating the White Tiger and stealing the Erskine Manuscripts. Meanwhile, Blackbyrd steps in with the missing piece of the puzzle. He explains that the thugs who tried to steal the Erskine Manuscript weren't working with Professor Vasquez and that the real White Tiger drove them off. President Dwyer realizes he has made a mistake. "I don't know how, but we're going to work together to find a way to keep ESU's night school open!" he says, drawing cheers from the crowd. The story ends with Spider-Man and the White Tiger shaking hands.
This is a fine conclusion to this two-part story. Writer Bill Mantlo introduced a fairly complicated plot, but all of the pieces ended up fitting together nicely at the end. It's a good illustration that storytelling doesn't have to be decompressed. You can still tell a meaty story in just a couple of issues - everything doesn't have to be dragged out over the course of a year or two.
The White Tiger becomes a recurring guest-star in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, working with Spider-Man on a number of occasions. He makes his next appearance in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #19.
Next issue: Spider-Man races to save a child's life, but finds himself at odds with the Inhuman known as Medusa!
Reviewed by Bruce Buchanan.
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