Wednesday, April 1, 2015

SPIDER-MAN: THE MUTANT AGENDA #2 - April 1994


The Mutant Agenda, Part 2: Caught in the Act!
Credits:  Steven Grant (writer), Scott Kolins (penciler), Sam De LaRosa (inks), John Kalisz (colors), Steve Dutro (letters)

Summary:  Spider-Man uses his webbing to save the conference attendees and then takes the Beast along to follow Hobgoblin’s trail.  Hobgoblin arrives at a Brand research facility, where he copies Brand’s mutant research to a disc and then releases a virus to erase it from their servers.  After he exits, Spider-Man follows while Beast examines the computer.  Brand’s guards soon capture the Beast, as Hobgoblin confronts Landon.  Spider-Man interferes after Hobgoblin makes his blackmail offer, and is accidentally shot by Landon in the back.  Meanwhile, the Beast is awakened by Dr. Everett Burgos, who boasts that he’ll be the guinea pig used to destroy the genetic mechanism of mutation.

Continuity Notes:  
  • Landon’s monologue reveals that he was friends with Hank McCoy during their days at the Brand Corporation.  He claims that the Beast killed Hank and that he’s revived Brand to avenge Hank’s death.  Later, Dr. Burgos reveals that Landon knows that Beast really is McCoy, but he refuses to believe it’s true.
  • Dr. Everett Burgos’ name is a tribute to Sub-Mariner and Human Torch creators Bill Everett and Carl Burgos.
  • The Hobgoblin claims that Landon’s mutant research is merely a “shell game” to defraud investors.  In the comic strip version of this story, Hobgoblin is blackmailing Landon so that his mutant genocide plan isn’t made public.

Creative Differences:  A few of the word balloons during the Landon/Hobgoblin conversation have been re-lettered.  Landon’s dialogue has been changed during the first panel that has him reaching for his gun (or “blaster”), Hobgoblin has an added balloon that details previous Brand continuity, and Landon’s line that Beast “killed” McCoy has been re-lettered.

*See _________ For Details:  Hobgoblin remarks on how difficult it must’ve been to rebuild Brand following the “Tarantula fiasco” in Amazing Spider-Man #236.

Review:  I say this as the faintest of praise, but this miniseries is the best interpretation of the “Mutant Agenda” storyline so far.  Amazingly, this thin concept existed as a comic strip, a comic book, and a story arc on the Spider-Man animated series.  The only real depth to be found is in this issue, which reveals Landon’s motivation for wanting to kill those nasty mutants.  It turns out he’s an old friend of Hank McCoy’s who refuses to accept that his buddy is a mutant, so he’s rebuilt a hi-tech corporation from the ground up in order to find some means to fight mutation.  It’s utterly ridiculous, but I confess I was slightly relieved to see a villainous motivation that wasn’t simple bigotry.  As preposterous as Landon is in this story, he at least isn’t a cold, detached CEO sitting behind his desk, plotting to kill mutants for the sheer evilness of it.  He’s merely delusional, which at a minimum, is slightly more entertaining.  None of this means that The Mutant Agenda isn’t terrible as a comic, of course.  The jokes are corny, the plot requires both heroes to be taken out by non-credible foes, and the art is borderline grotesque.  I wasn’t expecting much, and this isn’t exceeding my low expectations.

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