Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #109 - February 1994

A Shock to the System

Credits: Joey Cavalieri (writer), Rurik Tyler (penciler), Sam De La Rosa (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: Spider-Man follows Shocker to a seemingly abandoned TV studio. The studio is actually a secret base belonging to Night Thrasher, who’s hiding an experimental biofeedback harness. After the heroes defeat Shocker in battle, he confesses that he wanted the harness to control his powers, which he’s convinced will kill him. Night Thrasher and Spider-Man combine their scientific knowledge and use the harness to tame Shocker’s powers.

The Subplots: None.

Creative Differences: A few added word balloons elaborate on Night Thrasher’s real name and costume gimmicks, Spider-Man’s spider-sense, and who exactly is going to take Shocker to the Vault after he’s cured.

I Love the '90s: The title of this issue is presumably a reference to an early '90s Billy Idol song.

Miscellaneous Note: The Statement of Ownership has the previous year’s average sales at 332,858 copies with the most recent issue selling (is this a typo?) 432,900 copies. Even Web of Spider-Man almost broke the half a million mark!

Review: Web can never, ever escape filler, can it? Not that this is particularly bad filler, it uses the characters logically and has decent art, but it’s still a page-killer. The most ridiculous element of the issue is a scene that has Shocker literally terrified of Spider-Man’s shadow, but other than that there’s nothing really objectionable here. I’ll give Cavalieri credit for utilizing Spider-Man and Night Thrasher’s scientific expertise and emphasizing Spider-Man’s willingness to help people, even a villain who’s tried to kill him numerous times. So, it reads like a free comic given out at a baseball game, but it’s okay as filler.

The Savaging Prelude - Death Becomes Her!

Credits: Terry Kavanagh (writer), Alex Saviuk (penciler), Stephen Baskerville (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: Calypso seduces a Guardsman and breaks into the Vault. She unlocks Curt Connors’ cell, only to be killed by her former pawn when he transforms into the Lizard. The Lizard escapes into the night.

The Subplots: None.

Web of Continuity: A one-page interlude showcases the Parkers’ new brownstone home, which has already debuted in Amazing.

I Love the '90s: “Death Becomes Her” was the name of a popular Bruce Willis/Meryl Streep movie at the time.

Review: The regular creative team was still free to do seven pages, so this issue’s filler is padded out with a brief prelude for the next story arc. “The Savaging” is a sequel to Todd McFarlane’s initial Spider-Man storyline, and it’s about as good as you might expect. Kavanagh actually uses Calypso’s voodoo powers quite well during her brief invasion of the Vault, and killing her off so early in the story arc is an unexpected move, but it’s hard to forget that this is setting up an unbearably bad story. And even if Kavanagh’s scored some shock value with her death, killing off Calypso feels like a waste. Say what you will about McFarlane’s “Torment” storyline, but he did manage to take the ultra-obscure Calypso and sell her as a credible threat.


Matt said...

Wait, the Shocker has powers? I always thought he got his abilities from his costume. If he was afraid his powers were going to kill him, couldn't he just... take the costume off? Was that addressed in the story?

Or maybe I've misunderstood all these years, and the Shocker actually has innate superpowers...

G. Kendall said...

I think the idea was that his body had absorbed too much energy from his costume, or something to that effect. It's a continuation of a story in Michelinie's run from around this time.

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