Tuesday, February 23, 2010

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #5 - August 1985

The Enemy Within!

Credits: Danny Fingeroth (writer), Jim Mooney (penciler), Greg LaRocque (inker), Phil Felix (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: Dr. Octopus spars with a Spider-Man robot before joining his men in a bank robbery. Spider-Man comes across the robbery and briefly fights the henchmen, but has to take a bystander to the hospital. Soon, Dr. Octopus invades the Daily Bugle, taking Kate Cushing captive as bait for Spider-Man. Spider-Man follows the tracer he left on one of the henchmen and locates Dr. Octopus’ lair. When Dr. Octopus realizes that he’s fighting the real Spider-Man and not a robot, he becomes catatonic. The police arrest Dr. Octopus’ henchmen, but Kate Cushing’s presence leaves Spider-Man unable to take photographs.

The Subplots: Aunt May’s boyfriend, Nathan Lubenksy, tells Peter about her financial problems. Peter meets Kate Cushing, the new city editor who is responsible for giving Peter photo assignments. The photos Peter takes on his assignment at the Schavian Embassy can’t be used because the mesh from the building’s ventilation system is in the way.

Web of Continuity: Kathryn “Kate” Cushing appears for the first time. She remains a routine Daily Bugle cast member until the mid-90s.

*See _________ For Details: Spidey references an adventure with the Rocket Racer from Peter Parker #104. He’s also wearing his black costume in one scene with no explanation (I know he wore a replica of his black costume during his night adventures during this era, but it hasn’t been explained in this series yet). As of Amazing Spider-Man #265, Peter and Aunt May have reconciled, ending the dumbest feud in comics history.

Production Note: It looks as if this issue was printed with flexographic printing. It’s certainly bright enough, but thankfully the print is actually legible, which was often a problem with that printing technique.

Creative Differences: Jim Mooney and Greg LaRocque have swapped penciling and inking duties with this issue. Christopher Priest claims this was done to teach them a lesson and stop their complaints about one another.

I Love the ‘80s: Spidey says that Doc Ock’s public profile is as low as Ronald Reagan’s. There’s also an ad for a contest with an Apple II as the grand prize.

Review: Wow, Dr. Octopus was a total putz for a few years there. The previous issue played up his anxieties surrounding Spider-Man rather well, but it's not as effective this time. It is somewhat amusing that Dr. Octopus spends the entire issue demanding a rematch with Spider-Man, and then wets himself when the opportunity arises, but I wonder how exactly a classic villain got to this point. The rest of the issue moves a few subplots along, as the “bad luck” routine is exercised quite a bit. Peter can’t sell any photos, his aunt might lose her home, and his conscious won’t let him keep the extra money the ATM accidentally gives him. (He drops the money when Ock’s goons attack the bank anyway. I don't know if this was intentional or not, but this scene is a nice prelude to next issue's conflict.) None of these scenes are bad on their own, but it feels like the gimmick is hammered in a bit too much. Wouldn't Peter have noticed the steel mesh in the way when he took the photos? It is great to see Jim Mooney pencils. He draws a Romita-style Spider-Man perfectly.


evanmcb said...

I really wanted to see all these Christopher Priest confessions about Spider-Man, but his site appears to be down? Is this happening to anyone else?

Flossin said...

Can someone link me to those Priest 'confessions' pretty please?

And yeah, it's pretty ridiculous how low Doc Ock has fallen from his former glory. I still consider him and not Green Goblin to be Spider-Man's arch-enemy.

Matt said...

Looking at the cover, I'm thinking this might be the one you mentioned last issue that Owsley rejected and then eventually used. At least, it sure matches his description of the original cover:

"[Byrne] delivered a cover for WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #4 that was... hilarious. Spider-Man battling a paunchy dentist."

Also, for those asking, the link to Priest's site was provided in the previous issue's review, and it's working just fine for me...

Joel said...

The podcast I belong to www.dollarbin.net just posted an audio interview with Priest about his time at Marvel and he covers a lot of Spidey territory. Oh, his website worked fine for me last night.

G. Kendall said...

Matt - Byrne said a few months ago that the cover showed up in ASM. He also wasn’t working for Marvel in 1987 when that ASM cover ran, which leads me to believe it was an old one. Of course, it’s possible Priest misremembered what the cover looked like, or Byrne misremembered which comic it eventually appeared in.

Joel - Thanks for the link.

evanmcb said...

Got the link to work. I'm guessing you can't connect to Priest's site outside of the U.S., as I had to use a VPN.

nyrdyv said...

These Spider-Man stories just before the relaunching with TM were great, in a way...


Steven G. Willis

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