Friday, May 20, 2011

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN Annual #8 - August 1992

The Dark at the End of the Tunnel (The Hero Killers, Part Three)

Credits: David Michelinie (writer), Scott McDaniel (penciler), Keith Williams (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: Spider-Man teams with the New Warriors to rescue their teammate, Speedball. They battle supervillains employed by Justin Hammer at the scientific research station where Speedball is being held. During the fight, Silhouette is kidnapped, and Firestar discovers the body of Gamma Flight’s Auric. Later, the united heroes find Auric’s sister, Silver. She inadvertently leads them into a trap, where Speedball’s powers are used against the heroes.

The Subplots: None.

*See _________ For Details: Speedball was kidnapped in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #26. The final installment of this storyline appears in New Warriors Annual #2.

Review: This is the only chapter of this crossover that I own, but the basic concept sounds promising. As the Sphinx explains on the final page, a group of villains are inverting the government’s Project Pegasus program and analyzing the powers of heroes for their own ends. Spider-Man’s research reveals that the conspiracy involves the Life Foundation, the Brand Corporation, and Justin Hammer, which is a nice cross-section of Marvel villains, and at least two Michelinie creations. I’ve always enjoyed stories that have villains forming alliances, and this plot sounds like a perfectly logical scheme, within the context of the Marvel Universe, for the villains to be pursuing. The rest of the story is an extended fight scene, competently rendered by a pre-stylized Scott McDaniel, which has Spider-Man and the New Warriors fighting a cross-section of Marvel villains that range from Rhino and Boomerang to obscure losers like Bombshell and Stiletto. It’s not deep, but it’s fun.

First Kill - Part Three

Credits: David Michelinie (writer), Aaron Lopresti (penciler), Bruce Jones (inker), Rick Parker (letterer), Kevin Tinsley (colorist)

The Plot: Venom kills Bruno Markham in retaliation for the murder of an inventor whose work was stolen by Markham. When the victim’s nephew expresses remorse for helping Markham take his work, Venom gives him a second chance. Later, Eddie Brock decides to bond with the alien symbiote permanently.

*See _________ For Details: This story is continued from Amazing Spider-Man Annual #26 and Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #12 (incorrectly listed as #11 in the footnotes).

Creative Differences: The narrative captions leading up to Markham’s death are clearly not lettered by Rick Parker.

Review: The ongoing Venom series of miniseries is about to begin, which is why this year’s Spider-annuals are running a prequel story that shows Venom as an anti-hero fighting for justice in his own warped way. This is only eight pages, and without the context of the previous chapters, it’s hard to make much of a judgment. I was never a fan of using Venom as a vigilante, though, and retroactively inserting quasi-heroic adventures into his past just sounds like a bad idea.

The Security Gauntlet

Credits: G. Alan Barnum (writer), Tod Smith (penciler), Don Hudson (inker), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Sara Mossoff (colorist)

The Plot: While testing a family friend’s security system, Black Cat encounters Hydro-Man. She tricks him into an airtight display case and locks him inside.

Review: It’s eight pages of Black Cat skulking around a house and then fighting Hydro-Man. Nothing else going on, except a joke in the final panel that suggests she doesn’t trust herself as a security consultant because she’s still tempted to steal. Filler, obviously.

Down Memory Lane (Spider-Man’s Top Ten Team-Ups)

Credits: Tom Brevoort & Mike Kanterovich (writers), Aaron Lopresti (penciler & inker), Steve Dutro (letterer)

The Plot: Spider-Man reflects on various heroes he’s teamed up with while waiting for MJ to return home. He finally declares his marriage to MJ to be his most successful team-up yet.

Review: It’s a story co-written by Tom “Youth” Brevoort reaffirming Peter Parker’s marriage. Make of that what you will. Some of the in-jokes are humorous, such as Spider-Man’s funny feeling that he has something in common with Dr. Strange.

Evil’s Light - Part Three: Charge of the Light Brigade

Credits: Eric Fein (writer), Vince Evans (penciler), Don Hudson (inker), Dave Sharpe (letterer), John Kalisz (colorist)

The Plot: Cloak pulls Lightmaster into his Dark Dimension, angering the businessman, Chadwick, who’s using his powers for research. Cloak follows Dagger’s command to stop fighting and releases the comatose Lightmaster. Chadwick threatens to press charges, but can’t because he isn’t operating within the law either.

*See _________ For Details: A footnote says Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #12 has all of the details of the story so far.

Review: Another shred of a story that’s hard to properly judge. Pairing Cloak and Dagger against Lightmaster isn’t a bad idea, although I have a feeling this is another story about a generically evil businessman exploiting a villain for profit and then biting off more than he can chew. Unless Eric Fein had a great twist on the concept, it doesn’t sound very interesting.


Matt said...

I liked that in the various Spidey annuals around this time, you always got back-up stories focusing on Spidey's "allies" like Black Cat or Venom, or Prowler or Rocket Racer, etc. It was a nice way to showcase the characters without forcing them into a team-up with Spider-Man.

I like "The Hero Killers", but I enjoyed the following year's annual crossover, "The Vibranium Vendetta", more -- also written by Michelinie, and featuring Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Black Panther vs. Ultron and Roxxon. I did not care for 1994's "Spidey's Totally Tiny Adventure", though, even though I think at least one chapter was scripted by Stan Lee for some reason...

Anyway, I know you'll get to those soon enough.

Anonymous said...

You're going in the wrong order...Tiny Adventure came first, then Vibranium Vendetta, then Hero Killers.

The only ones I owned and read from back in the day were Vibranium Vendetta and Hero Killers. Both were excellent super-hero action stories. Highly recommend you pick up the other issues.

Matt said...

"You're going in the wrong order...Tiny Adventure came first, then Vibranium Vendetta, then Hero Killers."

Oops, thanks! I was going from memory.

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