Profiles in Courage: Banjo
Every once in a while, a villain is created that redefines not only the hero he's pit against, but comics themselves, pushing the envelope in ways no one has ever seen before, revealing something about the nature of evil and what it means to battle it.
And then sometimes, a giant retarded inbred mutant fights Spider-Man.
Yes, lumbering in from the pages of Spectacular Spider-Man #156 comes Banjo, who somehow avoided becoming the Sensational Character Find of 1989, appearing in only one (1) comic book in his entire career. And yet he gets his very own logo on the cover. Lest I remind you, Dr. Doom only got a slightly larger typeface in yellow when he showed up, and that guy managed to stick around longer than his first appearance.
But that may be an unfair comparison. Banjo here was created by Gerry Conway--the mastermind behind villains like murderous rope expert Slipknot and lycanthropic student teacher the Hyena--and just happens to be shacking up in a shantytown full of bug-eyed, overall-wearing freaks in the same area where Spider-Man's looking for Robbie Robertson.
Since he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, as will be made painfully clear by the time we're through here, Banjo mistakes Spider-Man for a government agent and does something that would almost ensure I'd be writing about him someday: he chucks a car battery at Spider-Man.
Auto parts being used as weapons: Always a beautiful thing.
Admittedly, retard strength or no, Spider-Man's able to hold his own against your average hulking redneck, and he does. Right up until Banjo's twin brother Bugeye shows up and handles things with what may be the worst piece of dialogue I've ever seen:
Mercifully, Spider-Man's rendered unconscious before the slack-jawed spectators before they're able to belt out a hearty "Get 'r Done," and when he comes around, Banjo's mother hips him to her son's secret origin. Surprisingly, sex between cousins isn't mentioned, and the blame gets laid instead squarely at the feet of a faulty nuclear reactor right next door to her house. The Marvel Universe: Free of Zoning Laws Since 1961!
Anyway, they give Spider-Man a head start before sending Banjo after him, and before long, Spidey's in imminent danger of being crushed to death in Banjo's powerful hands while being asked about the rabbits again. But then Banjo falls down a hole and everything works out okay.
A hole. That's how it ends.
Spider-Man's able to save him with some webs and drags him back to Possum Holler or whatever the shantytown's called, teaching Banjo's family and their six teeth a valuable lesson about not judging someone by their looks. A lesson that I, it seems, managed to fully escape.
Oh, relax. That girl's anorexic, and those people couldn't knock over a leaf.
She'll be fine.
More Profiles in Courage:
| The Haunted Tank |
| The Vagabond |
| The Tiger Man |
| HECTOR |