Thursday, 27 August 2009

Archaic Spider-Man Reviews: Number 62

Wow, sorry guys. This is a whole week late; but my scanner is up and running again now, and just in time for the final showdown with the Kingpin. Peter's been promising that he will kill Wilson Fisk for a couple of issues now, and I continue to approach this concept with a mixture of disbelief and amusement. Still, he looks pretty into it at the start of slot 1 (Back in Black part 4)...

WHY ISN'T HE WEARING ANY CLOTHES? Let's just hope he's not that naked after the jump.

The basic idea here is that it isn't Spider-Man who is going to have vengeance and kill Fisk, but rather Peter, so he's taken off the mask and shirt. I just wish his black trousers didn't make him look so much like shadowy naked guy in the picture above. The actual fight with Fisk is pretty cool, because it isn't really two people fighting, more Peter beating the shit out of Fisk. He's eerily silent for the first few clashes, taking Fisk apart with lethal precision. Peter then makes the same point I made last week about Fisk having no real capabilities beyond his massive ego, though he puts it more eloquently than I. Anyway, the fight culminates in a pretty badass moment

'You keep talking like a bitch, I'm gonna slap you like a bitch'

Let's just ignore the fact Peter seems to be picking Fisk up by his skin and just enjoy this emasculation of an evil man. This could only really get better if it finished with a soul punch.

Well, Fisk lies bloodied and defeated on the floor. Now all that remains is for Peter to finally take vengeance like he's been saying, right? Of course not, because this is shaping up to be a typical redemption story - hero falls, hero starts violating his own rules, hero approaches ultimate violation of said rules, hero has a change of heart, hero throws Emperor Palpatine over the balcony into the core of the Death Star... Anyway, here's how Peter rationalizes not killing Fisk.

Yeah, I totally believe you.

That's most of the first slot right there in that fight, so there's not really much to review. It ends with Pete and MJ watching over May as she sleeps. They're running out of money, but I've run out of comic, so time to give Eddie Brock cancer!

Slot 2 is The Last Temptation of Eddie Brock: Part 1. Eddie Br
ock? I thought he was dead from the terminal cancer he got way back when he sold off the Venom symbiote. In fact, in that arc (the first from Marvel Knights: Spider-Man) Brock slit his wrists! He should be dead twice over. Instead, he's just in a pretty, creepy splash page with a skewed panel order.

I could get into this after all.

Brock is crazy, or tripping from his medication, or part of Venom is still hanging around. Whatever the reason, this is quite a cool concept, because Venom's voice is like an aspect of Brock's mind now; compelling him to act and giving him strength. He spots MJ, who has been visiting May, who thanks to the God of comics just happens to be in the same hospital. MJ has been feeling survivor's guilt for not taking the bullet that hit May. A fair point really, and it would certainly please Max, who really hates her. I simply don't get her appeal.

Meanwhile, Peter does something filling before going to visit Madame Web. There's a clever moment here where Peter explains the whole situation to Web and asks her to perform a kind of séance for May. Web is a precognitive psychic, and has already agreed to his proposal; so talking to her is shown to be basically unnecessary. That said, I bet she sure is lonely; she seems to spend her days sitting in her Spider-Chair, waiting for people to turn up and ask for help. Poor lady.

In the last few pages, Brock's inner Venom has been browbeating him into attacking the Parkers. Brock has ordered a black Spidey suit to wear, for no real reason. What, do companies just mail out costumes to anyone that wants one? If this kind of service exists, why does Peter often complain that his suit smells bad or is falling to pieces? He can just buy a new one from the Gap!

Slot 3 is the conclusion of Sandblasted, and Spidey, Sandman and a random pothead are tracking down an impostor Uncle Ben using the helmet they found last ish. There's a nice odd-trio vibe to this, as they compete to be the best characters from Scooby Doo and then squabble about directions. It's not like they have to track down a killer before an innocent man gets electrocuted by the state... Speaking of which, Sandy's dad is getting his date with the chair fast-tracked to that same night. Barring some kind of Deus Ex Machina, it seems hopeless for him. *Snigger*.

They track the Ben killer to Midtown High, and the helmet asks Pete what kind of justice to administer, to which he replies 'poetic justice'. I just know this is going to go wrong. Sandy and Spidey run into the building and find the target; the school principle. All is not as it seems, however, as the 'principle' soon shifts into Sandman, and then Spider-Man 2211. Turns out, this is the Chameleon from 2211. Still, i'm sure he's an ok person really. Oh shit, I made him mad!

The rare shiny red Gyarados!

I'm not sure if this makes me want to play Pokémon, Starcraft or Warhammer. Needless to say, Chameleon 2211 is some kind of big red... thing, but he's only in this form for a few panels before Peter decides it would be a good idea to yank the helmet onto the alien's head and order it to administer justice. And... he's exactly right, because this somehow swaps the Chameleon with Sandman's father just before the electric chair was activated. That's such a bullshit, pulled-out-of-ass ending to a reasonable strip! How can the helmet teleport people? When was this explained? Why didn't the helmet just teleport Spider-Man to the school in the first place? Come to think of it, what will Spidey do with the helmet now? It's far too useful to not use again.

Actually, what was the Chameleon 2211's motive for all this? Was he just trying fuck things up for a few people in a really minor way? Framing one lowlife crook and then hiding for a while is not a grand master plan. This just leaves too many questions unanswered and unanswerable.

Well, that was AstonSpid numbah 62. Next Issue, Spidey protects May from Eddie Brock, discovers the truth about Miss Arrow and takes on the law. Till then, g'night.

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