Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #80 - September 1991

The Blood Is My Blood

Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Rick Parker (letterer), Bob Sharen & Renee Witterstaetter (colorists)

The Plot: Spider-Man awakens to discover Silvermane’s technology is draining his blood. He overloads Silvermane’s device with his webshooters and breaks free, only to lose his mask when it’s snagged by falling debris. Before his identity can be broadcast by the security cameras, the Black Cat arrives and disrupts more of Silvermane’s technology. Spider-Man sabotages the computer system, but Silvermane refuses to leave the security tape behind and is trapped in the ensuing explosion. Later, the real Silvermane emerges, disappointed by the performance of his doppelganger.

The Subplots: The Black Cat is contacted by Mary Jane, who hopes that she can track Spider-Man with his old spider-tracer tracking device. Black Cat follows his trail from Central Park and locates him. After they’re reunited, Black Cat doesn’t tell MJ that Spider-Man forgot to go through with their emergency plan and activate a spider-tracer.

*See _________ For Details: Silvermane explains away his death in Amazing Spider-Man #284 by revealing that his men kept his head alive until a new body could be built.

Creative Differences: As Silvermane’s base falls apart on page twenty-three, two different explanations are given. Black Cat speculates, “The damage done to Silvermane is somehow manifesting itself through all his equipment,” while an added word balloon has Spider-Man respond, “Yes! My sabotage of the computers worked!”

Review: As Kavanagh’s brief fill-in run concludes, he reverses the flow of his first story arc. The Firebrand two-parter opened strong and then petered out, while this story had a lackluster opening but a more dramatic conclusion. Spider-Man’s secret ID is threatened, Silvermane’s base is falling apart, and the Black Cat is trapped under a pile of flaming debris. Something actually happens on almost every page, and all of the action is conveyed successfully by Saviuk. Now, the story’s filled with questionable details (why is Silvermane waiting until Spidey dies to reveal his secret ID to the mobsters watching via satellite…why waste Spider-Man’s powerful blood on a robotic duplicate that’s just testing the procedure…), but Silvermane still comes across as a worthy opponent, despite the hokey premise of the character, and it is fun to see Spider-Man and the Black Cat team up again. Having Black Cat cover for Peter’s forgetfulness on the final page is also a nice character moment, and a good example of the emotional maturity the supporting cast was allowed to have during this era, before retro fever struck Marvel in the late ‘90s.

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