Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #79 - August 1991

First Blood…

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

The Plot: The Silver Squad target Peter and MJ while in Central Park, hoping to draw out Spider-Man. Peter changes into Spider-Man while MJ distracts the mercenaries. As Spider-Man attacks, he realizes the soldiers are actually robots. All are destroyed, except for Ripster, who chases Spider-Man throughout the city and eventually forces him to fall off a building. Unconscious, Spider-Man is brought to Silvermane.

The Subplots: None

Web of Continuity: The Silver Squad consist of Purty Larry, Slambeaux, Twit, and the lone “female,” Ripster. Silvermane, at this point in continuity, is a weakened cyborg in need of blood.

Creative Differences: An added thought balloon on page eleven emphasizes yet again that the Silver Squad are robots, so it’s okay for Spider-Man to blow them up.

Review: Were cyborgs and humanoid robots considered interesting enough in 1991 to carry an entire story? I don’t remember ever buying into the cyber-craze as a kid, yet mainstream comics are filled with these characters well into the ‘90s. This issue introduces the Silver Squad, four robots inexplicably given human appearances and personalities. How exactly does that help them in their mission? They’re attacking Peter Parker in public, hoping to attract Spider-Man’s attention, so it’s not as if this plan requires any amount of stealth or subtlety. When Spider-Man’s hopping around forces the Squad to shoot each other (odd that this never happens to his human opponents), he discovers that they’re robots and declares all bets are off. You might expect this to lead to an intense fight scene, but instead he’s finished with most of the Squad by the next page. The rest of the issue consists of Spider-Man running from Ripster (a rejected Dreadnok name if I ever heard one), who’s somehow a thousand times more competent than her teammates. It’s a dull shred of a story, but I’ll give Alex Saviuk credit for delivering another issue of solid draftsmanship and storytelling.

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