Thursday, August 21, 2014

SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #20 - October 1997


Akasha Triumphant
Credits:  Richard Case (plot, pencils, inks), Pop Mhan and Mike Wieringo (art assist, uncredited), Todd Dezago (script), Gregory Wright (colors), Comicraft (letters)


The Plot:  Akasha’s personality begins to return, and she uses her newfound powers to teleport away.  Peter Parker meets her father at the Daily Bugle and learns that Akasha has always loved Greenwich Village.  He searches for there, as Akasha’s personality switches back to the Living Pharaoh’s.  She senses Peter is stalking her and attacks.  He returns as Spider-Man and steals her staff, the Eye of Horus.  He breaks the Eye, which causes the dark influence to leave Akasha’s body.  Akasha suddenly grows a pair of wings, tells her father she loves him, and flies away peacefully.


The Subplots:  MJ tries to cheer Peter up after Akasha escapes and he fails to get any photos of the exhibit for the Daily Bugle.


I Love the ‘90s:  Akasha turns into a ‘90s catchphrase machine after her true personality returns, gracing us with a “phat,” “where it’s at,” and “so what I am all about!”  She also hallucinates that a club DJ has turned into King Tut and is doing an Egyptian version of Beck’s “Where it’s At.”


Production Note: Issue #21 will give Pop Mhan and Mike Wieringo credit for assisting with this issue's art.


Review:  The bit with the DJ is funny, and it’s a relief to finally see a romantic scene between Peter and MJ, but the rest of the issue is easily forgettable.  Apparently, we were supposed to be invested in Akasha’s relationship with her father this entire time, even though he’s barely appeared in the story and we have no idea what the issues between them are even supposed to be.  The ending is also annoyingly vague, with Akasha suddenly growing wings and flying away, the only explanation being a few narrative captions that claim she’s been tested and now granted “a boon” by the benevolent pharaohs.  I’m guessing Akasha was being set up as a recurring character, but she’s such a blank slate I can’t imagine too many people would be thrilled to see her again.  An arc like this is a good reminder of how much this title needed more ongoing subplots, or at least more of an effort to acknowledge the events of the other titles.  A few interesting subplot scenes can save a dull main story, or at least alleviate the boredom for a few minutes.

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