Friday, June 11, 2010

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #23- #24, February-March 1987

Slip Slydin’ Away!

Credits: David Michelinie (plot), Len Kaminski (script), Jim Fern (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Rick Parker (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: Slyde targets businesses with connections to jailed crimelord, Rockwell. Peter Parker happens to come across Slyde as he flees the scene of a robbery. As Spider-Man, he’s unable to stop Slyde, but he does nab a briefcase full of money from Slyde.

The Subplots: On their flight home from Ireland, Joy Mercado berates Peter for his “deal” with Spider-Man and calls him a lazy photojournalist. Aunt May asks Peter to join her on a senior’s junket in Atlantic City, which is where the Vulture shows up on the final page.

Web of Continuity: Slyde was “just another chemical engineer searching for the perfect non-stick coating for cookware” before his firm was bought out by Rockwell, which somehow inspired him to create a non-stick suit and steal from the mob.

*See _________ For Details: Spidey sees an ad in the Daily Bugle classifies from Silver Sable, asking to meet Spider-Man. A footnote points towards Amazing Spider-Man #281. Peter also casually mentions that he plans on quitting as Spider-Man, a subplot from the other books that hasn’t been mentioned at all in this title so far.

Commercial Break: Spider-Man faces the Sogmaster in his desperate search for the missing Cap’n Crunch.

Review: It’s Slyde, the villain so lame the ‘90s Spider-Man cartoon didn’t want him (even Big Wheel got a storyline…if Slyde showed up, I’ve blocked out the memory). Slyde’s just there to provide the action for a few pages, and even Spider-Man seems so bored by him he can’t be bothered to chase after him when he escapes. The real goal of this issue seems to be the resolution of the Joy Mercado subplot, along with a few efforts to place Web in-continuity with the other Spider-titles.

After months of teasing that Joy knows Peter’s secret, Michelinie specifies which secret Joy knew. Going way back to the Stan Lee/John Romita days, it’s revealed that Joy knows about Peter’s arrangement with Spider-Man, which has Spider-Man notifying Peter of his activities and splitting the profits of the photos with Peter. That’s a lie Peter devised after he stupidly confessed to being Spider-Man (because he had the flu of all things), but Joy’s heard the rumor and believes it’s true. I don’t know if Michelinie was always going in that direction, but it is a twist you don’t see coming. She thinks Peter is lazy and unprofessional, and there’s really nothing he can say in his defense. This is the best scene in the issue, partly because it takes place after Peter angrily follows Joy into the airplane bathroom. After they emerge together, a flight attendant gives the Comics Code approved response of “I don’t think I want to know…” Given that Peter actually thought he had a shot with Joy, the scene is even more amusing.

High Stakes

Credits: David Michelinie (plot), Len Kaminski (script), Del Barras (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Rick Parker (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: Peter joins Aunt May on a seniors’ trip to Atlantic City. There, the Vulture is trying to sell a new plastic that can rig games to casino owner Owen Briosky. Briosky balks at the Vulture’s million-dollar price; the Vulture responds by attacking his casino. Peter sees the commotion, changes into Spider-Man, and faces the Vulture. Their fight is interrupted by the Hobgoblin, an associate of the mob-connected Briosky, who chases Vulture away.

The Subplots: After saving one of the Vulture’s victims from falling off a roof, someone grabs Spider-Man’s ankle and tries to pull him inside the building. Spidey wonders if this is related to the earlier train station incident, since his spider-sense wasn’t triggered. I assume this was supposed to be another early Venom cameo.

Review: If I were Peter Parker, I would wonder why my friends and family always drag me to places where supervillains happen to be nearby. This is Michelinie’s final issue, and it looks like no one’s pretending this book is supposed to be about Peter traveling for Now Magazine by this point. Web is about to enter fill-in mode, and even if this was plotted by the departing writer, it still feels like filler. Perhaps the lack of subplots makes the story feel so thin. I can understand Michelinie avoiding any new subplots in his last issue, but there’s nothing to distract from the dull main story. The only real twist in the issue comes from the Hobgoblin’s cameo, which unfortunately comes across as a last-minute addition. His entrance comes out of nowhere, isn’t played for any dramatic impact, and he’s gone just a few pages later. Adding the Hobgoblin to the mix could’ve been a lot of fun; I could see an entire issue dedicated to Spider-Man getting caught in-between a Hobgoblin/Vulture fight. Instead, he’s just tossed in to give the story a quickie ending.


wwk5d said...

"Commercial Break: Spider-Man faces the Sogmaster in his desperate search for the missing Cap’n Crunch."

I remember that series! I never saw how it ended. Please tell me Spidey was able to find CC, and everything turned out all right in the end ;)

Matt said...

Isn't this the issue where the Vulture has a weird speech pattern that (to my knowledge) was never employed before or after? I seem to recall him repeating phrases an extra time, or something.

Anonymous said...

Nice art in both of these books.

G. Kendall said...

Yes, Vulture has an odd speech pattern in this issue. His motive, to have enough money to pay for his own taxidermy after death, is also rather strange.

And I don't think the Spider-Man vs. Sogmaster story was ever resolved, actually.

The Estate of Tim O'Neil said...

The thing that always got me about Slyde was that the villain only really worked if you believed NY city streets were 100% smooth and free of obstruction. Like, no potholes or lumpy concrete or random piles of garbage to trip over when you're sliding through the city . . .

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