Spider-Woman #26 (1980)

Look at this page.  Just admire it.  

As of last issue, Stephen Leialoha is the full-time artist on this series, and he has a very distinct style. Spider-Woman’s whole body seems to flow now, whereas under Carmine Infantino only her hair looked dynamic.  There’s an interesting layout here, with an inset panel and a slanted edge to tip you to the action sequence at the bottom.  I’m hoping that this is the point where Spider-Woman turns around and becomes a book worth reading.

I wonder why more people don’t talk about what a great artist Stephen Leialoha was?  He seems to be forgotten, whereas the legacy of 1980s giants like Byrne and Miller, and even lesser-known great artists of the era like Michael Golden, seem to live on.

The story here features a British newspaper publisher named Rupert Dockery—yes, he’s an obvious stand-in for sleazy real-life publisher Rupert Murdock—who decides to boost sales by putting Spider-Woman on the cover of every issue of the L.A. Courier.  He’s the West Coast JJJ.

The publisher hires a supervillain to lure Spider-Woman out into the open, it works, they fight, etc., and Spider-Man shows up for three panels to gush about how gorgeous S-W is, reminding us that she’s a female hero so her looks matter more than anything else.

The villain, who is really, really dumb, is named Grinder and he has a saw-blade beanie.

He’s so stupid they only show the tip of his hat on the cover.

OK.  The art is a lot better.  The story…Not really. I’d give this a D for script, C+ for art, averaging to a C.

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