Wednesday, April 14, 2010

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #11 - February 1986

Have You Seen That Vigilante Man!

Credits: Danny Fingeroth (plot), Bill Mantlo (script), Bob McLeod (art), Phil Felix (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: After Peter Parker stops an attempted rape at a laundromat, he’s declared a local hero. Against his wishes, the community starts “Peter Parker Patrols” to monitor the neighborhood. The three thugs from the laundromat begin vandalizing his apartment, forcing Peter to intimidate them as Spider-Man. After Peter asks MJ and Flash Thompson for advice, he returns home to see smoke coming from his window.

The Subplots: MJ is worried that knowing Peter’s secret ID is bringing her too close to him (didn’t she regret turning down his proposal just a few issues ago?). Peter comments that Flash no longer thinks he’s seeing his girlfriend, Sha Shan, behind Flash’s back. That’s the first time this subplot has been referenced in this title.

Forever Young: Peter and Flash talk about their long-ago days of high school.

Creative Differences: Peter’s conversation with Flash appears to be re-lettered. It certainly isn’t Phil Felix’s work.

Review: This is a nice two-parter with a clever premise. Every so often, you’ll see Peter Parker forced into stopping crime in his civilian guise, but I don’t think any story ever dealt with the repercussions of what would likely happen afterwards. The last thing Peter wants to do is draw this kind of attention to himself, which is exactly what happens. And while the local patrols are unable to stop the thugs from breaking into his home, they’re persistent enough to guard the skylight he uses to go in and out as Spider-Man. Watching Peter’s friends react to his newfound celebrity is also entertaining, as Robbie Robertson wonders if Peter is somehow endorsing vigilantism. Imagine that. The scene with Flash Thompson is interesting, as Flash refuses to acknowledge that he ever acted as a bully. His stance is that Peter distanced himself from the other kids and that Flash was only giving him a “razz.” I can see this working as Flash’s personal justification for his behavior, but it’s odd that Peter just seems to accept it. Peter only distanced himself from the others after he became Spider-Man, out of sheer necessity. Amazing Fantasy #15 makes it very clear that Peter wants to be close to the other kids, so Flash’s argument has a giant hole in it. At any rate, this is a strong start for the story, even as the book remains unable to keep a consistent creative team. Bob McLeod pencils and inks this issue, and turns in a great job, reminiscent of Mike Zeck’s work.

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