Thursday, June 27, 2013
SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #15 - April 1997
Deluge Part Three - Inundated!
Credits: Todd Dezago (writer), Mike Wieringo (penciler), Richard Case (inks), Gregory Wright w/GCW (colors), Comicraft (letters)
The Plot: Spider-Man convinces Stegron that Ka-Zar is fighting to protect the Savage Land, leading him to command his dinosaurs to help. The Hulk and Chtylok suddenly enter, engaged in their days-old battle. Stegron sends his dinosaurs to incapacitate Chtylok, while Ka-Zar rushes off to confront Dr. Roth. He reveals to SHIELD Roth’s plan to flood the Savage Land, which would make the area legally available for oil drilling. Later, after Roxxon disavows Dr. Roth, he detonates charges on the dams and floods the area. Luckily, the water disappears in the crater created by Hulk and Chtylok’s fight. Ka-Zar allows Dr. Roth to escape, knowing that Chtylok will kill him in the wild.
The Subplots: None.
Web of Continuity: It’s possible this issue was meant to justify why the Hulk is in the Savage Land at the beginning of Incredible Hulk #454.
I Love the ‘90s: The opening narrative captions still describe dinosaurs as reptiles, which is a theory that I believe has been replaced with the belief that dinosaurs were closer to birds than lizards.
Review: The pieces fall into place for the final chapter, with the previous issue’s prophesy that Chtylok would one day save the Savage Land actually coming true in a cute way. One plot element that doesn’t work, however, is the “plan” that Spider-Man spontaneously develops and conveniently explains off-panel (the comic book equivalent of the old Hanna-Barbara “whisper whisper whisper” into someone’s ear). Apparently his plan is to ask Hulk and Stegron to help him destroy all of the heating units Roxxon’s placed all along the Savage Land, but…what kind of a plan is that? Of course that’s what they’re going to do next. And their actions are pointless anyway, since Dr. Roth detonates the dams out of spite and floods the area they were trying to save. Ka-Zar intimates that this all a part of Spider-Man’s plan (even though Spider-Man is shocked when the dams blow), but how is it a “plan” that a giant crater would collect rushing water? What did Spider-Man have to do with any of this? The screw-up isn’t too obvious until you stop and think about it, but it is annoying. The light-hearted ending, involving the death of the villain, also feels at odds with the tone of the rest of the arc. Would Dezago treat, say, the Shocker’s death as a joke?
Regardless, the majority of this arc has been fun, and it’s obvious Dezago and Wieringo work really well together. Even if the stories aren’t airtight, they’re pretty entertaining and always suitable for Wieringo’s art style. I don’t know if Marvel would ever release a hardcover collection of this run, but any fan of this style of superhero cartooning should at least search out the back issues.