Monday, March 25, 2013


High Drama  
Credits:  Todd Dezago (writer), Luke Ross (penciler), Al Williamson (inks), Gregory Wright and Malibu (colors), Richard Starkings and Comicraft (letters)
The Plot:  Ben visits Peter in the hospital following his collapse from a mysterious illness.  When Ben overhears Peter’s co-workers discussing a news story at a nearby building, he races over as Spider-Man.  He meets George, a suicidal man that’s climbed to the top of the aerial tower.  When heavy winds slam a news copter covering the story into the building, Spider-Man rescues the crew and relies on George to perform CPR on the victims.  George gains a new perspective after the incident and resolves not to give up on life.
The Subplots:  The police believe Shocker is behind a robbery at a diamond exchange.  Meanwhile, Dr. Curt Connors is brought in to consult on Peter’s condition.
Web of Continuity:  One of the Daily Bugle employees refers to “that Walters kid” in the office.  This is the first reference to Billy Walters, who becomes Todd Dezago’s pet character during his Sensational run.  
*See _________ For Details:  Peter collapsed in his kitchen in Spider-Man #70.

I Love the ‘90s:  Spider-Man approaches George by asking him if he has any Grey Poupon.  Later, they exchange “You da man!”s when saying goodbye to each other.

Review:  You might remember that the cover of the previous issue depicted a similar incident, yet it lacked freakish anatomy and questionable perspective.  If your fill-in artist isn’t in the same league as the departing one, you might not want to broadcast that fact so loudly on the cover.  Not that Luke Ross’ work is all bad, to be fair.  He gets a better grasp on Spider-Man as the issue goes on, and even if he is flagrantly doing a McFarlane pastiche, he does manage to capture some of the elements that made McFarlane’s work so popular.  His main failing comes in drawing the civilian cast, as many of the characters look like something out of Dragon Ball Z for much of the issue.
According to “Life of Reilly”, one of the main motivations for doing this storyline was to reintroduce the old supporting cast that had been largely ignored during all of the clone shenanigans.  That’s an admirable goal, although I question if Peter really is so close to some of these people that they would visit him in the hospital.  (Ken Ellis?  Angela Yin?)  Also, none of these characters play a real role in the story.  Ben’s able to discover the impetus for this issue’s Spider-Man action by overhearing Peter’s co-workers’ conversation, but that could’ve been just as easily accomplished by a breaking news bulletin on the television in Peter’s room.  Robbie, Flash, Liz, Felicia, and Betty are all here, but none of them have particularly memorable scenes with Peter or Ben.  The Spider-Man sequence is also disappointing, since it’s essentially another story of Spider-Man talking someone out of suicide.  (Are there enough of those stories for their own trade paperback by now?)  I’ll give Dezago credit for the helicopter crash idea, though, since that is a less obvious means of inserting action into the story, and it’s a break from the standard armed robbers Spider-Man’s faced in almost every issue of this book so far.


Anonymous said...

Hey, you could do a lot worse than imitating Akira Toriyama, although I'd describe some of the art as looking more "Joe Mad! clone wannabe" than DBZish lol. And the McFarlane impression he's got is uncanny. I think Ross moves to Spectacular around the time of Revelations, and he gets... marginally better as time goes on. Now, though, his style looks like a completely different artist, same with guys like Brandon Peterson and Carlos Pacheco. It's weird how som many "hot" 90s artists have completely changed their styles....

Matt said...

I really liked Luke Ross when he came onto the Spider-Man titles, but looking back, his early work was kind of rough. Fortunately, by the time he worked with DeMatteis on Spectacular following the Clone Saga, he was a lot better (to my eye, at least).

He drew some of Brubaker's Captain America issues in the past few years, and I couldn't believe it was the same guy!

Also, Peter's collapse frustrated me to no end because there was some weird continuity glitch where his collapse happened in part one of a cliffhanger involving Spider-Man in Spectacular, then he was rushed to the hospital in an issue of another title the following week (where Spidey was having a different adventure), Ben learned about his condition in another title, etc., then in the next month's issue of Spectacular, Ben's cliffhanger was resolved.

But I guess if that's the only real continuity issue I remember from this period where the Spider-Titles were so closely intertwined, I guess that's not a bad record.

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