Wednesday, January 9, 2013

SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #1 - February 1996

Of Mists and Mirrors:  Media Blizzard Part One
Credits:  Dan Jurgens (story/pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Gregory Wright w/Malibu’s Hues (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)

The Plot:  Dr. Ramirez tells Spider-Man that his D.I.T.-Chip is being used by the new Mysteryvision TV network to entrance viewers with 3D images taken directly from their minds.  Spider-Man visits the network’s headquarters, where he meets founder Randolph Hines.  Hines tricks Spider-Man into putting on a pair of 3D goggles, which project his darkest fears into reality.  Hines, who reveals himself as Mysterio, then sends his Christmas-themed monsters to terrorize the city.  When Spider-Man tries to stop them, he discovers his webshooters have frozen shut.

The Subplots:  Ben meets photography student Jessica at the Daily Grind.  He later recognizes her as the girl who took photos of him a few nights earlier when he re-emerged as Spider-Man.  

*See __________ For Details:  “Media Blizzard” is continued in Amazing Spider-Man #408.

Forever Young:  Ben tells Jessica he was interested in photography back in his high school and college days…“a looong time ago!”  When Jessica later gives him a tour of Centennial University, he remarks that it’s been years since he felt like a student.

I Love the ‘90s:  Spider-Man wonders if Jonah Jameson will one day target Mother Teresa.

Gimmicks:  This issue features a fifth-ink cover, but keeps the standard cover price.

Review:  “Media Blizzard” was intended to be Mysterio’s grand return to the titles, complete with a revamped costume and new 3D hologram gimmick.  Neither of these stuck, but I honestly like Mysterio’s new look, and think making his illusions holograms isn’t necessarily a bad idea, either.  (I imagine if Mysterio ever makes into one of the films, that’s the angle that will be taken.)  The main failing of “Media Blizzard” is that it comes across as a fairly pedestrian Spider-Man story, yet it was stretched over the entire line for a month, simply because Marvel wanted to keep the books in a permanent crossover.  It’s hard to make illusions seem like a viable threat in the first place, and using them as the basis of a mini-event is an even harder sell.  

The personal life subplots aren’t quite so dull, thankfully.  I think that the eventual revelation that Jessica is the daughter of Uncle Ben’s killer is a stretch even by comic book standards, but Jurgens does an admirable job of fleshing her out as a supporting cast member this issue.  His Ben Reilly is also a likeable enough protagonist, clearly inspired by the classic Lee/Romita stories.  I can see why people have labeled Jurgens one of the best Ben writers, even if he apparently wanted to ditch the character immediately.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would say Jurgens, DeMatteis and DeZago probably did the best job with Ben's character. Also good to see I'm not the only one who liked Mysterio's redesign! I used to think I was the only one who did.

m!ke said...

the story goes that when marvel was negotiating with jurgens, he was told that the clone saga would be over, and he'd be writing peter, not ben. seven months and numerous editorial interferences later, jurgens walked.

Teebore said...

The plot of this sounds awfully similar to Batman Forever, which can't do it any favors.

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