Collisions with the Past
Credits: Dan Jurgens (story/pencils), Klaus Janson (finishes), Gregory Wright w/Malibu (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)
The Plot: Spider-Man trails Multivex Corporation’s financial controller and rescues her from a group of muggers. She reveals to him that Multivex is funded by Osborn Industries. From Peter Parker, Spider-Man learns that Liz Osborn’s stepbrother Mark Raxton, formerly the criminal Molten Man, now runs Osborn Industries. He engages Raxton in a fight, which leads to the pair crashing into a hidden chamber that houses a mysterious cyborg.
The Subplots: Ben Reilly’s been framed by Multivex for burning down the Daily Grind. The owner, Shirley, talks to her insurance agent as Jessica and Desiree debate Ben’s guilt.
Web of Continuity: Since the previous issue, the mysterious Multivex Corporation has emerged and targeted Ben Reilly’s life. This storyline concludes in Amazing Spider-Man #412.
*See _________ For Details: Molten Man’s origin was given in Amazing Spider-Man #28.
Creative Differences: The mystery cyborg, and the manipulator destroying Ben’s life, is soon given the name Gaunt. He was originally intended to be Harry Osborn, back when “Blood Brothers” was going to be the penultimate chapter of the Clone Saga. Following Bob Harras’ promotion to line-wide editor-in-chief, Gaunt was revealed as a revived Robot Master, and absolutely did not become the true architect of the Clone Saga.
Review: That cover is probably my favorite piece of Jurgens’ Spider-Man art. Did you notice Spider-Man’s eyes on the cover? Not too small, not too big, with a cool swoop that goes up the edges? I think this design for his eyes is the perfect way to go. Unfortunately, it’s the eye design that Jurgens has designated for “squinty Spider-Man” or “thinking really hard Spider-Man.” It’s not his default eye design. As much as I enjoy Jurgens’ art on this book, I never liked the giant, bug eyes he gave Spider-Man. It didn’t seem to suit his art style, nor did it really match the eye design McFarlane popularized when he first gave us giant Spidey eyes. Giant, bug eyes don’t exactly evoke the “classic” era Jurgens is trying to revive, anyway.
Is there anything besides eye design to discuss this issue? Not really. It’s interesting to read the behind-the-scenes chaos in “Life of Reilly” today and know that Gaunt was originally going to be the villain behind the clone fiasco and a revived Harry Osborn. And it looks as if the pace of the titles has picked up in the other Spider-Man books, given the recap of the previous chapters of “Blood Brothers.” Sensational was apparently stuck with the dull chapters, though, since the previous issue didn’t touch the Multivex plot at all (spending most of the issue on a jewelry store heist and more fun with the skeleton), and this issue mostly sets up the final chapter…of a storyline that wasn’t allowed to have a real conclusion because the Clone Saga was to be extended six months. So, outside of a brief Spider-Man/Molten Man fight that Jurgens handles very well, there’s not much here.
Oh, and who decided that Mark “most-of-his-adult-life-in-