I’ve not read this one before. And… Maybe that was for the best. Who knows, maybe this will be my new favorite villain, but… doubt it! This issue is written by Ralph Macchio (Not that Ralph Macchio). His first credit on the blog? I know he had letters in a few issues as a fan. No, he wrote MTU 75, ok. Can you imagine having a name that unique and having a famous person (Much younger than you) come along with the same name? He is joined by Jim Mooney and Mike Esposito on lines and Petra Goldberg on colors. The title of this issue is “Vengeance Is Mine Sayeth The Sword,” which must eat David Michelinie up for not getting to it first. Spidey has stumbled on a gang of goons pulling a heist when Rapier comes plunging out of the night’s sky right at him on page one.
Spidey and the goofball finish up the goons, and Rapier thanks him for the help. Spidey says Rapier’s “one-man war on crime” has been in all the papers lately. Ok, sure. But Rapier doesn’t want to hang around and explain anything about himself, and so is gone. So Spidey gets gone, too, heading home and having a nice phone call with Aunt May. Which does not move a plot along at all. That’s pretty rare in comics of this vintage. The next day, things get weird, as Peter Parker and Ned Leeds turn up at the docks to cover the crimewave there. But, as we know, Peter doesn’t work for The Bugle right now. And after some tough guys try to scare them off, and Peter suggests they just leave so he doesn’t accidentally hurt anyone…
Uh… did you forget you don’t work here, Peter? In JJJ’s office, we find Silvermane, looking quite well for a guy who broke his everything back in ASM 180, directing the goons. He wants JJJ to stop running his organizes crime stories, and also somehow has the press pass the goons at the docks too off Peter. What’d he do, teleport here? JJJ, of course, is ready to square up, but when Silvermane has his goons physically threaten Robbie, JJJ settles down.
Changing to Spider-Man, our hero follows the goons back to their hideout, and is sitting in Silverman’s chair waiting when the old man gets back to his office. Spidey dives into the goons after enjoying everyone’s shock firing off one-liners at a particularly manic pace (Just like I like ’em, Ralph!)
There was a Spider-Man near the beginning I was pretty sure was a swipe, and I let it go, but that 5th panel is Spider-Man punching out cops in ASM 148. Not just Spidey, but most of the goons are swiped. I’ve seen it a million times, I’d know it anywhere. Come on, guys. I wonder how many I don’t even catch.
I just like that “it’s right over your car” gag. Spidey proceeds to shake down Silvermane the way he shook down JJJ, warning him of dire consequences if he messes with anyone at The Bugle. He steals his own camera back and takes off, leaving a flurry of insults in his wake. Silvermane thinks no man mocks him with such impunity. Meanwhile, in the gym of a fancy townhouse, we see a fencing match come to a decisive conclusion, as the guy who must be Rapier disarms and even unmasks his opponent in battle.
Right-o! We cut to The Bugle, where JJJ is telling Peter he’s doubling down on anti-mafia stuff, and also wants a lot of material on Rapier in every edition of The Bugle, the new guy getting the pass almost everyone does for doing exactly what Spider-Man does. But JJJ is particularly righteous this time.
Ouch. At that moment, Silvermane and a bunch of his goons are out in The Cloisters, where Rapier has gotten word to Silvermane that he’s willing to meet to discuss a ceasefire. Obviously, Silvermane plans to double-cross him, and obviously, it’s a trap, anyway. He has his goons spread out all over the area, and Rapier incapacitates all of them. Silvio moves into the position the meet was planned in…
Dominic Tyrone! What a name! I love that they were both visibly the same age “over 30 years ago!”
Ok, ok, so he has a lot of surgery, shoulda been paralyzed, wasn’t, recovered through the power of love, trained himself to “perfection,” his beloved’s dad died, and for some reason, that was what made him become Rapier. Silvermane decides to shoot him after getting all the exposition, only to fall prey to Rapier’s “stun blaster.” You’d think his goons would’ve told him about it.
That webshooter gag was completely absurd. Come on, guys. I can’t. They fence some more, trading a buncha dialogue about the nature of man and such, this has spiraled right out of control.
RIGHT out of control, this is ridiculous. As Rapier flees the scene, Silvermane wakes up, crawls to his gun, and shoots his old friend in the back. This somehow doesn’t stop him from leaving and promising to return. He won’t, tho.
The end. Rapier’s only other appearance is being blown up in a bar full of supervillains by The Scourge Of The Underworld in Captain America, which, reading this, doesn’t feel like a place he would have been. But that kinda thing seems to happen to obscure one-off villains a lot when someone needs a whole bunch of them. Ah, well. I wish someone had tried to explain how Silverman was so healthy…