Thursday, July 14, 2011

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #98 - March 1993

Uneasy Alliances…

Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Alex Saviuk & Don Hudson w/Derek Yaniger (art), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: Robbie Robertson interferes with Blood Rose’s attack on Spider-Man, gambling that his twisted sense of honor won’t allow him to harm an innocent. Blood Rose leaves with the Cyber-Hunters, warning Robbie not to interfere again. Spider-Man tags him with a spider-tracer. Later, the Cyber-Hunters turn on Blood Rose, but can’t kill him. Blood Rose barges into the Foreigner’s office, demanding to know who paid him for the hit.

The Subplots: On a deserted island, Trench trains Richard Fisk using his “radical” approach to physical therapy. Meanwhile, Robbie Robertson remains short-tempered, and Betty Brant is sneaking into his office for unknown reasons. In the sewers, the Death-Spawn that kidnapped Doppelganger are now ripping out of his body.

Web of Continuity: MJ has begun smoking, which is a subplot from the end of David Michelinie’s run on Amazing. Richard Fisk is referred to as “One Eye” by Trench, and now wears an eye patch. This is presumably due to the injuries he received after crashing on to the island.

Miscellaneous Note: The Statement of Ownership has average sales at 298,733 for the year, with the most recent issue selling 212,450 copies.

Review: This is more tolerable than the last chapter, if only because Kavanagh is adding some twists to the story and throwing in a few traditional Spidey-style subplots. The Robbie Robertson/Betty Brant story turns out to be a flop, but the early teaser scenes are slightly intriguing. One subplot that doesn’t work is the mysterious reappearance of Doppelganger, who receives an entire page dedicated to showing him screaming in the sewers while little ghosts shoot out of his body. I ask this again -- whoever cared about this guy? Blood Rose is also an embarrassing relic from the early ‘90s, but at least he kills off the even more embarrassing Cyber-Hunters this issue.

I’m beginning to wonder if this was originally intended as a three-issue arc, and someone along the way decided to pad it out to coincide with the one hundredth issue. Derek Yaniger’s opening six-page sequence last issue (Blood Rose killing dozens of generic goons) didn’t have an immediate impact on the plot, and his Richard Fisk/Trench interlude from this issue also has no direct bearing on the main story. These threads do come together, but it’s easy to imagine the story working (and “working” is a generous word) without the scenes Yaniger’s penciled so far. It’s also unusual for Alex Saviuk not to pencil an entire issue, which would be more evidence that Yaniger’s pages came later.


dschonbe said...

I'd assume 100 is double sized, so effectively the 3 issue arc would be padded to 5 issues.

-Dan S.

Nathan P. Mahney said...

I'm the guy who liked the Doppleganger.

Adam Farrar said...

I also liked Doppelganger. It was a great sidekick character who I thought of as more of a pet than a person. I didn’t care for Carnage and Shreik treating it like their kid in Maximum Carnage, but if Doppelganger had been their murderous dog? Perfect. Also, razor sharp webbing was a neat idea and could be used again.

In 2002 I went to WonderCon in Oakland, CA and saw a panel on the upcoming Spider-Man movie. They showed the trailer, gave out swag and had both John Romitas there to speak. During the always dangerous Q&A, a small kid came up to the microphone and asked, “Do you think Doppelganger would have made a better bad guy in the movie?”
A fan yelled out “No!” and got some laughs.
And one of the JRs said something about what a good pick the Green Goblin was, emotional relationship, etc.
But I kept thinking, “How did this little kid read about Doppelganger? It’s been years since he was in a comic and those weren’t The Classics.”

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