Friday, December 11, 2009

SPIDER-MAN #12 - July 1991

Perceptions - Conclusion

Credits: Todd McFarlane (artist/writer), Scott Williams (ink assists), Rick Parker (letterer), Gregory Wright (colors)

Summary: Wolverine convinces Spider-Man to watch over Wendigo in the forest while he investigates the town. After picking up the murderer’s scent, he calls police to the woods. While Spider-Man webs up the approaching policemen, Wolverine grabs Luke Thorpe, the famous hunter. He tells Inspector Krahn that Thorpe is the killer. Wolverine pretends to stab Thorpe, then reveals to Krahn that he knows that he is actually the killer. Krahn confesses, divulging that he incited the media hysteria and pointed clues towards Wendigo as a distraction. He tries to escape, but is killed by a hunter who mistakes him for Bigfoot. Wolverine gives Thorpe a tape of Krahn’s confession, which ends the media circus. As Wolverine recovers the remaining bodies, Spider-Man returns home.

Panel Count: Seventy-eight panels.

Where’s Felix? : It’s another issue without a Felix. I imagine it was harder for McFarlane to work them in during the issues that mainly took place in the forest.

Review: Okay, Todd. Are you through with dead kids now? (Answer: No.) The last few issues seemed a bit rushed, and this one is no exception. McFarlane’s inking style has drastically changed from his normally elaborate look, as he now goes for more shadows and abstract lines. This puts the colorist in an awkward position since it’s not obvious when lines are supposed to begin and end, giving much of the issue an unattractive, blurry look. McFarlane’s intricate page layouts are also gone, as most of the issue is giant panels and splash pages intercut with tiny panels that are forced to carry the actual story.

This is the big finale, and it wastes the first seven pages with Spider-Man and Wolverine bickering with one another. When Spider-Man grows tired of taking orders from Wolverine, we even get the cliché sight of Wolverine popping two claws near Spider-Man’s head and threatening to unleash the third under his chin (seriously, including the various media incarnations of Wolverine, I wonder how many times we’ve seen that one). The tough guy posturing serves no real point, outside of making Spider-Man seem unnecessarily wimpy. After that, the task of actually resolving the mystery begins. McFarlane rushes through a lot of this, saving the actual revelation of the murderer and his confession for a cramped page. If there weren’t so many gratuitous splash pages and giant panels of Spider-Man and Wolverine posing, maybe this scene could’ve carried some dramatic weight, but this is what we get.

If this entire arc was really supposed to be a murder mystery, it never even bothered to give us credible suspects. The only two characters that could be the killer are Thorpe and Krahn, and both have barely appeared before this issue (Krahn’s name was even spelled differently in a previous issue). It’s also been established since the second chapter that the police have been behaving strangely, so it’s not much of a shock that a cop is the killer. On top of that, Spider-Man has had literally nothing to do for the past three chapters. Wolverine’s taken over the case, and now Spidey is stuck babysitting Wendigo or wasting his time contacting the authorities. That wouldn’t be so bad if this was appearing in Wolverine, but it’s a five-part story in a new Spider-Man series. It’s a pretty shoddy way to treat your lead character.

1 comment:

wwk5d said...

Seriously, I guess Todd seems to enjoy "dead children = dark and edgy formula". Once in a while is fine, but story after story? I never read this series much, from your reviews and website, it does (as you pointed out) seem to be a primer for Spawn...

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