The Scarecrow. Not that Scarecrow. Somehow or other, both Marvel and DC have one, and no one’s been sued into oblivion yet. I guess because they’re both relatively minor villains, but DC’s is certainly far more major than Marvel’s. Marvel’s was created more than 20 years after DC’s, I’m not sure how they got away with it. He started out as an Iron Man villain, and his gimmick is pretty different from the DC one, as I’m sure we’ll see. But the internet sez he’s only appeared in 73 comics in all the years he’s been around, so he’s not the most popular villain. I think Reed & Sue’s wedding in FF and a couple issues of Captain America are the only places I’ve seen him. But here he is! This issue has a script by Tom DeFalco for some reason, from a plot by Busiek. Let’s see them wrap this up. The Scarecrow and his crows are traveling across the rooftops of the city at night.
Rather different from Batman’s enemy. The next day, Peter Parker walks down the street feeling bad, having seen Betty with that dude in ASM 18 by now, when JJJ’s car pulls up alongside him and his boss tells him to get pictures of Scarecrow.
“Oh, sure, I’ll tell you my origin!” Never not funny to me. Spider-Man thinks how crazy it is that failing to stop a burglar made him a hero, while successfully stopping one made Scarecrow a villain. I assume that’s why Busiek wanted to pair them up. Spidey tries to just leave, but is mobbed by the crows and brought down. Scarecrow’s about to pummel him, and he’s about to just let it happen, thinking he doesn’t dare fight for Aunt May’s sake, but, like, how does getting beat up help? He finally rips free and makes a dash, escaping, but thinking about how he’s just lost what little was left of his rep. The next day, Aunt May is feeling better, and Anna Watson is there to help. Peter goes upstairs and repeats the scene of him quitting from ASM 18. I guess Busiek felt he couldn’t get around it. This whole ill-advised affair only seems like a worse choice as it goes. Unable to focus on his studies, Peter decides to go for a walk.
Flash was expressing actual concern, but it’s too late. He and Liz have to tell us how he got that black eye since no one could be counted on to have read the ASM issues, and then he mentions his Spider-Man costume has gone missing. Seems like a plot point. Later, Scarecrow is back out doing his thing when he meets someone he didn’t expect.
The next day, we replay the moment when Aunt May gives Peter the speech that turns him around and Peter privately asking the Doc if she’s as good as she feels. Then we see Peter much happier at school, then skip the moment when Peter decides to go back out there and prove his worth as Spider-Man and cut to Scarecrow on his latest caper.
Spidey webs up the crows, again thinking it’ll make a good shot, then takes off after Scarecrow with Flash urging him on. Spidey openly toys with Scarecrow and even tells him there’s a Bugle photographer in the crowd, and that he’s just making sure he has a flashy comeback. Then he makes the unusual move of taking out one of his web cartridges and tossing it to Scarey, telling him it’s a souvenir he gives to all his enemies. Scarecrow angrily snaps it in half.
And so our hero can finally run off to be in ASM 19. I have to assume that Busiek reasoned that there must’ve been a long time between May having a heart attack and getting well enough to deliver that speech, which is reasonable, but that doesn’t mean a bunch of awkward extra stuff needed to be crammed into the margins. This one was a real misfire for me in an otherwise quite enjoyable series. Well. Anyway. As you can see, the next issue published was the Flashback one, a pretty funny thing to do to a series that is entirely flashbacks. But I wasn’t complaining, that issue was great fun.