“Feel like someone’s walking over your grave, Spidey… ?”

It’s Friday, which means it’s time once again for Spidey Friday Night Fights!

Hot on the heels of last week’s Secret Wars X-Men beat down we find ourselves back on Earth in Atlanta, Georgia with a ringside seat as Spider-Man tackles Tombstone!  Or is it the other way around?!

Tonight’s Fight-Fest focuses on Spectacular Spider-Man #142 in a story called ‘Will’ by Gerry Conway and Sal Buscema.  For several years as a Spider-Fan, in the late 80’s and early 90’s, I felt that the better Spider-Man stories were coming out of ‘Spectacular’ and not ‘Amazing.’  They had more feeling and purpose in them and relied more on a natural narrative feel as opposed to nutty Tomfoolery going down in the main book.

There was a lengthy multi-part epic with Tombstone and his past with Robbie Robertson – and the ongoing story was pretty damn good.  Robbie and Tombstone (whose real name was Lonnie Lincoln).  Lonnie was a school bully and extortionist and when Robbie tried to expose him in the school newspaper Lonnie smacked him down as a threat of what was to come.  Robbie spiked the story and then ran into Lonnie (now a hitman called Tombstone) years later when Robbie was a reporter in Philadelphia.  Lonnie murdered one of Robbie’s reporter contacts and Robbie wound up moving to New York to get away from him – and took a job at the Bugle.  When Tombstone turned back up Robbie started gathering evidence to put Tombstone behind bars and Lonnie swore revenge on Robbie.

Unfortunately for Tombstone he’d made a vendetta against someone Spider-Man looks up to and considers a close friend.  And Peter Parker was all too willing to provide some ‘hands on’ protection for his old pal Robbie.

And it gets pretty brutal!  We dare you to read on!

Our Story: Lonnie caught up to Robbie and put him in the hospital with a crippling back injury.  When Spidey starts hunting him down the Punisher also gets involved (and he even injures one guy with bacon!).  But when Tombstone hurts Mary Jane, Peter goes into wild animal mode and heads to Atlanta to put Tombstone down.


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.  Fancy book learnin’.

And in the right corner…

Lonnie Lincoln, aka ‘Tombstone’

Height & Weight: 6’7″ / 460 lbs.
Powers: Enhanced Strength.
Hard to hurt.
Teeth filed to points.
Voice that sounds like he’s been eating

kitty litter served on a bed of gravel.



ROUND ONE – DING!


When Tombstone calls Peter Parker and threatens him to show up in Atlanta, it’s Spider-Man that makes the trip.  Well okay technically Peter did to since, you know, he’s actually Spider-Man.

And it’s Tombstone who starts the party off at a construction site.  When Spidey arrives his Spidey-Sense warns him in the nick of time when Tombstone hurls a construction hook at him.  Before Spidey can regain his balance Tombstone throws himself at him through the air, pressing the advantage.

Two things here off the top of my head.  One: I like Tombstone’s total lack of fear and trepidation in the face of a ‘super’ enemy.  He just tosses himself right into the fray with the element of surprise and gets all up close and personal.  And Two: Spidey should’ve been able to dodge that.

So why didn’t he?  Maybe he was rattled at the quickness and suddenness of Tombstone’s attack?  Enh.  Maybe.  Either way Spidey’s quicker than that.  But even ninjas can slip on banana peels.

While he’s got the advantage, and Spidey’s on the proverbial ropes, Tombstone swings him up hard against the construction site and knocks the wind right out of him.

Round One easily goes to Tombstone!


ROUND TWO – DING!


Spidey’s still winded and Tombstone’s starting to figure that beating up a super hero is easier than he’d always thought.  So Lonnie grabs a massive metal pipe and starts going to town on our favorite Wallcrawler.

And here we get to sit back and enjoy Sal Buscema’s artwork.  For pulse-pounding action that makes you feel each hit there are few artists better than either of the Buscema boys, and Sal’s run on Spectacular is freakin’ legendary.  It’s fights like this that makes us see why.

And I’ve always liked that Sal’s got a great instinct for when to show a detailed background or go to dynamic lines to make you focus on the action.  It’s this awesome style that’ll keep bringing Sal’s work back to Spidey Friday Night Fights again and again.

Focus on that panel on the right, where Tombstone really starts working Spidey over with the pipe.   This sequence always reminded me of Jim Aparo’s art for Batman #427 which featured the Joker murdering Jason “How Annoying Am I?” Todd.

This is a pretty brutal series of panels and speaks volumes as to how much damage our favorite hero can take.  Tombstone’s nowhere near as strong as Spidey is but still – huge metal pipe, right?  Cripes, could it be curtains for Spider-Man?


ROUND THREE – DING!


So we’re through two rounds wholly belonging to Tombstone.  Oh, the humanity!  One more mighty WHACK! (or in this case, a ‘TOOM’) from Tombstone’s pipe sends Spidey reeling off the side of the construction site… TO HIS DOOM!

Or so Tombstone thinks.  Check out the smug look on his ugly mug as he looks over the side.  He’s pretty proud of himself.  But all that comes to a crashing halt when Spidey’s feet come back up and smash hard into Lonnie’s pointy teeth.  Somewhere our most recent guest commentator Mohandas Gandhi is cackling maniacally and raising his hands in the air like he just don’t care.

I guess Spidey got tired of getting beat on by a B-lister mob thug and decided to turn the tables with some Spider-Fu.  And now he’s back on his feet, coming at Lonnie like an angry cloud of hurt.  Commence with the hitting display.

It’s just pure, raw fisticuffs from here on out.  An old school reality check for a mob bully who got a little too big for his britches and bit off more than he could chew.  Even with those gruesome teeth.

Round Three goes to Spider-Man, and Tombstone’s probably regretting having picked on Peter Parker and his family at this point.  It just gets uglier from here on out.  Lucky for us – we paid for blood!!


ROUND FOUR – DING!


The pain train’s pulling into the station, and Spidey’s the conductor.  And now that he’s got the upper hand, here come the verbal jabs to remind Lonnie that Spidey’s a bona fide hero while Tombstone’s just an albino thug.

Let us pause and admire how quickly Spidey went from getting his butt handed to him to “Oh it’s on like Donkey Kong.”

And on the left we get more example of fantastic Sal Buscema detail in Spidey’s hits.  I love it when the villains are getting smashed around and there’s bits of teeth and whatnot flying out of their mouths.  We saw that back in early May when Spidey put the hammer down on Rhino, lest ye forget.

Spidey throws “I’m Spider-Man, champ” jabs at Lonnie and even offers up a quick explanation of his powers – the proportionate strength, speed and agility of a spider.  It’s like a PSA, really.  You’d think all that would sink in with each face-crunching hit Tombstone takes, but not so much.  In blind rage and desperation he lunges at Spidey, who pulls a page out of Road Runner’s playbook and sidesteps-matador style to let his opponent slam headfirst into a steel beam. 

Meep Meep, Tombstone.


ROUND FIVE – DING!


The Tombstone Takedown is almost complete as we zip into the final round.

One more massive swing from the right and Tombstone is fallin’ for you.  And falling.  And falling.  And fal–oh wait, Spidey finally slowed him a up a bit.

But wait, what’s this?  The villain lands in… I don’t know what the Hell that is.  It looks like a dump truck but it’s filled with something soft and wet that goes ‘SPLOOSH’ when Lonnie hits it.  I’m no contractor but the only thing that comes into my head for something soft and wet at a construction site is wet cement.  But no one ever fills a dump truck with wet cement, cause that would be crazy.  Right?  So I’ll leave it up to you good people as to what it is he landed in.  Either way Spidey pulls Tombstone’s fat out of the fryer and that’s the mortal end of Lonnie’s suit.

So Tombstone’s down and elsewhere Robbie is turning evidence against his attacker.  The good guys win, right?

Well not exactly.  For sitting on evidence implicating Tombstone in a murder a corrupt judge in Kingpin’s pocket sends Robbie to the same jail that Tombstone’s going to.

Eventually, it works out in the end.  Robbie and Tombstone wind up escaping jail and find shelter on a farm.  When Tombstone threatens the family there Robbie puts a pitchfork in him.   Joe Robertson eventually gets pardoned and exonerated and Tombstone goes back to jail, but later calls off his revenge on Robbie.  Probably because he didn’t want his chalk-white butt kicked by Spider-Man again.


So let’s check in with our judges and get tonight’s final decision.


DECISION – SPIDER-MAN


Pretty much, yeah!  Though I’m going to say this was a lot closer than it looked considering the first two rounds and how easily Lonnie got the jump on Spidey at the top of the fight.  And for expert analysis and commentary let’s check back in almost live at our Spidey Friday Night Fights studio where Ben Grimm and Shang Chi are standing by.   Ben, Spidey seemed flat at the start of the fight, or at least completely unready – which doesn’t jive considering he was there to go after Tombstone for what the baddie did to his wife.  Any explanation for that or am I just reading too much into it?


“Naw Georgie, yer right on ’bout that.  But a lot of that comes down ta “who sees who” and “who hits who” first.  Plus, yeah Spidey was ragin’ and that can go either way.  Dependin’ on where yer head’s at rage can either give ya the edge or weigh ya down like an anchor.

Look, Tombstone had the right idea – hit ‘em hard, fast and first.  That way even if’n ya don’t drop ‘em on the first punch ya still take a lotta da fight outta ‘em.  And it worked early on for ‘im.  He ambushed Spidey effectively an’ really knocked the wind outta the Wallcrawler’s sails.  And then that thing wit da pipe… geez that was just brutal!  And that’s comin’ from a guy what hits people wit street lights!

But at the end of da day, Tombstone’s biggest problems wuz (A.) that he’d made this fight personal for Spidey without even knowin’ it, an’ (B.) he was outclassed on almost every conceivable level by a superior super human.  Da late Jim Croce said it da best – “Ya don’t tug on Superman’s cape.”  That applies here too, I think.  Ya don’t tug on Spider-Man’s webs.

And I got no idea what that crap wuz that Spidey sank Tombstone in at da end of the da fight.  I’m wit ya though I think it could only be wet cement.  Maybe before th’ fight Tombstone filled a dump truck wit wet cement thinkin’ he’d bury Spidey in it?  No idea but ya know that’d make sense seein’ as how it looked fresh and there wasn’t anyone else around at the’ site.

Gettin’ in the first punch an’ bein’ faster than th’ other guy’s important an’ all but is it everything?  For example – Shang, yer faster than Galactus but do ya think ya could whip ‘im if ya had th’ first shot in on ‘em?”


“Ben Grimm, Shang Chi would fell Galactus like the mighty redwood with rotten roots.  Because Shang Chi knows pressure points and when you know pressure points it is Game, Set and Match.

Galactus would not even know what had hit him.  One second he would be standing up, threatening to eat the planet, and then the next Shang Chi touches him and he would be “pants on the ground” and looking like a fool.  He would probably cry and get in his colossal space ship and run to his space mother to rat Shang Chi out.  But Shang Chi has news for Galactus’s mother – Shang Chi knows pressure points, and he will drop her just as easily as her ever-hungry son.

‘Oh what’s that, Galactus’s Mom?  Oh you are angry about me using pressure points to bring down your spoiled brat?  Well TAKE THAT, HYAAAH!  Pressure Point!  Oh – oh did I stop your tremendous heart?  What are you going to do now, Galactus’s Mom?  Cry about it?’

That is precisely how that confrontation would go down.  Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.  Only in Shang Chi’s case the butterfly is armor plated and has missiles and the bee is the size of Texas with enough bee venom to kill Mogo the Planet Lantern.

Or… wait.  In answer to your question, yes.  Getting in the first shot is always important but you have to have the know how and skills to follow it up.

Or else you will find yourself face down in a dump truck full of wet cement.  And that is one to grow on from Shang Chi.”


Wow.  Yeah okay.  Thanks Ben!  Thanks… Shang!  And that concludes tonight’s Spidey Friday Night Fights!  Let’s hit you with a teaser for next week’s fight…


NEXT WEEK: In the city, the busy city, the Puma strikes tonight!  Aweem-a-way, Aweem-a-way, Aweem-a-way!


Damn.  I have really got to get new teaser writers.  And now?  On to Marvel Fight Club!

Alright, it’s time to look at this week’s action.

Last week Kitty Pryde took down the Slug and this week Crawl Spacers were treated to something with a more level playing field as Kree badboy Ronan the Accuser went head-to-head with AIM brain MODOK on Howard the Duck’s own turf, Duckworld, in a little smackdown we call Marvel Fight Club #4 – ‘A-Quack-alypse Now.’

71% of you Crawl Spacers voted for Ronan the Accuser as the winner and only 29% of you felt like MODOK could claim victory.

Personally, I myself voted for MODOK and found myself in the minority. I felt like Ronan would have trouble trying to account for MODOK’s nuttiness. Does that mean I was wrong?

Heh.  No.  No that’s not what that means at all.

So everyone point accusingly at Ronan the Accuser and accuse him of a big win this week!  What will Tuesday’s Marvel Fight Club hold in store for us?  Only the FightClub-A-Tron 3000 knows for sure!


For Ben Grimm, Shang Chi, myself and everyone on the Spidey Friday Night Fights & Marvel Fight Club team have a fantabulous weekend, Crawl Spacers!



–George Berryman


4 Responses to “Spidey Friday Night Fights: Tombstone Takedown!”

  1. #1 H4M says:

    This is pretty frickin’ ironic as I’ve started buying the Robbie-Tombstone origin/jail story at my comic store and was LITERALLY JUST going to go to my LCS to buy THIS EXACT ISSUE. This just brought a whole new meaning to “freaky friday”.

  2. #2 Mark says:

    Now you got me wondering what was in that truck.
    I’m thinking about all the porta-poties around constructions sites, and they gotta be
    cleaned out once in a while. (With a sealed tanker truck, but maybe the builders were
    too cheap and bought a regular truck.)

  3. #3 Matt Byrd says:

    This was when Todd McFarlane was on Amazing and I seem to recall that at some point didn’t Tombstone break Robbie’s back shortly after this very issue. This was great with the “Loony Toons” humor bit. I remember this well to because it was when Peter was selling his book called “WEBS” which were photos of him as the web head wonder “Spider-Man”

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