Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SPIDER-MAN #9 - April 1991

Perceptions - Part Two

Credits: Todd McFarlane (pencils/inks/story), Rick Parker (letterer), Gregory Wright (colors)

Summary: Wolverine continues to dissuade hunters, while Peter Parker and Melvin Gooner discuss the case. Melvin wonders why the police are leaking info and creating more hysteria. Peter comes across an old man who accuses Wendigo of being the media’s “Bigfoot.” After spying on her argument with Inspector Keahn, Peter shares the Wendigo information with Anna Brooks. In the woods, Wolverine comes across more dead bodies. Nearby, acclaimed hunter Luke Thorpe and local police have found Wendigo. A policeman shoots him, angering the beast.

Panel Count: Seventy-nine panels this issue.

Commercial Break: On the back of this comic about child murders is an ad for Trix cereal. Silly rabbit.

Where’s Felix? : Melvin is using Felix Ketchup to pour on his donuts. (He's supposed to be wacky.)

Review: This is a very Wolverine-centric issue that only features Spider-Man (in costume) when he web-slings back and forth from where he needs to go. McFarlane’s take on Wolverine is a little strange, as we’re now supposed to believe that Wolverine is a diehard animal rights activist. I understand that the hunters in the story are irrationally killing animals out of fear, which probably is something Wolverine would condemn. However, the dialogue makes it seem as if Wolverine is opposed to all hunting, which is incongruous with the character’s usual portrayal (there’s an issue of Wolverine from around this era that opens with him ripping apart a boar hog). Visually, McFarlane can draw some cool Wolverine shots, but only when his costume is obscured by shadows. As evidenced by the cover, his interpretation of the brown costume is just a little awkward.

Even though the Wolverine scenes don’t work, Spider-Man is handled well. Melvin Gooner is the latest in a long line of faceless Daily Bugle reporters, but McFarlane succeeds in giving him a little bit of a personality. Peter’s conversation with Anna Brooks is also nicely done, emphasizing his guilt over Gwen’s death and his love for Mary Jane. When he’s working with established characters, I think McFarlane does have the capability to humanize his cast, which is something I don’t recall him pulling off in Spawn. As for the murder storyline, this issue establishes the idea that Wendigo might be innocent, and introduces hunter Luke Thorpe, presumably as a red herring. The hints that someone in the police department is up to no good are about as subtle as a kick to the face, though.


wwk5d said...

It's interesting that you mention the problems Macfarlane is having with Wolverine's brown costume...he didn't seem to have any during that one issue he drew when he was the artist on Incredible Hulk...

I wonder if that's why he has Logan switch costumes mid-story?

Matt said...

My gosh, that cover is terrible! Why is Wolverine so stiff and lifeless? And why is he about to tip over?!?

Matt said...

And as I look at it more closely, Wendigo appears to have a prominent underbite, and possibly a dislocated jaw, too!

It's like he banged the cover out in half an hour or something!

Chad said...

I think the idea of Wolverine opposing hunting comes from a scene in Claremont's "Uncanny X-Men" where Wolverine is in the woods tracking a deer. Storm assumes he's hunting for fun, but instead Wolverine just relaxes by getting close to wildlife.

Of course, this does not an anti-hunting stance make, but I bet McFarlene just half-remembered this very scene and thought he was bringing up an underexplored part of Wolverine's personality.

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