Posted by dave, April 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm · No Comments ·
The Prophecy of Madame Web!
Story: Denny O’Neil
Art-Team: John Romita, Jr., Joe Sinnott
Letters: J. Novak
Colors: B. Sharen
Originally published: November 1980
Here’s what I said when I saw the cover: “Ooooh, Madame Web! Awesome.” That cover and character design are seriously great.
The issue starts with Rupert Dockery, scumbag, instructing some goons to kidnap a lady and kill anybody that gets in the way. This is a new low, even for Dockery.
We then cut to Pete Parker, who is hanging with Deb Whitman as she heads to meet with a psychic, one Madame Web. Pete dismisses Web as “a garden-variety fraud” and leaves Deb to go to a meeting at the Globe. When he gets there he finds the Globe under lock down — nobody allowed into the editorial department before 5PM. Being the dastardly rule-breaker he is, Peter scoffs at this, changes into his Spidey duds, and heads on up anyways.
Up in editorial, Dockery is meeting with some bigwigs and introduces KJ Clayton, reclusive publisher of the Globe. She claims that she has finally come out of hiding in order to turn the paper over to Dockery. Just then, the masked goons we saw Dockery chatting with earlier burst into the meeting room. They move to grab Clayton, as Dockery had previously instructed them, but are interrupted by Spider-Man crashing through the window.
Spidey is able to beat the heck out of most of the gunmen, but one manages to get away with Clayton. Luckily, someone drops a clue — a flyer for Madame Web, the same psychic Deb Whitman was going to see! Hmmm….
Spidey naturally heads straight over to Web’s apartment, and discovers that Madame Web is fucking cool:
Anyway, Madame Web wasn’t kidding about the psychic bit. Though blind, Web is able to identify the flyer Spidey has as belonging to a student of hers, Belinda Bell, who is a model and actress. She also says that Bell was in danger, and complicit in deceit involving a powerful woman named Katrinka Janice Clayton. Aha!
So, as I’m sure you can guess, Dockery hired Bell to pretend to be the mysterious KJ Clayton, who he knew nobody had seen before. Pretending to be Clayton, she would turn the newspaper over to Dockery. Dockery then also orchestrated Bell’s kidnapping (and eventual murder) to hide the evidence. Dockery’s last bit of nastery, we learn, is to wipe out the real KJ Clayton. When all is said and done, he will be in control of the Globe.
Luckily, though, Web also points Spidey in the right direction for finding everybody he’s after. He manages to save both Bell and Clayton and capture Dockery.
In the aftermath, KJ Clayton retires and shuts down the Globe and, as a consequence, Peter is out of a job. As he considers his options, Peter receives a phone call from Madame Web, who congratulates Spider-Man on his success! Yes, her psychic powers have informed her of Spider-Man’s secret identity and Peter’s phone number. She also tells him, though, that his money troubles will soon be over — and we cut to J Jonah Jameson attempting to call Pete and offer him a job, only to receive a busy signal!
This issue was great, dude. Good, fun story, excellent pacing and I really, really love Madame Web. The art is such a drastic step up from that Marvel Team-Up 101 issue I read, that it’s sort of shocking. And finally, I’m glad Dockery is finally out of the picture; I never really enjoyed his character much, and it’s nice to see the books moving forward.
Note: This Madame Web is not the same as the Madam web that appeared in that one Hostess comic.
buy on amazon.com: single issue or dvd collection
Categories: Years, 1980, Ratings, 5.0, Books, Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1), Credits, Bob Sharen, Credits, Denny O'Neil, Credits, Jim Novak, Credits, Joe Sinnott, Credits, John Romita Jr., Characters, Madame Web, Spider-Man, Characters, Spider-Man / Spider-Lizard (Peter Parker)
Posted by dave, April 22, 2010 at 4:24 pm · No Comments ·
“To Judge a Nighthawk!”
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Jerry Bingham
Inker: Mike Esposito
Letterer: Diana Albers
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Originally published: January 1981
The art in this is a really mixed bag. A lot of panels are very uninteresting, especially the backgrounds, and look like they’ve been crapped out really quickly. Some, though, are surprisingly bad-ass. Most of this bad-assedness seems to be coming from Esposito’s inks, which are really picking up the slack from Bingham and Sharen.
Kyle Richmond, a.k.a. Nighthawk, gets mixed up with a robot version of his dead girlfriend. It’s all some elaborate revenge plot masterminded by the actual dead girlfriend. See, everyone thought she died when Kyle was drunk driving 12 years earlier. It turns out, though, that she had just been paid off by Kyle’s dad after the accident and had been plotting this elaborate, dumb revenge ever since.
Unlike most of these issues, Nighthawk and Spider-Man don’t have a misunderstanding and fight. Instead, Spidey is just kinda helpful and they actually work together the whole time. The issue wasn’t especially good, but at least this change was refreshing. It made the whole thing a lot more readable.
but this issue at amazon.com
Categories: Years, 1981, Ratings, 3.0, Credits, Bob Sharen, Characters, Daredevil, Credits, Diana Albers, Credits, Jerry Bingham, Credits, John Marc DeMatteis, Books, Marvel Team-Up (Vol. 1), Credits, Mike Esposito / Mickey Demeo, Characters, Nighthawk, Spider-Man, Characters, Spider-Man / Spider-Lizard (Peter Parker)
Posted by dave, April 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm · No Comments ·
Writer: Chris Claremont
Co-Creator: Frank Miller
Embellisher: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: A. Kawecki
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Originally published: December 1980
The 100th issue of Marvel Team-Up! Spidey and the Fantastic Four! Surely it must be amazing? I hope… This issue was apparently inspired by Ithacon ’79. Given the quality level the last time a story was inspired by a con, I’m not optimistic.
…and I was right to feel that way. The issue was bad enough that it took me almost a month to get through it and review it. Suck. The formula was exactly the same as usual for Team-Up: misunderstanding leads to heroes fighting, they make up, team-up, and triumph. I doze off.
Update: a lot of people really seem to like this issue. Maybe I’m crazy? I still think it’s bad.
buy on amazon.com: single issue or trade paperback
Categories: Ratings, 1.0, Years, 1980, Credits, Annette Kawecki, Credits, Bob Wiacek, Credits, Carl Gafford, Credits, Chris Claremont, Characters, Colossus / Proletarian, Credits, Frank Miller, Characters, Human Torch (Johnny Storm), Characters, Invisible Girl, Characters, Karma, Books, Marvel Team-Up (Vol. 1), Characters, Mr. Fantastic, Characters, Mystery Menace (Alicia Masters), Characters, Professor X, Spider-Man, Characters, Spider-Man / Spider-Lizard (Peter Parker), Characters, Storm, Characters, Thing, Characters, Wolverine
Posted by dave, March 28, 2010 at 11:04 am · No Comments ·
The Book of the Vishanti
Co-Creators: Denny O’Neil, Frank Miller
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Ben Sean
Originally published: 1980
Despite the title on the cover (and, subsequently, this post), this actually is an Annual for Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1. I’m not sure why they left out “the amazing” on the cover. It just seems weird.
This book features Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom, neither of whom I’ve read about in awhile. We open in Latveria, at Doom’s castle, where Doom’s assistant Dilby has finally, after 10 years of research, built a magic-science interface. He created a device that either is called or creates or gives him access to something called “the Bend Sinister”. That, my friends, is a cool name. This device transports a person to the dimension of the Dread Dormammu, and Doom sends Dilby on a little trip to said dimension to test the Bend Sinister out. Once there, Dilby is basically existing inside a nightmare. He meets Dormammu.
Later, Doom is hanging out in his castle watching Nazi movies, “to learn from them”. Ok. Dormammu interrupts him with news that Dilby has some new powers and is building magic robots with them, or something like that. I’m not exactly sure why, but Doom and Dormammu seem to have some sort of plan.
Some time passes I guess and we check in on New York City, where Dr. Strange is chilling out with a book. His studies are interrupted by the delivery of a mysterious, huge, glowing crate. Inside is one of those magic robots that Dilby was building, and Doc Strange accidentally activates it using his Eye of Agamotto. It turns out it’s a killer magic robot. The robot beats the snot out of Wong and Strange.
With little hope of defeating the killer magic robot, Strange ditches his body and takes his astral form out to look for help. This seems like a really good plan, except that there’s a whole bunch of astral demons outside his house, and they proceed to beat up his astral body! Dude can’t catch a break. Strange can’t ditch this and leave in an astral astral body (I assume), so his only recourse is to send out what he calls “a psychic flare”.
Now, this being a Spider-Man comic, the flare is naturally observed, though rather circuitously, by Peter Parker. Pete finds a reason to ditch the first-year chem class he’s teaching and heads out to Doc Strange’s rescue. He finds just enough time to break a date with Deb Whitman, though, because that’s how Peter rolls. Pete eventually arrives at Strange’s Sanctum, fights off a couple gargoyles, and shoots webbing right into the face of one of Dr. Strange’s neighbours (what a dick), and finally he also fights off some weird yellow demons. This bit had some decent action. Spidey finally makes his way inside. He finds Wong, who tells him that Dr. Strange has been abducted.
Meanwhile, Doc Strange is tussled up under the command of Dilby. It turns out creating the Bend Sinister requires a human sacrifice; that sacrifice is to be Strange.
This is where things get stupid. For some reason (lame gimmick writing) Dilby is holding Strange a CBGB, the punk club. When Pete arrives there, Dilby somehow manages to brainwash everybody, including the band Shrapnel, into marching around and chanting “Bend Sinister”. I guess that’s part of the ritual to create the Bend Sinister? The parade of people grows as they pass through different parts of Manhattan, until the whole crew ends up in Central Park. Then there’s a lot of business about the moon and a huge crystal and eldritch this and darkling that.
Spidey goes in for the attack, fights killer magic robot, and ends up smashing the robot into the giant evil crystal. That pretty much saves the day!
There are some totally sweet panels in this. I don’t totally understand the credits on the issue, but I assume it was penciled by Frank Miller. A lot of it looks awesome. The issue had good pacing and had me interested up until the last act or so. Overall it was still good, I just wish the ending had been tighter.
Categories: Years, 1980, Ratings, 4.0, Books, Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual, Credits, Ben Sean, Credits, Denny O'Neil, Characters, Dormammu, Characters, Dr. Doom, Characters, Dr. Strange, Credits, Frank Miller, Credits, Joe Rosen, Spider-Man, Characters, Spider-Man / Spider-Lizard (Peter Parker), Credits, Tom Palmer
Posted by dave, March 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm · No Comments ·
And Machine Man Makes 3
Writing: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Jerry Bingham
Inks: Mike Esposito
Letters: Joe Rosen
Colors: Ben Sean
Originally published: November 1980
I liked Machine Man in the MTU Annual I just read, so I was excited about this team-up between him and Spidey, fighting Baron Brimstone and Sandman. By the way, I don’t know if Sandman’s costume will ever change again, but I certainly hope so. His current costume is sooooo bad.
Baron Brimstone breaks himself and the Sandman out of prison. Brimstone has a vendetta against Machine Man, and he’s bringing Sandman along for the ride. When Peter Parker hears of the prison escape, he involves himself. From there this takes a very stale, very predictable course for Marvel Team-Up: Spidey and Machine Man encounter each other; fight for no reason, allowing the bad guys to escape; put aside their differences and team-up; and finally, beat the bad guy and save the girl. So many issues of Team-Up play out exactly like this (including the Annual I just read, though at least that was a little longer and more interesting).
So, unfortunately, the good times with Machine Man that I was hoping for ended up fairly stale. Ho hum.
Categories: Years, 1980, Ratings, 2.0, Characters, Baron Brimstone, Credits, Ben Sean, Credits, Jerry Bingham, Credits, Joe Rosen, Characters, Machine Man / Robot X-51 (Aaron Stack), Credits, Mike Esposito / Mickey Demeo, Characters, Sandman, Spider-Man, Characters, Spider-Man / Spider-Lizard (Peter Parker), Credits, Tom DeFalco