Live and Let Die Part II - Who among Us?
Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Joey Cavalieri (script, pgs. 1-8), Alex Saviuk (breakdowns), Don Hudson & Fred Fredricks (finishes), Steve Dutro (letterer), Kevin Tinsley (colorist)
The Plot: Lance Bannon develops his roll of film at the Daily Bugle, and is promptly attacked by Façade. Hours later, Betty Brant discovers Lance’s body. Police detective Sloan Chase questions Jonah Jameson, John Jameson, and Cole Cooper but can’t connect them to the murder. Spider-Man suspects Betty might also be in danger, and soon encounters Façade sneaking into the Daily Bugle. Façade abandons the fight when the Bugle employees call the police.
The Subplots: John Jameson lies to Detective Sloan, claiming that he and Jonah went back to his place the previous night to settle their differences. Archer Bryce’s butler Victor sneaks up on Betty in the Bugle and invites her to see Bryce. They open his limo to discover he’s gone. Meanwhile, a mystery figure calls Aunt May.
Web of Continuity: According to Betty’s research, Bryce’s corporation has been lagging in the industry since his parents died last year. Oh, yeah, and that shadowy figure calling Aunt May is merely the first cameo appearance of Ben Reilly. Pay it no mind.
*See _________ For Details: Aunt May is worried about Peter’s mental state, following the events of Amazing #386-388.
Review: So, Lance Bannon survived last issue’s cliffhanger, only to buy it a few pages into this issue. He discovered the shocking secret of Façade, and surely he must pay the price. Rest in Peace, Lance, until you’re accidentally revived in a peripheral Spider-title by a freelancer who didn’t know you were dead.
Returning Lance Bannon from obscurity merely to kill him off is already a questionable move, but knowing that he died to advance a mystery that no one bothered to resolve, and to build the rep of a generic ‘90s Guy in Armor, is unforgivable. Maybe it’s presumptuous of me to suggest that Terry Kavanagh isn’t exactly Arthur Conan Doyle, but I think it’s charitable to even call this a “mystery.” We have no real clues, just a series of suspects with no motivations, and a hero who’s putting virtually no effort into investigating the case. The hints that Façade might be Archer Bryce are so obvious they have to be a red herring, but there’s nothing else in the story to give any other character a motivation. Yes, John Jameson is lying, but why? And is Marvel really going to make him a villain just three issues after establishing him in a new role at Ravencroft? Façade could be Bannon’s fiancée Amy, or the new kid Cole, or the detective, or an anonymous partygoer, and it wouldn’t matter. There’s no particular reason to care.