Thursday, August 7, 2014

Spider 007 - The Serpent of Destruction

The Serpent of Destruction
Grant Stockbridge (Norvell Page)
Spider 007
April 1934

The Spider faces his most daring scourge yet, the soul killer of...COCAINE!  Liquor bootleggers have turned to dope and nobody is safe.  White collar workers, financiers, even politicians have been trapped by its spell.

So basically, the 1980s.  Tame stuff after the usual nation-threatening plots of other Spider entries.  In addition to be tamer, it's also more convoluted and out of character, to the point where I had to check if Page was still writing.  My least favorite of the series so far.

Some random notes (and spoilers) -

There was mention of a political movement to legalize narcotics, something we usually associate with the later War on Drugs.

Wentworth gets a new gadget - a cane with the Spider's seal, this time a set of tattoo needles with Spider poison that slowly kills its victims over 24 hours.  He needs this because he's a stone cold psychopath, but his excuse is that it will work on the superstitious minds of criminals - this is five years before Batman.

The Spider, as Richard Wentworth, fully kills twenty smugglers in front of Police Commissioner Kirkpatrick, so they've dropped the pretense of holding up any secret identity between the two, though they may retcon that later, we'll see.

Wentworth also traps several hundred crooks in his mansion and turns them over alive, all of whom apparently knew he was the Spider.

Lots of ridiculous bullet-proof gadget nonsense in this one.  Bulletproof lifelike mask, bulletproof glass cage he can walk around in, stuff like that.  It's silly and takes the danger out of action when the Spider can be shot in the face a dozen times and be okay.

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