TOMBSTONE versus SPIDER-MAN
Will (Marvel comics)
Where: Spectacular Spider-man #142 When: September 1988
Why: Gerry Conway How: Sal Buscema
The story so far...
Robbie Robertson has made a name for himself as a stern force for journalism, but his past is catching up with him as he feels the push of the albino gangster - Tombstone.
Unwilling to comply with lies any longer, Robertson prepares a tape detailing his dirty history with the thug, and unsuccessfully confronts Tombstone with a firearm.
The casette recording of Robbertson's full confession becomes the hot potato as Tombstone goes on a rampage to retrieve the evidence. Mary-Jane finds herself terrorized by the criminal, and Peter Parker is his next hit -- unless Spidey can get to him first!
Tombstone (#50): Tombstone has a solid victory over Spidey's pal, Daredevil.
Spider-man (#2): Spider-man has victories over Kraven the Hunter, and Man-Ape.
Tale of the tape...
Strength: Spider-man 5 (Super Strength)
Intelligence: Spider-man 5 (Professor)
Speed: Spider-man 4 (Olympic Sprinter)
Stamina: Spider-man 4 (Athlete)
Agility: Spider-man 5 (Cat-like)
Fighting Ability: Tombstone 3 (Street Wise)
Energy Powers: Tombstone 2 (Projectile Weapons)
Well, what do you know? I get the deficit down to under a month and then run head-long into computer gremlins! What a buzzkill!
These scans were done before afforementioned problems, so you might have to bare with me for a little while after this. Anyway...
We've slapped the tape around these two fellows before, Tombstone beind inducted in combat with Daredevil [Daredevil #90] just over a month ago.
With that in mind, you should well know that Tombstone is a tough customer!
Unlike the situation with Daredevil, Spidey's strength not only matches Tombstone but has the potential to well surpass it in short bursts. Which makes this a slightly less intriguing match-up.
Certainly Tombstone's formidable strength makes him a challenge for Spider-man, but Spidey's strength gives him an edge of execution where his speed and agility are concerned.
The advantages against Tombstone make it a fairly easy pick, but don't let the disrespect of recent years fool ya! Tombstone should be noted for being well capable of playing above his level.
The Math: Spider-man (Meta Class)
The Pick: Spider-man
What went down...
Meanwhile -- in Atlanta, Spidey stops by a construction site to sit on a girder and wait for Tombstone, having arranged a drop-off of the evidence tape as Peter Parker.
After waiting forty minutes, the elevator finally emerges but Spider-man's spidey-sense warns him of an incoming swinging pulley hook!
Standing on the level above, Tombstone declares how pleased he is Parker 'called' him, and dives down to tackle the web-slinger in mid-air!
Spidey shoots off a webline preventing the two from falling to their doom, but the move gives the suicide-diving Tombstone the edge to swing them into construction matter.
Tombstone grabs a nearby piece of metallic piping and uses it to catch Spider-man by the stomach and swing him around into metal mesh fencing.
With the spider all tangled up, Tombstone continues the punishment, actually working up a sweat as he swings blow after blow down on the hero.
With Spider-man reeling, Tombstone uses the pipe to push him over the edge and then swats him over with a swing that suggests a pretty low handicap!
Tombstone stands triumphant, but as he attempts to survey the devestation, he finds himself unable to spot the expected red and blue stain below. Uh-oh!
With sticky hands, Spider-man swings himself up from the floor below, driving his feet into Tombstone's pasty mug with explosive force.
Tombstone's up quick, but Spider-man continues the return, knocking him down with the proportional strength of a spider to the point where major orthodontal reconstruction is most likely.
The ribs don't miss out though, Spider-man driving his mighty fist deep into the mid-section of the bruising baddie, before swinging through with another right-hook.
Despite the amazing beatdown, somehow Tombstone still manages to rise to his feet once more. Remember kiddies -- Tombstone plays above his level!
As Spider-man professes his superiority, he provokes a wild charging attack from the man in black.
Spidey backs his words up, showing off his speed with a matador side-step that leaves Tombstone eating girder.
In a bizarre moment of pathos, Tombstone reveals a sign of redemption as Spider-man asks, "Why didn't you kill Robbie Robertson when you had the chance?"
Kill Robbie Robertson? How could he? Robbie's his friend.
With the villain out on his feet, Spider-man finishes the job, using his super strength to knock Tombstone straight off the scaffolding!
As Tombstone plummets to his doom, Spider-man plays the good hero, shooting off a line of webbing that jerks his lethal foe back, before dropping him into a truck full of wet cement.
And as Spider-man retrieves the tape he'd dropped during the fight, unbeknownst to either he or Tombstone, Robbie Robertson finishes his complete confession to the press from his hospital bed.
Despite his criminal negligence, Robbie Roberton's family and friends, including his old friend and boss, J. Jonah Jameson, all agree to back him for his courage.
A win for the good guys all around, I'd say...
And Spider-man starts the year off with an impressive victory!
Meanwhile, as I mentioned earlier, I'm not having that kind of Spidey-luck. My decrepid old computer is struggling to come to terms with word processing, let alone the scanning of superhero smackdown -- so once more there may be a slight delay before the next entry.
Rest assured our technicians will be doing their utmost to ensure we beat any stinking pinko into unexplored blog-space. The risks are many, and though our shielding is poor, we have the hearts of champions.
FF analogies aside, I've scored a late-Christmas haul, so at the very least I have some fresh fodder coming our way. Among the battles of brilliance are mostly new stories, but rest assured, they're all checked and approved by Uatu himself.
So, anyway, I was saying during the last time we discussed Tombstone, just how much I have an affection for Sal Buscema's pencils. Well, hopefully you too can at least appreciate some kind of understanding of where I was coming from.
I guess the particularly interesting thing about Herr Buscema is not only his penchant for action, but his incredible human moments.
Amidst the flying bodies, spittle strings and punch explosions, you could lose site of the human element to Sal Buscema's work, but it's undeniably there.
Buscema's contemporary of the time, Kevin Maguire, gets most of the press for his facial expressions, but few artists have the distinctive character that Buscema is able to instill in each mug.
Buscema's Tombstone is Tombstone to me, and if there's any detail I would criticise of Lark's work, it's that is just doesn't look like Buscema. Which is a complaint that is all but impossible and ridiculous to expect to live up to.
There's just something that distinctive about Buscema's work. Likewise, his core cast from JJJ to Robbie to MJ all have a very distinctive and memoral look.
So to the youngsters joining us, if I can get all Cap on your asses, the next time you're gawking slack jawed at the rendered works of David Finch, taste pain at the hands of his better -- Sal Buscema!
And remember kids -- Tombstone plays above his level!
The Fight: 4.5 The Issue: 5
Note: Mr. Buscema probably doesn't consider himself anyone's better, and I cannot condone the use of 'yo momma' slurs direct toward Mr. Finch. He's a fine young artist who continues to hone his craft.