Monday, January 19, 2015

SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #25 - March 1998


Into the Dance!
Credits:  Todd Dezago (writer), Joe Bennett (penciler), Al Milgrom & Dan Green (inks), Gregory Wright & Mark Bernardo (colors), Comicraft’s Kiff Scholl (letters)

The Plot:  Professor Angst prepares a mystery man to become a new Green Goblin.  Meanwhile, Spider-Man dodges the numerous bounty hunters that have emerged now that the Daily Bugle has upped his bounty to five million dollars.  While trying to rescue a woman from a burning building, the Prowler arrives to help, just as Override and Aura emerge and attack Spider-Man.  He escapes, but within a few hours, he’s caught in-between Override and Aura, the NYPD, and the Dealy Boys.  One of the Dealy Boys’ “slazer beams” hits Aura, seriously injuring her.  Spider-Man escapes in the confusion.

The Subplots:  Peter tries to talk Robbie Robertson into returning to the Daily Bugle, but he refuses.  Betty Brant informs Peter that Norman Osborn has hired Flash Thompson as his personal assistant.  While Norman Osborn and Liz Osborn argue over his demand that Liz and Normie move in with him, Normie is kidnapped by the Green Goblin.

Web of Continuity:  Spider-Man is angry that Norman Osborn hired the Trapster to frame him for the murder of Joey Z.  How does he know this?  This information hasn’t been revealed yet.  Also, this new Green Goblin has already debuted in Peter Parker, Spider-Man #88.

*See _________ For Details:  A footnote reluctantly tells us that Override and Aura previously appeared in Spectacular Scarlet Spider #1.

Forever Young:  A news report lists Normie Osborn’s age as five, which means a full five years have passed since Peter left graduate school the first time.  (Normie was born in Amazing Spider-Man #263, cover-dated April 1985.)

Commercial Break:  A house ad promoting upcoming Marvel releases announces the Spider-Girl series.  It’s listed as a part of “Excelsior Comics,” a Stan Lee-helmed imprint that was never published.

Review:  “SpiderHunt,” the first crossover since the end of the clone days begins, perhaps not coincidentally in the double-sized twenty-fifth issue of Sensational Spider-Man.  This is the first promotional push Sensational has received in almost two years, and it would be a great opportunity to introduce the audience to the work being done by Todd Dezago and Mike Wieringo on the title…except Mike Wieringo is nowhere to be found.  Perpetual Spider-Office fill-in guy Joe Bennett is taking his place this issue, apparently because the editors didn’t have anyone else’s phone number.  Bennett is adopting a John Romita, Jr. look for Spider-Man this time, which isn’t a bad idea since Romita will draw the bulk of this crossover.  The rest of Bennett’s work is still reminiscent of early Mike Deodato, which is a style that couldn’t be more removed from the standard look of this title.  To give Bennett credit, he performs better here than in most of those Amazing Spider-Man fill-ins, but his art is a noticeable drop in quality from the average issue of Sensational.  

The story is mainly concerned with re-establishing the events leading up to the crossover and selling the idea that Spider-Man’s now under a constant barrage of attacks.  (Dezago’s sense of humor turns pretty dark this issue, with the introduction of Dallas’ Dealy Boys -- Lee, Harry, and Ozzie.)  The action scenes are fairly entertaining, and I was pleased to see Dezago, on more than one occasion this issue, emphasize that Spider-Man’s committed to actually helping others and not just protecting himself.  Dezago also works in a few character-driven scenes, as Peter and MJ’s marriage is contrasted with Robbie and Martha and even Override and Aura’s relationships.  The domestic scenes are played rather well, with MJ thankfully acting more as a concerned spouse and less like the constant nag she’s become in some of the other titles.  My only real problem with the story is the way “bounty” is conflated with “contract kill.”  No one wants to capture Spider-Man this issue; everyone wants to kill him.  Exactly how could the Daily Bugle get away with placing a public hit on anyone, even a costumed vigilante?  This strains credibility to an insane degree, even within the context of the Marvel Universe.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Weird that Normie is five years old when the Clone Saga established that Ben Reilly was created "five years ago" -- which was, if I recall correctly, specifically listed as being Peter's sophomore year of college. Meaning that somehow, three years have elapsed since the Clone Saga ended?

This is why little kids screw up comic book time.

(Though the sophomore thing is iffy in the first place, implying that barely two years elapsed between AMAZING #30ish and #150ish. This is why the passage of time in general screws up comic books!)