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Thursday October 15, 2009 10:42 pm

Marvel Comics Review: Web of Spider-Man #1




Posted by David Torres Categories: Reviews, Marvel Comics

Webof1Rating: *** 1/2

I began collecting comics in the mid-80s.  I remember that my first issue of Uncanny X-Men was #188 and that my first issue of the Avengers was #250.  My first Spider-Man comic was Amazing Spider-Man #264, but I also received around that time, the premiere issue of the new monthly Spider-Man comic book, Web of Spider-Man.  This all took place during the hype of Spider-Man’s black costume which was featured prominently in this first issue.  The suit was a symbiote, meaning that it was alive and it wanted to fully take over Peter Parker.  In this issue, Peter fights back and we see the famous bell ringing scene that had Peter ripping the costume off of himself.  An homage was made in Spider-Man 3.

The original Web of Spider-Man was a great book and for a while was my favorite of all the Spidey titles on the stands. The title is most noted for the artwork of Alex Saviuk who worked on the title for almost its entire run.  So Web of Spider-Man holds a very special place in my heart and even if Kaine wasn’t making an appearance in this new first issue, I would still have picked it up for old time’s sake.

So how was the first issue of the new Web of Spider-Man?  It was very good and I will be collecting it for the time being to see if the quality of material published keeps my interest. 

This issue contains three separate stories which will be the format from here on out.  The stories will focus on Spidey, his supporting cast, his villains, and Spider-Girl - the character that just won’t go away.  After appearing in her own monthly book twice and in Amazing Spider-Man Family, Mayday makes her way to Web of Spider-Man with the men who created her, Tom Defalco and Ron Frenz as the creative team.  May’s story here in this first issue was pretty good; more on that later.  First let’s look at the featured story dealing with the original Spider-Man clone, Kaine.

When we last saw Kaine, he was choking Spider-Man at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #608.  This issue does not pick up where we left off in there, but instead veers off and shows a moment in Kaine’s past when he was being held in a prison where a group of doctors look on at his cellular degeneration that is occurring.  Kaine is unconscious and is hallucinating.  He’s hallucinating that he’s seeing Ben Reilly, the Jackal, and the woman he loved and killed, Louise. 

Like Reilly, Kaine is upset that he is a clone; that he is not human.  Even worse is his cellular degeneration, which has been wrecking havoc on his physical appearance his whole life.  “Ben” is trying to convince Kaine to embrace life and try to be happy.  The Jackal comes in and tries to convince him as well that he should embrace life, but as more of a superior being.  That his cellular degeneration is not him dying, but is in fact him being reborn into something better. 

During the Spider-Man: The Lost Years mini-series, we saw that Kaine met and fell in love with a woman named Louise Kennedy.  Kaine killed Louise during this time period and we see another version of himself kill this Louise.  Feeling guilt over this murder, Kaine decides to “let go” and die.  However, another hallucination of Peter Parker arrives and encourages him to live.  Kaine awakens and the doctors at the prison put him in a cell.  Kaine is now a new man with a new lease on life. 

A good story, by veteran comic book writer J.M. DeMatteis.  Val Semeiks’ artwork is okay.  Semeiks’ Kaine looks a lot like Alan Moore.

The Spider-Girl story picks up where it last left off.  Spider-Girl is chained up and is being taken by some gangsters to the Jersey Pine Barrens in order to dispose of her body.  One of the gangsters looks a lot like long-time Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort by the way.  Funny.  She breaks free and escapes.  The gangsters are attacked by what is believed to be the Jersey Devil.  The Jersey Devil is actually a large bat that looks like DC’s Man-Bat.  Spider-Girl finds them and also finds a rosary at the scene.  The Jersey Devil seemingly attacks Spider-Girl and carries her off.  Spider-Girl wakes up still in the Barrens and is picked up by a priest who wears a rosary around his neck.  Obviously he’s the Jersey Devil.  We end with Fury the Goblin Queen kidnapping April Parker the clone of Spider-Girl.  Wasn’t collecting Spider-Girl so I had to do some research on her.  She shows up earlier in the story with the idea that Spider-Girl is dead and that she’s going to take her place.

Okay story.  I lost interest in Spider-Girl a while back.  I like the idea of May’s clone living with her and her family as a twin sister.  She thinks Spider-Girl is dead and plans on taking the role of the real Spider-Girl at home before she gets kidnapped by Fury.  Lots of possibilities with May and April battling it out to be the one true Spider-Girl. 

Our last story deals with a character I haven’t thought about in years: Frog-Man.  The last story I saw with him was back in Amazing Spider-Man #266.  Another issue from my early days of comics.  The Frog-Man wanted to be Spider-Man’s sidekick and they continue with that story here.  But the Fabulous Frog-Man gets a taste of his own medicine when The Tenacious Tadpole wants to be his sidekick.  Spidey is able to sneak off and leave Froggy with his new “sidekick”.  A cute story with artwork geared more towards kids. 

So if you’re an 80s kid like me and you love revisiting your youth through comics, pick up this issue.  It has some very good stories and some good artwork.  Love the Clone Saga like I do?  Check out the Kaine story.  J.M. DeMatteis does a great job.  A good start and looking forward to more.

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