Spider-Man: Made Men #1: Review

Aug 1998
Howard Mackie, Norman Felchle

Story Name:

Made Men

Review & Comments

3 stars

Spider-Man: Made Men #1 Review by (December 8, 2010)
Review: If they can have MARVEL ZOMBIES, why not MARVEL SOPRANOS? All of Marvel’s gangster characters are brought together in one grim epic for the first time. Okay, especially with Urich’s grim narration, though the story isn’t particularly original: the tale of two friends to grow up to be on opposite sides of the law dates back—at least—to MANHATTAN MELODRAMA in 1934. The only disappointing part is the fact that this is sold as a Spider-Man story: his name is the largest part of the title, though he does not appear on the cover. True, most of the baddies were introduced in his comic but Spidey himself (aside from the opening fantasy sequence) appears in only a couple of panels—which are likewise not an actual event but Kingpin’s prediction of something likely to happen. My sympathy goes out to those who bought this based on the title alone. One question: how did the noble patriotic hero Captain America make it into the company of the gritty urban avengers Daredevil and the Punisher? He seems quite out of place.

Comments: The typewriter keyboard on the cover is a bit…unusual


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Spider-Man: Made Men #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

Ben Urich, Daily Bugle reporter goes to work on his book about organized crime in New York, focusing on two friends, Tommy Kavanagh and Paul Falcone, who grew up together in a rough neighborhood. As kids they saw the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, beating up Spider-Man and Daredevil and he gave Tommy cash for silence and an invite to do business when he’s older. Now, at Paulie’s bachelor party, Paulie disputes that story, claiming it was a pair of crooked cops not superheroes the Kingpin bested. A rift between the friends widens, as Tommy considers Paulie a sellout, thinking he’s better than the old neighborhood, whereas Paulie considers Tommy a loser, a gangster wannabe. The two part bitterly. That night, the Kingpin arrives on a secret flight, returned from exile to reclaim his criminal empire. Tommy has learned about this and waits nearby hoping to wangle a meeting with the big man. When Hammerhead and his thugs arrive to kill the Kingpin, Tommy drives up and rescues him, ending up with a job in his organization. Sent to bump off Silvermane, Tommy is interrupted by the appearance of the Punisher. Paulie, meanwhile, is revealed to be an undercover FBI agent, using family connections to get a position in the gang of "One-Eye" Fortunato. Later, when Tommy saves Paulie from a hit team, the two part on relatively good terms. A bloody gang war breaks out; when the bosses gather aboard a yacht to plan a united action against the Kingpin, the ship is torpedoed by Norman Osborn, leaving the others to think the Kingpin was behind the assault. When Paulie’s FBI superior suggests Paulie is shirking his job out of loyalty to his childhood friends, he turns in his badge and heads off to warn Tommy of an impending attempt on the big boss’ life. The Kingpin is not worried, though: he knows that should his enemies ever unite against him, it would draw the attention of the city’s costumed adventurers—Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America and the Punisher—who would end up inadvertently protecting him. When Paulie arrives, there is a gun battle, leaving him and Tommy in a Mexican standoff. When ordered by the Kingpin to shoot his friend, Tommy hesitates, apologizes and shoots. Tommy is then killed by the Kingpin for hesitating when given an order. The dying Tommy tells Paulie (not severely wounded), "You were right about him. Right all along." Outside Kingpin meets Norman Osborn who reminds Fisk of his aim to take over. The scene is witnessed by two boys—one of whom is paid by the Kingpin for his silence.

Ben Urich packs away his manuscript, knowing he will never be able to publish it.

Norman Felchle
Norman Felchle
John Kalisz
Norman Felchle (Cover Penciler)
Norman Felchle (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Matt Murdock)

(Wilson Fisk)

(Frank Castle)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Hammerhead, Norman Osborn, Silvermane (Silvio Manfredi).

> Spider-Man: Made Men: Book info and issue index

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