Friday, January 28, 2011

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #72 - January 1991

The Reckoning

Credits: Danny Fingeroth (writer), Dave Ross (penciler), Al Milgrom, Keith Williams, & Andy Mushynsky (inks), Rick Parker (letterer), Renee Witterstaetter (colorist)

The Plot: Spider-Man locates the rigged statue in Steele’s hideout and throws it out of the window, seconds before it explodes. Later, Dominic Fortune abandons his partners and locates Steele’s ship. He reconnects with Sabbath, who reveals that she married Steele’s anti-Nazi brother shortly after WWII. After the birth of their daughter Elena, Sabbath’s husband was mysteriously killed. Believing Steele to be reformed, she accepted his support and eventually married him. Unbeknownst to her, Steele took Elena under his wing and trained her to become his loyal agent. Now calling herself Sabbath, Elena is eager to kill her mother. The elderly Sabbath is saved by Spider-Man, who’s followed Silver Sable to the ship. Steele and Elena are placed in custody, and Fortune makes peace with Sabbath.

The Subplots: None.

Review: So, five years after Web #10, the mystery of the young Sabbath is resolved. Revealing that she’s the original Sabbath’s daughter is fairly obvious, but in the world of comics, it’s entirely likely that she could’ve been a clone, shapeshifter, robotic duplicate, or just plain immortal. As little as any of this has to do with Spider-Man, I’m a sucker for dangling plotlines, so I’m glad there was an eventual resolution. Spider-Man’s actual presence in this issue is more than the plot recap would lead you to believe...he helps to save the day, he just isn't particularly involved in any of the issue's big revelations. He saves the heroes from last issue’s death trap, reflects on why Dominic Fortune reminds him of Uncle Ben for a few pages, and saves the elderly Sabbath during the issue’s climax. There’s also an extended sequence that has Dominic Fortune faking a heart attack, and then faking his death while in the hospital. Spider-Man passes a mystery man outside of Fortune’s room and lets him go, even though his spider-sense tingled. The man turns out to be one of Steele’s agents, and he just filled the dummy in Fortune’s bed with bullet holes. Spider-Man believes Fortune is dead for a couple of pages, and predictably, he flashes back to his origin story and beats himself up. It’s obvious that Fingeroth is trying to find some way to make this a Spider-Man story, but there’s only so much you can do. If this were the main story during a regular run, he would be free to check on the supporting cast and advance some subplots. Unfortunately, fill-ins are almost always standalone stories, and this particular story requires Fortune for most of the action, so we’re left with an issue of Dominic Fortune, guest-starring Spider-Man and his ever-reliable guilt complex.

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