Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Spider Vs. The Empire State

The Spider vs. The Empire State: The Complete Black Police TrilogyThe Spider vs. The Empire State: The Complete Black Police Trilogy by Norvell W. Page
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Spider Vs. The Empire State
The Spider Vs. The Empire state is a true pulp novel set in 1938, in fact it was actually written then as part of ‘the Spider’ pulp series of books that appeared every month. This is actually a compilation novell as it contains all three original monthly novels in one volume (‘The Spider- The City That Paid to die’, ‘The Spider- The Spider at Bay’ and ‘The Spider-Scourge of the Black Legions’) All written by Norvell Page.
This novel is an allegory concerning the Nazi movement of the 30’s that was sweeping Germany. It also touches on socialism as well, mentioning the horrors of Soviet Russia several times.
This is a hard core novel with the Spider going through hell and back to save New York State, which had fallen under a puppet governor whose strings were being pulled from the shadows by a man only known as ‘The Master’. A new state-wide police force was instituted called the ‘Black Police’ who collected tax upon tax and fine upon fine on the backs of the citizenry. There are hangings, whippings, bombings and various other methods of death being instituted upon the populace by the rogue government.
This is an exciting and thrilling novel written in a different era, but in a writing style we should all be envious of. Colorful and exciting, the story keeps you mesmerized, wanting not to put the four hundred eighteen page novel down, for the most part.
The middle book at times became overly long it seemed and in spots the story dragged somewhat. There was a portion of the book that became very repetitious with repeated captures and escapes as well as many flights in stolen planes between Albany and Manhattan. That was the only portion of the book I can be critical of, as I felt, even if it did further the story, it was too much of the same, again and again.
All in all this was an excellent book which was like looking through a time machine at a simpler era, though not so far removed that it was unidentifiable. You could feel the fear of the populace as the Master forced his machinations upon the people through his stooges. If I could rate a book 4 ½ stars I would for this one. For fans of the pulp era this is a ‘Must Read’ with its grim and taught storytelling (For most of the volume anyway.) While some of the evils done here would be considered exaggerated and done in the need of fantastic storytelling, this piece can be considered a nervous warning for the times.
A little wordy in spots, and perhaps a bit too long, but a very good read that held my attention throughout. It was like peering into a very frightening world which was just outside the window, but slightly off kilter.

View all my reviews ">


  1. And it's being rewritten right now as "Masks" with a bunch more heroes at Dynamite.

    1. Yes! That's what made me intersted in this in the first place