Spectacular Spider-Man #152-155 and Web of Spider-Man #53-55 (1989)

Robbie Robertson and Tombstone have been in jail for several issues, and in this story, Spider-Man joins them–to help Robbie.

Technically, these issues don’t all share an official storyline title, but they do flow together and build to–and end–the story of Robbie Robertson and Tombstone, and the battle for gangland supremacy in NYC.

We get to see all the gangleaders.

Meanwhile, Daily Bugle staffer Glory continues to date werewolf and crime lord Eduardo Lobo and Daily Bugle reporter Joy Mercado is troubled by it.

Nice interspecies romance!

There’s a lot of intersection between various Daily Bugle folks (remember, Robbie Robertson is in prison, with Tombstone waiting for him to get out so he can either strongarm or kill him), criminals, and Spider-Man.  This puts Spidey in the awkward position of defending Kingpin from Hammerhead, the Lobos from Chamelon-as-J. Jonah, Kingpin from the Lobos, etc.

The ongoing Gang War story is some of the more relationally complex work I’ve seen from Conway.  But it is hampered by the fact that it straddles two titles—this would have been much easier to follow if it were in one, biweekly book.

The Lobos’ piece of this ends with Web of Spider-Man #55—when Spider-Man takes them down once and for all.  However, there’s still the warring Hammerhead and Kingpin factions that will need to be resolved.

Tombstone is busted out of prison and takes Robbie with him.

The extended story ends with them falling out of the helicopter into a dense forest, and we’re promised that the next story in Spectacular Spider-Man will be the search for Robbie.

There’s also a melodramatic subplot with Kristy Watson, Mary Jane’s niece, being hospitalized for bulemia.  It’s kind of interesting to see that here—especially with MJ being a model by profession—but it’s hard to work it into a big, busting gang war saga.

Creators: Gerry Conway and Sal Buscema (Spectacular), Mark Bagley (Web #53-54), Alex Saviuk (Web #55)
Grade: C

For the complete history of the MU, year by year, go here.
And see my Ratings of Runs on comics here.

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