Wednesday, January 1, 2014

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #423 - May 1997

Credits:  Tom DeFalco (writer), Joe Bennett (penciler), Ralph Cabrera, Harry Candelario, & Bud LaRosa (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Comicraft (letters)

The Plot:  Dragonfly and the True Believers target Robbie Robertson, attracting the attention of Electro, who’s been hired by the Rose to kill the True Believers.  Spider-Man is caught in the middle of the fight, and is eventually beaten into submission by Electro.  Electro leaves, content knowing that he’s humiliated Spider-Man.  Meanwhile, Robbie saves Dragonfly from Electro’s attack.  She feels honor-bound to spare him, and answers his questions about the Black Tarantula.

The Subplots:  Robbie Robertson’s wife Martha is upset with him for working extra hours at the Daily Bugle during their downsizing.  Peter Parker’s tutee Neil questions if Paul Stacy should be his tutor after meeting Paul.  And Spider-Man is still experiencing headaches, not nausea (as seen in the other titles), following Morbius’ bite.

Web of Continuity:  Electro can now tap into the Earth’s electrical field and fly.  His other new powers include the ability to evaporate water before it touches his body, and the capability to enter someone’s brain through electrical impulses.

Review:  Oh, hooray.  More Green Ninjas.  And another Joe Bennett fill-in.  This is probably Bennett’s weakest issue on the Spider-titles yet, although to be fair to him, having three inkers leads me to believe this had to be a rush job.  Even by Bennett’s standards of the day, his faces and anatomy aren’t usually this bad.  (There’s a ridiculous shot of Dragonfly on page nine that would make even Jim Balent blush.)  The story Bennett’s been given probably wouldn’t have inspired the greatest artist, anyway.  The basic idea of Electro being upgraded and picking a side in this Rose/Black Tarantula feud is fine, but the story fails to create any real sense of drama.  Dragonfly and the Green Ninjas are dull, Robbie’s great personal crisis boils down to his wife nagging him, and all we see of Peter Parker’s life is a brief glimpse of him tutoring SHOC’s secret identity.  This all adds up to an issue’s worth of “Who Cares?” to be honest.

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