Monday, December 19, 2011

WEB OF SPIDER-MAN Annual #10 - June 1994

Shriek, Rattle, and Roll
Credits: Terry Kavanagh (plot), Mike Lackey (writer), Jerry Bingham (penciler), Tom Palmer (inker), Steve Dutro (letterer), Freddy Mendez (colorist)

The Plot: Spider-Man escorts Shriek into Ravencroft, despite his objections that the facility isn’t ready to accept patients. Shriek soon feeds on the negative emotions of a guard and powers herself out of her restraints. She frees her fellow patients, Pyromania, Gale, Mayhem, and Webber, and attacks the staff. With John Jameson’s help, Spider-Man apprehends the inmates.

The Subplots
: Warrant and his boss Reynard are using a guard, Barker, as a spy. Their plan is to watch Ravencroft explode and exploit the new bounty hunter opportunities it will generate.

Web of Continuity: Edward Wheelan, formerly the Vermin, now works as a peer counselor at Ravencroft.

Creative Differences: An added thought balloon has Mayhem (who apparently is the only one of the convicts without an online profile) reflecting that she’s only helping the others long enough to kill them after they escape. This was apparently added to justify why Mayhem is joining the other inmates even though a previous scene established that she viewed them as immoral. I don’t think establishing that she wants to kill them as soon as they’re free helps clarify her motivation, though.

Review: Aside from Jerry Bingham’s art, there’s nothing of note here. I don’t even think the introduction of four new Ravencroft patients was intended to do anything more than kill a few pages. In case anyone’s curious, Pyromania is a pyrokinetic, Gale can create massive winds, Mayhem secrets a poisonous gas, and Webber is a “deranged psychotic escape artist,” as opposed to those perfectly stable psychotic escape artists. Two of these villains could’ve given Wizard staffers some easy flatulence jokes, but I can’t imagine anyone else paying these characters a lot of attention. They are such total blank slates that virtually any writer could do something with them, but the Handbook’s already filled with hundreds of generic goons begging for a reinvention.

Daze and Confusion
Credits: Terry Kavanagh (plot), Joey Cavalieri (script), Alex Saviuk (breakdowns), Don Hudson (finishes), Sergio Cariello (letterer), Joe Andreani (colorist)

The Plot: The master hypnotist Daze targets Senator Gaines, who is under Warrant’s protection. Warrant neutralizes Daze and rescues the senator from committing suicide. Reynard injects Daze with truth serum and learns that he works for a criminal cabal known as the Fold.

Review: A caption on the final page asks readers to write in if they want to see more Warrant action. This teaser story, which pits Warrant against a foe that resembles a pedophile cosplaying as Dr. Strange, apparently wasn’t enough to turn the tide in Warrant’s favor. Sadly, we’ll never know the outcome of Warrant’s epic battle with the Fold. I can’t imagine why the comics reading public of 1994 didn’t want more of a character that’s essentially a cyborg Gambit, but sometimes the fates are cruel.

Tabula Rasa
Credits: Mike Lackey (writer), Sergio Cariello (penciler/letterer), Keith Williams (inker), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: The Black Cat discovers the Black Fox stealing jewelry from her apartment. He claims he’s been hired to return it to its proper owners. After pursuing him she decides to let the Black Fox go, content that the last vestige of her criminal life is gone.

I Love the ‘90s: Black Cat remarks that she wants to settle down with the latest Fabio romance novel.

Review: This is pretty amusing, and the art has a cartoony charm that I like. Mike Lackey’s interpretation of the Black Fox feels a little off (he speaks like a walking thesaurus, which seems like a great exaggeration of his established characterization), but the story remains a fun, quick read. A footnote reminds us that a Black Cat miniseries is coming from Terry Kavanagh and Andrew Wildman, but I doubt it was as entertaining as this back-up.

The Power of Resistance
Credits: Joey Cavalieri (writer), Vince Giarrano (art), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist)

The Plot: The Prowler fights the Resistor, a former AIM scientist that’s using local gangs for labor. He recognizes one of the young gang members as a friend of his brother’s. After defeating the Resistor, the Prowler warns the child to make the right choices from now on.

Review: Obviously this is a fairly generic set-up, but I imagine Joey Cavalieri probably would’ve gotten something out of the concept if he had enough room to flesh out the story. I don’t think the little kid Prowler’s so concerned about is even named in the story, which gives you some idea of how rushed the execution is. The art ramps up the excitement a bit, with a style that’s a mash-up of Sam Kieth and early Jae Lee. Looking at this back-up, I wonder why exactly Marvel created a new hero to serve as a Spawn clone, when Prowler was already there with his McFarlane friendly costume and cape. I imagine Spider-Man completists would’ve felt more compelled to buy a Prowler series than a Nightwatch one anyway.


Raoul said...

Mayhem is a Cloak & Dagger supporting character -- not necessarily villain -- who appeared in all volumes of the duo's series. She's big enough to have a Wikipedia page:

wwk5d said...

Prowler wasn't the greatest character ever, but he was likeable and had potential.

G. Kendall said...

Okay...I was searching for Mayhem as a Spider-Man villain and didn't come up with anything. Looking back, Mayhem was even in the last WEB annual, although she seems unrecognizable here.

Harry Sewalski said...

I quite like Prowler, but it's pretty hard for writers to find something to do with him. I think that his costume could also probably do with a revamp too. And in regards to the friend of his brother's, isn't his brother a member of the Sons of the Tiger, if memory serves?

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