Thursday, September 8, 2011

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #105 - October 1993

Soul Gauntlet

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

The Plot: Inside his Soulscape, Spider-Man is transformed into a teenage Peter Parker and forced to face his deadliest enemies. Simultaneously, he fights the heroes gathered by the Goddess. Eventually, Spider-Man realizes that his life is an endless cycle of violence, one that threatens his loved ones. He decides to follow the Goddess’ plan.

The Subplots: Liz Osborn is spending time with MJ and Aunt May. Liz is discussing her plans for little Normie when she’s interrupted by Aunt May. Meanwhile, Robbie Robertson and Betty Brant sneak into Dr. Marla Madison’s ESU office.

Web of Continuity: Dr. Marla Madison is Jonah Jameson’s wife, which is why Robbie and Betty have kept their investigation a secret. They’re looking into a “hush-hush government experiment funded by Morelle Pharmaceuticals,” which is run by Marla.

*See _________ For Details: This story takes place in-between Infinity Crusade #s 2 and 3. Moon Knight #57 details why Moon Knight is so devoted to the Goddess’ cause.

Review: Allegedly a look into the psyche of Peter Parker, this is really an excuse for an extended fight scene with all of the issue’s guest stars. I do like the way Kavanagh handles the two levels of the fight scene, which has Spider-Man convinced that the heroes are actually members of his rogues gallery (when Madrox shows up, he sees a thousand Carnages instead), but the story offers no insights past “Peter Parker loves science!” and “Peter Parker wants to keep his family safe!” At least the subplots are advancing, so the Robbie and Betty story actually seems to be going somewhere. This issue finally confirms that the two aren’t having an affair, an idea that’s been teased for too long. The prospect of how the Bugle would handle a story involving Jonah’s wife is intriguing, but my memory is that the payoff to this subplot is pretty dismal.

Acid Test

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

The Plot: Nightwatch rescues the museum’s security guards from Deathgrin, but the villain uses his acidic powers to escape into the sewers. Nightwatch vows to stop him.

The Subplots: None.

Review: I assumed Deathgrin was a throwaway enemy created to be Nightwatch’s punching bag for a few back-ups, but now I wonder if Kavanagh intends to make him Nighwatch’s main villain. I’m basing this on the “dark reflection” bit Kavanagh plays up, emphasizing that both are trapped by their costumes in some way -- Nightwatch hates his organic costume but feels compelled to wear it, while Deathgrin is ensnared by the ancient mask he chose to wear for no discernable reason. Clothing related drama, folks. This is classic stuff.

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