The Eye of the Storm
Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Stephen Baskerville (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)
The Plot: Tony Trainer emerges as Sandstorm, creating a fierce “grit-storm” that reflects his confused state of mind. Spider-Man rescues Sandman from the storm, while Quicksand convinces the erratic Sandstorm to join her side. After Spider-Man finds a piece of irradiated shrapnel and reverses its polarity, Sandstorm’s powers fade. Sandman stays by Sandstorm’s side as he’s arrested to make sure he’s treated fairly.
The Subplots: Amidst the chaos, Robbie and Betty save Jonah and Marla from falling off the ESU science building. Jonah offers Betty her job back. Meanwhile, MJ is dodging calls from Secret Hospital’s publicist.
*See _________ For Details: Amazing Spider-Man #385 has the long-awaited resolution to MJ’s riveting smoking subplot.
Creative Differences: A few word balloons are added to explain that Sandman and Quicksand can’t use their powers within Sandstorm’s grit-storm. Later, an added thought balloon has MJ resolving to stop smoking tomorrow.
Review: And, not surprisingly, the debut of Marvel’s latest sand-related villain whimpers out spectacularly. Aside from the white mullet, there’s nothing really objectionable about Sandstorm’s appearance on the cover, but once Stephen Baskerville’s inks get a hold of him, it’s full-on Rob Liefeld/Andrew Wildman/Marat Michaels '90s ugliness. The resolution to every cliffhanger in the previous issue is even more cliché than you might expect, right down to Betty Brant saving her job by rescuing her boss and his wife. Dull, pat, predictable…I’m almost ready for the clone to show up, and I hate the clone storyline.
Tainted Part Two
Credits: Carl Potts (writer), Jesse D. Orozco (penciler), Timothy Tuohy (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)
The Plot: Cardiac escapes Scorpion, only to encounter him again while invading the offices of Tamco Pharmaceuticals. After disabling Scorpion’s tail, Cardiac kills Tamco’s CEO. He then purchases the company, saving the jobs of the honest employees and keeping Tamco’s beneficial drugs on the market.
Review: This is essentially the same as the previous issue, only now Potts is playing on the word “tainted” to describe the business deal that allows Cardiac’s civilian identity to purchase Tamco (its stock price is way down following the CEO’s death and the exposure of its bad drug shipment). That’s actually clever, so at least the ending isn’t as generic as the story’s premise. Potts is essentially writing Cardiac as the white-collar equivalent of the Punisher, and the story offers no judgment of Cardiac’s actions, so it actually becomes an unusual read in retrospect.