Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #104 - September 1993

Crisis of Conscience

Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Alex Saviuk (breakdowns), Don Hudson (finishes), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: Spider-Man joins the Goddess in her quest to offer salvation to the universe. On Paradise Omega, other heroes are linked together to power a cosmic egg. The Goddess disappears into the egg as a part of her plan to awaken enlightened souls. Spider-Man begins to question why he hasn’t doubted the Goddess’ plan, which upsets Moondragon, her chosen representative. She attacks him, and their fight awakens the Goddess. She sends Spider-Man into a twisted version of his “soulscape.”

The Subplots: Jonah Jameson is furious that crime worldwide has appeared to stop, leaving him nothing to print. Robbie Robertson is sneaking away for another “secret rendezvous” with Betty Brant.

Web of Continuity: This is a tie-in to the Infinity Crusade crossover, which is famous for dividing heroes with “spiritual beliefs” against those without any. Spider-Man joins the Goddess on the believers’ side, along with characters like Captain America, Invisible Woman, and Thor. Rogue is accidentally shown as a member of both teams.

*See _________ For Details: Before he sees a vision of the Goddess, Spider-Man fights a street gang he previously faced in Spider-Man #36. A footnote refers to Infinity Crusade #1 for more information on Goddess’ plan for universal salvation. Goddess’ plan to “guide” her followers through Moondragon is “as seen in Infinity Crusade #2.”

Review: All right, after a three-month crossover break, it’s time for Web to get back to business. Oh, what’s this? Infinity Crusade? Well, if everyone has to play along…how long does this last? Another three months? Web’s going six straight months into crossover limbo while its ongoing storylines die on the vine? Okay, then. Whatever, it’s the ‘90s.

I was a pretty hardcore Marvel Zombie in the early ‘90s, yet I managed to avoid almost all of the assorted “Infinity” tie-ins. Since the X-books and most of the Spider-titles ignored all of this cosmic hoohar, it didn’t seem too important to me. Now, I’m faced with the Web of Spider-Man tie-in issues, and have no idea what to make of this stuff. I can see some solid ideas in here, which I have to assume came from Jim Starlin. A worldwide end to crime, a mystic being that’s serious about peace on Earth, and groups of heroes divided up based on their faith, or lack thereof. All of these ideas sound fine, although I feel compelled to be the one-millionth person to point out that any superhero atheist in the Marvel Universe has to be in hardcore denial. Kavanagh tries to fit a Spider-Man story into the event by focusing on his willingness to doubt everything, including science, which is why he doesn’t entirely dismiss spiritual beliefs. When Spider-Man doesn’t doubt the Goddess, he knows something’s wrong, which leads to him doubting his own resoluteness. That’s almost clever, but all it leads to is a pointless fight with Moondragon. Then again, there is a certain novelty in seeing the two disparate characters fight, so it’s not a total loss. I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to two more issues of this, though.


Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Bill Wylie (pencils), Timothy Tuohy (inks), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: Nightwatch faces a group of museum thieves who have stolen a Macedonian “Deathmask.” When Daniel Davis, the ringleader, tries on the mask, he becomes the powerful Deathgrin.

The Subplots: None.

Review: Yes, what this crossover tie-in issue really needs is a six-page back-up starring an unrelated character. No filler here. Marvel must’ve had high hopes for Nightwatch, or at the very least were okay with Terry Kavanagh repeatedly selling his pet character, because he just won’t go away. I actually haven’t minded Nightwatch’s previous appearances so much, but now he’s just a generic hero fighting a lame villain with a laughable name. I guess I have two more issues of this one, also?


Matt said...

"Well, if everyone has to play along…"

But not everyone did! As I recall, this was the only one of the four Spider-titles that tied in with Infinity Crusade! I kind of think Kavanagh just liked participating in crossovers. He had Moon Knight involved in both the War and the Crusade, I think for multiple issues each time. He also masterminded the return of the clone, which led to the four titles becoming a year-plus perpetual crossover (though that may not have been his idea). Maybe it had something to do with his staff position as an editor.

I love the "Infinity Trilogy", and all the tie-ins that were specifically written by Starlin (the Silver Surfer stuff that led up to Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos Quest, and Warlock & The Infinity Watch). I haven't read all the non-Starlin tie-ins, but the ones I have seen just seem like wastes of time. But if you ever have the opportunity to read the Starlin material, I strongly recommend it!

And lastly, I've always thought Nightwatch was a pretty cool name for a superhero -- and for that matter, Kevin Trench is a nifty, almost pulp-style secret identity name. It's too bad they were attached to such a lame Spawn knock-off.

Anonymous said...

I thought for a second that the letter's name was Steve Ditko and I got excited.

Anonymous said...

There was an Iron Man chapter in this cross-over that I enjoyed. It was written by Len Kaminski. It fleshed out Tony Stark's personality in a way which hadn't really been touched upon in the past.

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