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  1. #1
    Mighty Member Hybrid's Avatar
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    Default Retrospective: The Amazing Spider-Man #269-270


    So the random thought came into my head to ask the Spider-Man community about this controversial 1985 storyline, where Spider-Man is forced into battle with Firelord, a former Herald of Galactus. This is a David vs. Goliath battle, and likely inspired by the Spider-Man vs. Juggernaut fight a few years earlier, albeit with a crucial difference.

    The EiC at the time was Jim Shooter, it was written by Tom DeFalco, drawn by Ron Frenz, inked by Bob McLeod, colored by Bob Sharen, lettered by Joe Rosen, and edited by Jim Owsley (now known as Christopher Priest). Just thought I'd list the names of the people that you have to thank, or scorn, for this story depending on your point of view.

    What the story does well especially on is continuity. For one, it actually ties into an X-Men comic where Dazzler was outed as a mutant, and the news playing while Firelord getting pizza causes others to think he's a mutant too and begin their attack (though the whole "FREEZE MUTIE!" before spraying with a hose would be incredibly stupid to do on Pyro, much less Firelord, shows how dumb people are). Also, it ties into an issue of the Fantastic Four, where the Baxter Building is destroyed.

    It was Spidey attacking Firelord as he was trying to get revenge that triggers the fight itself. Spidey stays in the open because he feels responsible for the whole thing, and doesn't want to risk Firelord causing mass destruction in his wake. Thus, a chase begins where Spidey has to run and outfox the Herald. I love a line he says in particular when he knows how screwed he is: "It's time I called in some heavy-hitters like the Fantastic Four or the Avengers! Heck, I'd even settle for the Power Pack about now!"

    He leads Firelord throughout the city, through buildings, the subway system, different streets and alleyways, into the river, just everywhere, as he tries something, anything that can deter such an insanely powerful being. And of course, the Parker Luck comes in, as apparently no hero can show up to help out, leaving him alone with the cosmic flamethrower. Spidey does everything from leading him into an oncoming subway, blowing up an abandoned building on him, and tricking him into exploding a gas station that levels several city blocks (but thankfully all of it was abandoned housing).

    However, none of it works. Just when it seems like Spidey was as good as dead, he does one last thing out of desperation: Attack him head-on. Caught off-guard, taken by surprise, we get this scene:




    Spider-Man, all by himself, just took down a Herald of Galactus in single combat. Without taking a single hit. He didn't even know he won. The Avengers are all thoroughly impressed that Spidey pulled it off, Cap saying "Considering his power, it looks like you did pretty well." Heh, you think? Spidey himself is somewhat surprised he just did it, noting how lucky he was. This story continues over to the Avengers where they bring him back to the Mansion and then go on a mission with him afterwards, but that's elsewhere.

    Some view it as one of Spider-Man's greatest underdog triumphs, others view it was a supreme example of popularity power, and there are those who think it's a little bit of both.

    As for my personal opinion, it's the "bit of both". Yes, objectively speaking, it just doesn't make sense as to why Spider-Man can just punch out an intergalactic demigod who has the Power Cosmic. It makes you wonder why he struggles with characters like Doctor Octopus if he can beat Heralds and it's fully canon as something he did. However, it's just hard for me to get angry at it, because it was written so well, from the pacing, portrayal of struggle and fear, and the feel that his victory, even if it didn't make logical sense, was well-earned. He deserved that win after all the hell he went through. The speech he gave as he was beating Firelord was an excellent display of Spidey's characterization.

    I actually felt angry when Miles Morales beat Blackheart with the Venom Blast. I think Bendis actually was inspired by this story when he wrote that, but in that case it wasn't well-earned, and strangely, it might even be logically possible -- the Venom Blast's power is so ill-defined as a get out of jail free card, who's to say he couldn't beat Blackheart? It was just insulting there, even though it isn't here.

    Anyways, what do you guys think? What's your overall take on this storyline? Discuss.
    Last edited by Hybrid; 02-21-2020 at 05:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member Celgress's Avatar
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    One of my favorite fighting from underneath Spidey stories of all time. "Spider-Man v Firelord" is second only to "Nothing Stops the Juggernaut" in terms of a true Spidey underdog encounter, IMO. Peter's "never say die attitude" his will to persevere in the face of (seemingly) insurmountable odds is perhaps my favorite aspect of his character.

    Thanks for posting the retrospective, Hybrid.
    Last edited by Celgress; 02-21-2020 at 11:41 AM.
    "So you've come to the end now alive but dead inside."

  3. #3

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    one of my favorite stories, I don't care. his untapped potential was released. I suppose now somebody would retcon it as a touch of the UniPower showing up (anticipating when it fully possessed him a few years later).. either way, I like the story.

  4. #4
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Firelord is a trashy b list villain for a trashy team - the Avengers.

    This two part fight with Spider-Man happens to be the best story he appeared in, so gratitude is expected, nay, demanded.

    This story is absolutely not controversial among Spider-Man fans. It’s considered a great high point of Defalco’s run and is seen that way by many Spider-Man artists and writers.

  5. #5
    Formerly Assassin Spider Huntsman Spider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypestyle View Post
    one of my favorite stories, I don't care. his untapped potential was released. I suppose now somebody would retcon it as a touch of the UniPower showing up (anticipating when it fully possessed him a few years later).. either way, I like the story.
    Uh-huh, and for anyone wondering why he still has trouble with (classic) Doctor Octopus . . . Peter doesn't want to kill Ock, which he flat-out could in one hit if he didn't hold himself back as much as he does. Same goes for pretty much all his enemies; if it wasn't for Peter's fundamental sense of responsibility and compassion, even for the worst scum in his rogues gallery, there would be a lot of mangled corpses, barely recognizable as having been human (or humanlike) at one point, in his wake. Firelord was just so powerful, being a former Herald of Galactus with access to the Power Cosmic, that Peter couldn't afford to hold back like he normally would, or else he'd certainly be dead. That Firelord was just knocked unconscious as opposed to being outright pulped, would still be a sign to me of how powerful he was, to survive that beating.
    The spider is always on the hunt.

  6. #6
    Extraordinary Member Celgress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    Uh-huh, and for anyone wondering why he still has trouble with (classic) Doctor Octopus . . . Peter doesn't want to kill Ock, which he flat-out could in one hit if he didn't hold himself back as much as he does. Same goes for pretty much all his enemies; if it wasn't for Peter's fundamental sense of responsibility and compassion, even for the worst scum in his rogues gallery, there would be a lot of mangled corpses, barely recognizable as having been human (or humanlike) at one point, in his wake.....
    Well put, my friend. Another key aspect of Peter's character I find appealing - his deep sense of responsibility and putting others first (often to his own detriment).
    "So you've come to the end now alive but dead inside."

  7. #7
    Formerly Assassin Spider Huntsman Spider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celgress View Post
    Well put, my friend. Another key aspect of Peter's character I find appealing - his deep sense of responsibility and putting others first (often to his own detriment).
    Thank you very much. (Said in full sincerity.)
    The spider is always on the hunt.

  8. #8
    Amazing Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Firelord is a trashy b list villain for a trashy team - the Avengers.
    Dang. This is off topic, but why the Avengers hate?

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Parker View Post
    Dang. This is off topic, but why the Avengers hate?
    It's not hate so much as it is A) Settling Scores, B) Holding the Present to Account.

  10. #10
    Spectacular Member Grapeweasel's Avatar
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    Slight problem.

    The suit has 2 weaknesses: sound and FIRE.

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeweasel View Post
    Slight problem.

    The suit has 2 weaknesses: sound and FIRE.
    The suit you see in this issue is not the symbiote. It's a cloth version of the black costume developed by Felicia Hardy. The Symbiote was purged early in Defalco's run.

  12. #12
    Extraordinary Member Celgress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    The suit you see in this issue is not the symbiote. It's a cloth version of the black costume developed by Felicia Hardy. The Symbiote was purged early in Defalco's run.
    Don't feel bad Grapeweasel I made the same mistake the first time I read the story.

    Oh and welcome to the forum Grapeweasel.
    "So you've come to the end now alive but dead inside."

  13. #13
    Spectacular Member Grapeweasel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celgress View Post
    Don't feel bad Grapeweasel I made the same mistake the first time I read the story.

    Oh and welcome to the forum Grapeweasel.
    Well, I've been here 6 years.

    But thanks for the warm welcome....


  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member Celgress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeweasel View Post
    Well, I've been here 6 years.

    But thanks for the warm welcome....

    My mistake, you must not post much (judging by your post count)...
    "So you've come to the end now alive but dead inside."

  15. #15
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    I'd rather read a two parter about (B)eter helping Firelord actually buy some pizza.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dorrek VIII
    What if the Kree and Skrull quarantined in the same rooms together? Aha ha, just kidding... unless...?

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