Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Untold Origin of Spider-Man!


Name This Marvel Villain??

There are actually two Marvel villains who go by the name of Manslaughter--but to get to know our featured villain above, we need to take a quick look all the way back to Spider-Man's first appearance in Amazing Fantasy. In that 1962 issue, Peter Parker chances upon a contest which will let him flex his new spider-powers, while letting him pocket a little dough as well:

Peter only needs to stay in the ring three minutes with the obviously unworried Crusher. But the way this match plays out, it's Crusher who ends up tossing in the towel, and rather early:

Cut to a story in late 1985, where we find Crusher again in a gym, but remembering the events of that encounter a little differently when having a good-natured chat with his friend, contender Bobby Chance:

Cue the entrance of our no-nonsense adversary, "Manslaughter" Marsdale--a former boxer himself before being banned from the sport, and who now acts as manager for several fighters who work out at his gym. Bobby, however, has decided not to renew his contract, news that doesn't sit well with Marsdale:

From all appearances, it would seem that Marsdale is acting in his own interests. But, as it turns out, he has something of a silent partner--a sinister silent partner who lets her wishes be known quite clearly:

Yet the conversation between these two has been overheard by Crusher, who is considerably more timid than the man his tall tales about mentoring Spider-Man have painted him to be. Crusher finds himself in the uncomfortable position of realizing the danger to his friend, Bobby, but being too afraid to act:

Later in the story, though, Crusher attempts to intervene and warn Bobby. But the warning comes too late, and the inevitable confrontation occurs:

Yet Crusher sticks by his friend, and even distracts the gunmen with, of all things, his trusty mop. And with gunfire now ringing out, the noise attracts a passer-by whose appearance makes Crusher's day:

In the brawl that now ensues, Bobby fails to make a dent in Manslaughter, who long ago had an operation which allows him to block all pain. An advantage which he's eager to test on a certain intruder:

But Crusher has come to know the deadly threat of Manslaughter, and leaps to help--a move which Manslaughter brutally rebuffs. Unfortunately for Marsdale, it's motivated Spidey to take off the gloves:

When the dust settles, and Bobby steps forward to give his personal thanks, it looks like Crusher's stories will finally come full circle. And, thanks to Spidey, in a good way:

When Spider-Man departs, and Bobby's fellow boxers return to see the carnage, Bobby takes the opportunity to change their opinion of Crusher and make him far less of a joke in their eyes. It's apparent he's learned a little something from Crusher about bending the truth:

I don't know whatever became of Madam Fang, but we can probably assume that Marsdale turned state's evidence while in custody and thereby helped to secure a little jail time for her. Regrettably, I doubt her cell will come furnished with a dartboard.

1 comment:

Kid said...

Another character I never knew had appeared again after a seemingly one-off showing. Another ish for me to track down.