Spidey Friday Night Fights Hall of Fame: Secret Defeat!


“So many butts to kick, so little time…”

It’s Friday and time once again for another installment of Spidey Friday Night Fights.  Now last week we were originally supposed to have a look at a fight between Spidey and Tombstone but, well… Stegron the Dinosaur Man had other plans.  He hijacked our satellite signal and presented a fight completely of his own concoction that was, shall we say, grossly misrepresented.

But we think we’ve Stegron-proofed the feed now so hopefully we won’t run into that sort of unpleasantness again.  And we will get back on schedule with the Tombstone fight next week.

But tonight?  Well tonight it’s time for another Hall of Fame fight.  The last time we had a Hall of Fame fight it was Spidey tackling Firelord, former herald of Galactus imbued with the Power Cosmic.  This time around we present one of the all time greatest Spidey butt-kickings in the history of mankind.  Yes friends we’re speaking of Secret Wars #3 from July, 1984.  The story was called ‘Tempest Without, Crisis Within!’ and was written by Jim Shooter and drawn by Mike Zeck.

This was a magical time for me.  I was in junior high and was away at summer camp and I actually didn’t get to read this until I’d gotten home to read the comics pile that was accumulating in my room in my absence.  And to top it off that summer saw the release of ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,’ ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Gremlins.’  It was a very busy summer!

So why, some of you ask, does this go down as one of the all time greatest Spider-Man fights?  And perhaps many of you are curious as to why X-Men fans curse this book the way a vampire curses the sun?

All those questions and more will be revealed when you read below!

Our Story: The Beyonder has gathered some of Earth’s most prolific and powerful heroes & villains, as well as a suburb of Colorado, out in space on a planet of his own creation called Battleworld.  He wants to study humans, and what better way to do so than to make super-powered humans fight?


TONIGHT’S CARD


In the left corner…

Peter Benjamin Parker, aka ‘The Spider-Man’

Height & Weight: 5′10″ / 165 lbs.
Powers: Proportionate strength, speed and agility of a spider.
Spider-Sense.  Webshooters.  Good with chemicals.


And in the right corner…

Charles Xavier’s X-Men

Height & Weight: Various
Powers: A whole lot of ’em.  Telepathy.
Teleportation.  Weather Control.
Super strength.  Claws. Eye Blasts.
Absorption. Mind Control.
Born to Lose.


ROUND ONE – DING!


A little bit of backstory is important here.  When the Beyonder gathered dozens of the Earth’s mightiest heroes & villains on his Battleworld he threw Magneto down with the ‘hero’ side alongside the X-Men.  Right off the bat there’s tension.  The Avengers and others (notably the Thing) aren’t on board with having a killer in their ranks.  The X-Men actually try to defend Magneto to the other heroes, which doesn’t do a whole lot to further their cause.  Eventually Magneto flies off to do his own thing, building himself a base elsewhere on the planet.

Tensions are already high between the X-Men and the Avengers, who have Rogue in their ranks just shortly after what Rogue did to Ms. Marvel in Avengers Annual #10.  Because of this growing suspicion Xavier and the X-Men decide that they should go and join with Magneto.  Unfortunately for Chuck, Spidey overhears their plan and goes crazy-insane on them.

Right off the bat Spidey takes out the X-Men ‘Hive Mind,’ Xavier himself.  Chuck realizes Spidey’s eavesdropping on them way too late and Spidey uses that delay to slap Xavier like a red-headed stepchild – and to push that milksop Cyclops back off balance for good measure.  With Xavier and his violating mind control powers down it’s open season on the Children of the Atom.  There are many things Spider-Man does well.  Consistently making the X-Men look like rookies anytime they come into conflict is one of those things.


ROUND TWO – DING!


Wolverine tries to end the fight quick-like the only way he knows how *cough*murder*cough* but Spidey’s just way too quick and agile for him to even touch.  As his claws slice harmlessly through air, we’re left to ponder if he’s really the best at what he does or just a lot of talk and a healing factor?

Spidey’s quickness renders Wolverine impotent in this fight and Colossus steps up to pick up the slack.  And while Colossus is strong he can’t hurt what he can’t hit – or what he can’t even see.  Take that, Ivan!  USA!! USA!! USA!!

Mike Zeck’s art on this fight is crazy fun.  I love how Spidey’s arcing through the air, over Colossus, webbing the Commie’s face up while dodging Wolverine.  It’s all the same damn move!  That’s why Spidey is the best at what *he* does and why the X-Men are all moving in slow-motion in this fight like clay-footed tree sloths trapped in tar.

Meanwhile, Storm and Rogue have pulled themselves together from the initial awestruck terror that gripped them at the onset of the fight.  Or have they?

Storm makes a lame attack at Spidey with her Pew Pew lightning bolts while whining about not being able to hit Spidey with the full fury of a storm because they’re not fighting Spidey outside.  Boo Frickin’ Hoo!  Losers make excuses, Ororo – winners make history.

Close-by, Rogue has her own problems as she’s caught in Spider-Man’s web.  Swing and a miss, Skunk Hair!  Both Storm and Rogue marvel over how strong the webbing must be that even Rogue can’t break out with the strength and powers she wholesale, straight-up stole from Carol Danvers.

But what’s this we see?  Nightcrawler’s feelin’ froggy?  Come get you some, Grover!


ROUND THREE – DING!


Kurt Wagner boasts that he’s as fast and agile as Spidey is and that he’ll “get” the Wallcrawler.  Yet in the next panel what do we see?  Nightcrawler getting all caught up in webs.  Apparently when you’re an X-Man, being as fast and agile as Spidey means Spidey takes your friends first and leaves you for dessert.

Wolverine decides to get back into the fight – or did it take him awhile to run across the room on those stubby legs?  Doesn’t matter anyway.  The Spidey-Sense is firing on all cylinders tonight and Wolverine gets swatted back across the room like it’s ‘Midget Toss’ night at the Battleworld Bar.  I guess when Wolverine says he’s “the best at what he does” he means stabbing people in the back from behind?  Or making like a punching bag?  Who knows!  Either way he’s done in this fight.

Let’s focus on Nightcrawler’s thoughts here and get a mental picture on what your average X-Man thinks of Spidey and his ability to always kick the crap out of them.  “His strength–!  His speed–! Unbelievable!,” Kurt thinks to himself in awe.  “He is AWESOME.”  Yeah he is, Kurt.  And that’s why you’re sitting there covered in webs wishing you had an autograph while Spidey’s already on his way towards the door.  Wunderbar, frankfurter!


ROUND FOUR – DING!


Cyclops finally gets back into the fight after going down with a glass jaw in round one, long enough to yell at Spidey and miss with his optic pewpew blasts.  His team just got trashed, embarrassingly, by the Spider-King of Queens… and he thinks yelling out “STOP!  I said STOP!” will finally freeze the Webhead.  Remind me – who made this guy leader again?  Oh right, Xavier… the bald guy sprawled out unconscious on the floor.

Actually Storm (during her mohawk phase) was the leader on this team, but… enh.  Same same, really.  They’d have gotten their tails kicked no matter who was calling the shots.  Cause they were up against Spider-Man.

Wolverine apparently freed Nightcrawler from the webs as they’re both running after Spidey.  I honestly think this is just for show so that later when they get back to Earth they can claim “we almost had ‘im!’ to their chicks.

And in the back of my mind when I think about this fight I always picture Rogue still swinging from that one pipe, waiting for someone to come collect her, and Colossus grappling with the webbing on his face, cursing in Commie-speak.

Spidey finally makes it to the hallway and finds Reed Richards.  But as he tries to warn Richards about the X-Men’s betrayal, a now conscious Xavier zaps him with telepathic mind control.  While Chuck laments having to manipulate people’s minds (HAHAHA!!) nonetheless Operation: Mutant Mind Crime is in effect.  Spidey can’t remember what he was going to tell Reed, or that he just kicked the butts of an entire X-Men team in under twenty seconds.  Not that it would surprise him anyway.

But you know who *will* remember?  Every X-Man involved in the Secret Wars, that’s who.

And now we look to our judges for tonight’s decision, which I think I can already guess at…


DECISION – SPIDER-MAN!


Yeah – no contest here.  But then it usually isn’t when Spidey fights ‘Xavier’s Children’ (whatever the Hell that means).  Alright, as always let’s go back to the Spidey FNF studio and get expert analysis and commentary from Ben Grimm and Shang Chi.  Ben, you were one of the first to question Magneto’s presence amongst the heroes.  Describe the growing tension on the Beyonder’s Battleworld for us a bit more.


“Yeah George, ya know… it’s like this.  Th’ Chinese gotta a curse what goes “May ya live in interestin’ times.”  And lemme tell ya, those days wuz interestin’ times.  From th’ get go there wuz tension with Magneto in th’ ranks.

Makin’ dat worse wuz Xavier an’ his X-Men sidin’ with that murderin’ scumbag.  It didn’t win ’em no brownie points, I tell ya that much.

And hey, I’m a friend of Ms. Marvel’s.  What that Rogue had done ta her didn’t sit well wit me.  Same went fer most of th’ Avengers, too.  Havin’ her around, palin’ around and action like a hero all of a sudden… yeah it hacked a lot of us off back then.

But in the end they proved they wuz alright.  Or at least that they wuz smart enough to pick th’ winnin’ side an’ wuz there on th’ front lines when Galactus started ta eat th’ planet.  So I guess I got no beef wit ’em.

Lemme tell ya though, bud.  Spidey’s got these guys’ number alright, huh?  This is th’ second time we’re seein’ this on th’ Friday Night Fights, and yeah this one’s definitely historic.  I mean this is one of da premiere groups out there, even back then, and Spidey just hands their butts to ’em on a platter!  In record time, no less!  That was a helluva thing to see!

Shang, what we mainly saw tonight wuz Spidey overcomin’ the X-Men with quick thinkin’ an’, better yet, blindin’ speed.  Just how important is speed in a fight?

An’ do ya figure it’s better than being crazy strong?”


“HA HA HA!  Now Shang Chi has a gun!  BANG!  BANG BANG, villains!  Take that!

Heh.  Shang Chi is only playing around today to make a point.  As great as speed is, and make no mistake because it is mighty, there is always something that can overcome great speed, great strength or practically any other advantage one has against an opponent.

Example?  While Spider-Man could out maneuver all of the X-Men he could not dodge Professor Xavier’s mind control.  And seeing that really cheesed Shang Chi off.  I have met dishonorable opponents in my time, but Xavier takes it to a new level.

The greatest advantage one has, and the ability that is the hardest for an opponent to overcome, is quick-thinking.  And Spider-Man has that in economy sized supply, mixed with his Spider-Sense.  This is why the X-Men fail against him; they cannot think as fast as he can.  While they are busy debating who their leader is, Spider-Man is webbing faces and knocking bodies across the room.

And yes, this is also why no one beats Batman!

When you have your reflexes going in harmony with your mind, and when that mind and those reflexes are enhanced by the proportional strength, speed and agility of a spider… then color Shang Chi impressed!  Maybe they need guns like Shang Chi!  Though I think that would have just made Spider-Man more angry, and that was the last thing the X-Men needed.

All in all a historic, epic win.  The kind of win that legends and song are made of.”


You’re scarin’ the Hell out of me with that gun, Shang.  Just sayin’ is all.  Maybe we need a contest to find Shang Chi a date soon.  I think he’s been cooped up in here for way too long.


NEXT WEEK: What do you want on YOUR Tombstone?  (No, for real this time!)


Alright and as we do every week let’s take a quick look and give some quick analysis on our most recent Marvel Fight Club match-up.

This week’s action finds Kitty Pryde up against Miami crimelord Ulysses Lugman, aka the Slug.  The two went at it in the Roman Colosseum – no doubt packed with cheering Crawl Spacers.  We call this one Marvel Fight Club #3 – ‘Crisis in the Colosseum!’

And like last week’s Marvel Fight Club #2 – ‘They Met For Murder!’ we had another runaway, one-sided fight.  95% of you picked Kitty Pryde over the Slug, even when considering his army of bodyguards and the ability to suffocate people in the rolls of his fat.

And that’s probably an accurate assessment.  On top of the phasing abilities Kitty’s also got a ton of ninja training and SHIELD know-how.  I’ve got no problem thinking she could take out a two-bit Kingpin wannabe.  I mean she’s a phasing ninja and he’s a chuky dude on a hover platform with some armed guards.  This almost reminds me of Princess Leia choking Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi.

We’ll keep our fingers crossed for a more mighty, less one-sided clash of Marvel titans soon.  Remember, this is all at random, so there’s no telling what we’re going to get!

We could explain it to you but… it’s science!


For Ben Grimm, Shang Chi and everyone at Spidey Friday Night Fights & Marvel Fight Club, this is George Berryman saying “Have a great weekend, Crawl Spacers!”


–George Berryman



 

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