Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #97 - February 1993

Opening Volley

Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Derek Yaniger, Alex Saviuk, & Joe Rubinstein (art), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: Blood Rose continues to attack the remains of the Fisk empire. He launches an assault on Fisk Tower, destroying large sections of the building and endangering civilians. Spider-Man tries to rescue the building’s occupants, which include Robbie Robertson, who raced in to investigate the explosions. Blood Rose confronts Spider-Man with men hired from the Foreigner, the Cyber-Hunters.

The Subplots: Betty joins Peter for dinner with Aunt May, MJ, and his parents. MJ appears to be annoyed. Later, a fuming Robbie Robertson criticizes Peter for “monopolizing” the Bugle’s dark room. When Peter disappears after the explosions hit Fisk Tower, Robbie grows even angrier with him. Meanwhile, a feeble Richard Fisk washes ashore St. Thomas in search of his doctor. He’s confronted by a man named Trench.

Web of Continuity: Richard Fisk claims he survived drowning in Web #89 after his “loyal divers spirited me away and followed my escape route.”

Review: So, Howard Mackie’s run on Web is followed by another superstar you might remember from the crème de la crème of ‘90s X-titles…Terry Kavanagh. Kavanagh didn’t stick around long enough to receive as much vitriol as Mackie did during his Spidey stint, but he is the freelancer famous for pitching the return of the Spider-Clone, which became the most reviled storyline of the ‘90s. People used to think replacing the “clone” Spider-Man of the past twenty years with the “real” deal was the dumbest thing that could be done to the character. How naive we were…

As bad as Mackie’s run turned out to be, at least he opened with a strong issue. Kavanagh’s first issue leads with the grenade, machine gun, and pouch-laden Blood Rose shouting, “Don’t panic, punks -- I brought enough ammo for everybody!” as he mows down an army of generic thugs. The ‘90s clichés don’t stop until we reach the final page -- the introduction of the Cyber-Hunters. I’m sorry; I meant they don’t stop until after we reach the final page, obviously. Assisting Alex Saviuk in that opening section is Derek Yaniger, and artist I recall from the Transformers: Generation 2 series. To put it politely, he draws better robots than people at this stage, although he has a Ted McKeever feel on a few of the pages, which adds some teeth to the fight scene.

In-between the mindless action, Kavanagh brings us more of the moody, unlikable MJ (i. e., the out-of-character MJ), a seething Robbie Robertson berating Peter for being such a screw-up (i. e., an out-of-character Robbie), and a token appearance by Peter’s recently returned parents (and Peter’s dad, who we later learn is a robot, doesn’t seem to like Peter much, either). What fun.


Matt said...

Ugh. Even as a teenager, I could tell that this was a terrible run of issues. I actually liked most of Mackie's work on Web, but Kavanagh left me cold.

I thought he was around for a while, though -- isn't he there until at least #125? I'm probably misremembering, but I thought Kavanagh wrote the Web issue which introduced the Phil Urich Green Goblin (and featured one of his favorite plot points -- Spider-Man rescuing someone from falling off a bridge and not killing them).

In the long run, it's not as long as Mackie hung around the various Spider-titles, but it was still over two years!

G. Kendall said...

Kavanagh did have a longer than average run, but I was comparing his 2 years to Mackie's 9 on Spider-Man. Kavanagh's WEB was never high-profile, either, while Mackie was at one point the sole Spider-Man writer.

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