Thursday, October 27, 2011

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #110 - March 1994

The Savaging Part One - Final Sanction

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

The Plot: The Lizard goes on an interstate murder spree on his way to the Everglades. The government hires hi-tech bounty hunter Warrant to apprehend him. Dr. Ashley Kafka is consulted on the case, and in violation of her orders, leaks news of the Lizard’s release to the press. At the home of the Lizard’s family, Spider-Man discovers Warrant destroying their home during a brutal interrogation. Spider-Man tries to stop him, but Warrant escapes with Billy Connors.

The Subplots: Jonah Jameson is still angry with Robbie Robertson for investigating his wife without permission. Betty Brant, carrying a morgue file on Need Leeds, interrupts their meeting. Meanwhile, MJ is tempted by a pack of cigarettes she finds in an old jacket.

Web of Continuity: Young Billy Connors wants to go by “William” from now on. I don’t think any future writers ever pick up on this. Dr. Ashley Kafka is the director of Arkham Asylum Ravencroft, which debuted a few years earlier in Spectacular Spider-Man.

*See _________ For Details: MJ quit smoking in Amazing #385, and was targeted by a deranged Secret Hospital fan in Amazing #386.

I Love the ‘90s: Leslie Kafka uses the “latest in portable fax technology” to spread word of the Lizard’s escape.

: Comedy fodder Warrant debuts, sporting a foot-long ponytail and hair metal band name a solid two years too late. He may or may not be a cyborg too, in case you were incredibly dense and still couldn’t guess which decade spawned the character. He of course has a bad attitude and lazy shaving habits as well, but unlike most of the decade’s anti-heroes, Warrant is apparently intended to be more of an outright villain. I assume that’s what Kavanagh’s going for, since Warrant spends much of the issue terrorizing a woman and her son, before he kidnaps the kid to use as bait for a monster. I have no doubt that Marvel would’ve quickly softened him up and commissioned a limited series for Warrant if someone in the offices thought he had a future as a solo star, though.

Much of the rest of the story is a retread of the early chapters of “Torment,” as we’re treated to a lengthy embellishment of the Lizard’s killing spree that can’t match the mood set in the original storyline (which is far from a classic anyway). Making this more absurd is the straight-faced defense of the Lizard given by Dr. Kafka, which is intercut with images of the Lizard brutally murdering innocent people. If these scenes were supposed to make Kafka look like an idealistic idiot, they’re successful in accomplishing that much, but I’m under the impression that Kavanagh honestly wants us to be sympathetic to the doctor. Sorry, but only J. M. DeMatteis can pull that trick off. She still says and does moronic things in his stories, but somehow DeMatteis makes her point of view seem less absurd.


Matt said...

Ravencroft was, as you point out, a blatant ripoff of Batman's Arkham Asylum, but I liked that brief period a few years from now where John Jameson was their security chief. And for whatever reason, I never had much of a problem with Dr. Kafka.

The less said about Warrant, on the other hand, the better! Even as a teenager with little to no discriminating tastes, I found most all of Kavanagh's new characters (such as Nightwatch, Warrant, and the upcoming FACADE) to be pretty awful.

Adam Farrar said...

I didn’t mind Ravencroft of Dr. Kafka, but like you said most people did a bad job using her. JM DeMatteis and Sal Buscema introduced her as an age appropriate credible psychologist trying to help characters who issues were routed in their personal traumas (Vermin and Harry Osborn). But then she was de-aged so she could show some thigh and made her try to rehabilitate the cast of Maximum Carnage with predictably flaccid results.

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