Weird Suspense #2, April 1975

“The Revenge of the Spider Witch!”

Script: Michael Fleisher

Art: Pat Boyette

The murderous rampage of a group of thugs is stopped cold by the web and blood-thirsty, paralysing bite of Count Eugene Lycosa: The Tarantula. However, one of their number, Frank, escapes.

Something compels Frank to enter a bookshop, where he buys a volume on the “ancient history of the middle European spider-cults.” Probably not on the Times best-seller list that one. Clutching the tome tightly to his chest, he’s drawn to a cave outside town; a cave that was “once the scene of dark, unholy rites performed by an ancient cult of evil…” Inside Frank begins chanting in a forgotten tongue, and lo and behold, the spider-priestess from issue one is reborn in a flash of flame. She quickly rewards her unwitting minion with a swift death. Nice.

We learn her name is Rak-Nora and she teleports to Lycosa’s mansion, where she dispatches poor Joseph the butler. Lycosa is understandably miffed by this and sets off in hot pursuit. In the meantime Rak-Nora transforms several drunks into giant green tarantulas, all the better to do her bidding. Having gone to all that trouble, she then hypnotizes a couple of cops to go and pick up Lycosa.

Lycosa awakes in a big glass jar, which shatters as he transforms into the Tarantula. He fights with, and slaughters, the giant tarantula slaves — bloodily dispatching the last one with a large shard of glass. Rak-Nora ambushes the Tarantula as he attempts to leave the cave, and sinks her venomous fangs deep into his throat. Their powers closely-matched, the struggle goes on atop a craggy cliff. Seizing an opportunity, the Tarantula throws a tasty right-hook unbalancing the priestess.

He then picks her up, and bodily chucks her over the cliff edge to her death.

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As you’ve no doubt realised, the cover — by Larry Lieber — has absolutely nothing to do with what goes on in the comic itself. Bit of a shame that, as it at least looks vaguely interesting. This is a mess of a comic, where things just happen for no rhyme or reason. For instance, there’s a bizarre scene where Rak-Nora — having teleported miles in the previous panel — suddenly has to transform herself into a tiny spider so as to scuttle under a door to enter Lycosa’s house!

There’s bright red blood aplenty for those looking for some gore, but Boyette’s art is generally uninspired.However, fans of Fleisher’s Spectre run at DC may find some familiarity in the inventive manner in which the bad guys are done in.

©2009 Atlas/Seaboard/the respective copyright holder