Friday, August 13, 2010

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #44-#45, November 1988 - December 1988


Credits: Peter David (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Rick Parker (letterer), Gregory Wright (colorist)

The Plot: Members of Warzone meet in Las Vegas for their annual competition, as Peter Parker arrives to promote his book of photographs, Webs. While on her way to Peter’s book signing, Marlo Chandler is injured by Warzone’s Charlie. When Charlie is targeted by the other members of Warzone, Spider-Man is drawn into their fight. Their paths cross with Marlo’s boyfriend, Mr. Fixit, at the Coliseum Casino. Spider-Man discovers Mr. Fixit is actually the Hulk.

The Subplots: None.

Web of Continuity: From the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, Webs is a book of Spider-Man photographs, published without Peter Parker’s permission because he signed away the rights to the Daily Bugle (you’d almost think a comic book freelancer came up with this idea). He’s promoting the book because the publisher is paying him to do a promotional tour.

*See _________ For Details: This story is continued in Incredible Hulk #349.

I Love the ‘80s: Spidey comments that his spider-sense tingles whenever Nancy Regan consults her astrologer, the Michael Jackson songs “Beat It” and “The Way You Make Me Feel” are referenced, and Peter appears on Dinah Shore’s talk show.

Review: I’ve never heard of Warzone before, but apparently they’re a group of heavily armed mercenaries who try to kill each other once a year during some contest. Even though it’s a fight to the death, all of these characters act like old friends and talk as if they’ve done this for years. I’m sure the Incredible Hulk chapter clears this up, but my stance is that I’m reviewing Web of Spider-Man and only Web of Spider-Man. Despite the less than engaging villains, the story still has some fun with Peter Parker’s book tour, as he endures another moronic television host and empty book signing. A few fantasy/sci-fi/comic book references are thrown in, as the publisher’s representative talks about the other writers she’s dealt with (she thought Alan Moore was scary looking). I imagine the story was supposed to be significant as Spider-Man’s first meeting with the gray Hulk, although this is really being saved for the next chapter in the crossover.

Death From Above!

Credits: Adam Blaustein (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Rick Parker (letterer), Janet Jackson (colorist)

The Plot: Peter flies home from Las Vegas, sharing a small flight with casino owner and suspected felon Morris “The Snake” Diamond. The Vulture, who’s angry at Diamond for stealing the plastic formula he marketed to casinos, bombs the plane. Peter helps the ditzy stewardess, Sara, retrieve parachutes for the passengers. After landing in the desert, Diamond is kidnapped by the Vulture, and Sara is knocked unconscious by one of Diamond’s irritated flunkies. As Spider-Man, Peter carries Sara through the desert until he eventually finds the Vulture. The Vulture injects Spider-Man with a serum shortly before he's knocked unconscious in the fight. Spider-Man is saved by Sara, who reveals she’s a government agent. The Vulture, Diamond, and his men are all arrested.

The Subplots: None.

Web of Continuity: I’m not sure when this first appeared (he says he’s been using it for “months”), but Spider-Man now has a warning light to warn him when his web-shooters are running low.

Review: Web of Spider-Man’s trademark, the one-off fill-in, returns. Adam Blaustein was an assistant editor at Marvel around this time, and I’m not sure if he wrote any comics after this (Blaustein apparently led an interesting life before passing away in 2008). He’s chosen to do a sequel to the Vulture’s earlier appearance in this title, which wasn’t exactly a highlight in the character’s history. Like the earlier issue, Vulture is still obsessed with raising enough money to fund his own taxidermy, so he’s marketing a special plastic to casinos that makes it easier to fix dice. His speech pattern is thankfully back to normal (he’s not repeating everything he says Mojo Jojo style anymore), but this really isn’t the most inspired take on the character. Most of this is fairly generic, but Blaustein does gift us with Morris “The Snake” Diamond and his cronies -- Jewish mobsters obsessed with dressing and talking like cowboys. If you threw various stereotypes and archetypes into a hat and pulled out the first three results, you’d probably end up with a similar idea.


dan said...

well this takes me back to my childhood - i absolutely loved spiderman as a kid.

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