Hey, look, we haven’t seen ASM in a bit. Everybody’s on break this month. Stern plots, but Bill Mantlo scripts. Bob Hall does breakdowns and Frank Giacoia finishes. We open on Wilbur Day, the original Stilt-Man as mentioned on the cover, bemoaning the fact that no one takes Stilt-Man seriously anymore. “Anymore?” Wilbur. Be honest with yourself. He offers a recap of his criminal career, starting with stealing the hydraulics that make up his legs and becoming Stilt-Man only to be stopped by Daredevil in DD 8, then his fight with Spidey in DD 27 as seen here on the blog. He remembers getting beat up by Thor in Thor 269, and then how a guy broke into his apartment and stole his suit, becoming the new Stilt-Man in DD 186.
Yes, and that poor showing by Spidey is probably one of his saddest moments. Wilbur decides he can fix his whole criminal career if he can go beat up Spider-Man. But first, he’ll need to upgrade his armor, and an article in The Daily Bugle’s science section gives him an idea. Does he have his legs? What happened to the guy who stole them? Meanwhile, Spider-Man is swinging around, referencing a long story Mantlo is doing in TAC which doesn’t really leave room for the other titles to be happening concurrently (Same ol’, same ol’) as he heads home for the night. Aunt May calls and he promises to come by tomorrow night before going to sleep.
The next day, Peter Parker takes the subway to The Bugle, and his Spider Sense goes off, because he’s sharing a train with Wilbur Day. He can’t figure out why that dude is a threat, but decides to get a tracer on him, just in case, when…
Spider-Man’s greatest foe, a pickpocket! Peter grabs the dude and waits for the cops to show up, retrieving his wallet, but Wilbur gets away. Wilbur goes to Cordco, a subsidiary of Stark International, where he gases a security guard and then… has free reign of the place. Just strolls all through this allegedly very high tech and, one would assume, high security facility.
Ok, sure. Stark security chief in this era Vic Martinelli is soon alerted to a problem at Cordco, and heads down to personally check it out, while in Queens, Peter Parker is finishing a meal with Aunt May and her tenants.
Aunt May was still running this setup well into when I came on the scene as a kid, and I still think it’s a great idea for an Aunt May status quo. Gives her stuff to do other than have heart attacks all the time. Peter is worried about getting the money to help pay for all this, though, and Nathan notices. He gives Pete a little pep talk, and Peter takes off with renewed purpose, hoping to get into some good Spidey action tonight and sell some more pictures. He sees the Stark International security van headed for Cordco, and decides to follow. Martinelli gets a brief on what’s happened, and Spidey hears it, too, so…
This guy just having the run of this lab is ridiculous. Spider-Man shows up, and takes Stilty even less seriously than he usually would since he’s only in half his outfit, but the new Stilts have a nonstick coating on them that foils Spidey’s webbing allowing Wilbur to escape.
Again, ridiculous. Spidey keeps dodging, I don’t know, welding lasers? Whatever nonsense this is, then one of the machines starts shooting MISSILES at him, what kind of factory is this? All this silliness gives Wilbur’s suit time to get finished, so by the time Spider-Man’s fought his way into the control room…
The gas is no problem, but then Spidey sees Stilt-Man about to get zapped by one of the machines he set loose, and jumps in harm’s way to save him, getting pretty messed up in the process.
Well, that was inessential. But the next issue of ASM (It’s gonna be awhile) is the polar opposite. I look forward to seeing it again. But first, we got some MTUs and that long TAC story mentioned above to look at.