Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #61 - February 1990

Dragon in the Dark

Credits: Gerry Conway (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Rick Parker (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: Overwhelmed with his new powers, Spider-Man throws his mask from the top of a skyscraper and declares that he’s quit. The Wizard catches the mask, and uses Dragon Man to trace the scent. Dragon Man tracks Peter Parker to the subway, where the hero is forced to fight back until the android’s flame gives out. The crowd cheers the triumphant Spider-Man, who is temporarily inspired to keep going.

The Subplots: Dr. Doom is trying to siphon Spider-Man’s cosmic energy, but he’s sabotaged by Loki. MJ visits Kristy in the Eating Disorder Unit and talks about her parents. A mystery man is calling Liz Osborn, telling her he wants to come home.

Web of Continuity: The cosmic powers story is finally resolved in Amazing Spider-Man, where it’s revealed that the Uni-Force endowed Spider-Man with cosmic powers, but the experiment at ESU temporarily prevented him from fully adopting the Captain Universe identity.

*See _________ For Details: Dr. Doom siphoned a portion of Spider-Man’s power in Spectacular #160 with his Tess-One robot.

Review: The event has entered its final month, and Peter Parker has reached the point where he’s given up his life as Spider-Man. Of course, this happens every three weeks, but the creators have certainly taken an unusual path to get there. The basic plots of most of the “Acts of Vengeance” crossovers are fairly redundant, but Conway’s attention to characterization and the continued use of the supporting cast enable the title to retain its identity. Peter’s frustration with his new powers is effectively conveyed, and it’s nice to see small moments like Liz asking Peter to babysit, and MJ joining Kristy for dinner at the EDU. The fight scene with Dragon Man is also fun, and I’ve always liked the new cosmic power Peter develops this issue -- the ability to generate new costumes out of stray molecules. Three issues is enough of the gimmicky storyline, though, and I’m glad things are back to normal next issue.

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