SPIDEY’S WEEKLY WEB-UP

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #629
WRITTEN BY: Roger Stern
DRAWN BY: Lee Weeks
REVIEW BY: Master Filmmaker Mark Mackner

Hola, Arachno-philes!  Here it is, the exciting conclusion to Roger Stern’s 3-part tale “SOMETHING CAN STOP THE JUGGERNAUT”. As some of you know, I’m about to start writing a short film for “AFTER-LIFE” star LAUREL BRYCE, as well as preparing another entry for the PROJECT TWENTY1 FILM FEST with my SICKENING THUD cohorts, but I ALWAYS have time for SPIDER-MAN!!!!!

OK, so last we saw our beloved hero, he was adrift in another dimension, along with Juggernaut.  Here, the current Captain Universe regales his floating captives (and us) with his origin story.  It’s revealed here that this really is a direct sequel to Stern’s “NOTHING CAN STOP THE JUGGERNAUT” story, which was at least 300 issues ago, but has only been a few “months” (!) in Comic Book Time.  You see, a few “months ago”, when Spidey first battled Juggernaut, Juggie ran through an office building in order to get away from our hero.

Unbeknownst to Juggie, Spidey, or anyone else for that matter, this sets off a chain of events that inadvertently ruins some random dude’s life.  This guy, William Nguyen, works in the office that gets destroyed.  As a result of the fight, he loses his job, then his fiancée, then his home.  “Yeah, so your life sucked.  Big deal!”, says Juggernaut.

So poor, broken William Nguyen pulls a George Bailey, and decides to jump off a bridge and end it all.  Here, the Enigma Force becomes Clarence the angel to William.  It saves him, gives him the gift of the Uni-Power, and gives him a purpose and a chance to be a hero.

But William is so blinded by anger and depression that all he can think of is getting back at the one he deems responsible for the state of his life… The Juggernaut.  But, wait!  There’s more to the flashback, and a deeper (pun intended) connection to Stern’s original story.  So, after Juggie destroys Wiliam’s office, his battle with Spidey continues.  Their fight leads them to a construction site, where Juggernaut is trapped in the wet cement of a foundation pour.  His great density sinks him to the bottom, all the way down to the bedrock, where he smashes his way to freedom.

SO THAT’S WHAT WAS CAUSING THOSE EARTHQUAKES IN THE LAST ISSUE!  Yeah.  You thought it was weird to have earthquakes in NYC, but now you know.  Juggernaut caused some plate damage underground when he was coming back to the surface, all those “months” ago.  Now the earth is rumbling around them, and Captain U has the power to stop it, but all he wants is vengeance.

Captain U accepts Juggernaut’s challenge to a “fair fight”, while Spidey keeps trying to mediate.  “Look, none of us sought the power we have.  It just happened to us.  We’re all here by accident.”  Just then, another tremor rocks the city.  Cap seizes the opportunity to rip Juggernaut’s helmet off, but at that moment, the Enigma Force strips William of the Uni-Power and gives it to… wait for it… JUGGERNAUT!!!! EGAD!!!!  Now Juggernaut’s more powerful than ever!  What’s Spider-Man gonna do about this????

Well, not much.  Juggernaut imprisons our hero and William in a force field, ominously informing them that he’ll “deal” with them later.  Then, he disappears into the ground.  So, while Spidey struggles to find a way out of the force field, Juggernaut accepts the call of the Enigma Force and fixes the fractures in the plates that he caused, putting a stop to the earthquakes.  Wow!  Juggernaut’s a hero!  But he’s not done yet…

When he resurfaces, he finds Spidey and William.  “Now there’s just one thing left to settle”, he says, as he grabs poor, defenseless William.  Spidey expects the worst of Juggernaut, and so does William.  The sad schmuck accepts defeat once again.  “You win”, he tells Juggernaut.  “Guys like you always win, Go ahead.  Kill me, if that’s what you want.”

Juggernaut pauses, thinks about everything that just happened and replies, “I’m sorry, kid.  For everything”.  “Well done, Juggernaut”, the Enigma Force intones. It strips Juggernaut of the Uni-Power.  “The Enigma Force is no longer needed here”.

Juggernaut turns to Spider-Man.  “You’re right, Webs.  We’re all here by accident.”  “Yeah”, adds Spider-Man, “but what we do afterwards… that’s what matters.”

William writes a book about the whole ordeal, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit people who are “as down on their luck as I was”.  Good job, William!  So what we had here was a story about responsibility, forgiveness, and finding your purpose.  Very nicely done!

There’s a back-up story here, too, by ZEB WELLS and CHRIS BACHALO.  It’s the prologue to SHED, the LIZARD story starting up in the next issue.  CURT CONNORS is in bad shape.  His long-suffering wife is now dead, he only gets visits with his son, Billy.  He’s now working for PHELCORP INDUSTRIES, a pharmaceutical company.  A dickwad named BRIAN KING is supervising Connors’ latest experiments, and he wants results immediately!  He sure is a pushy bastard, this Brian King, and one could only assume that he’ll end up as LIZARD chow in a few weeks’ time.

Not much to this story, except to establish that Connors is under a lot of stress and pressure, and that the LIZARD voice is calling him to unleash some reptilian fury on all those foolish mammals who make his life difficult.  “You could say we’re all just lizards in monkey suits”, muses Connors, in my favorite quote of the entire issue.

Well, that’s the end of this WEB-UP!  Check back next time, when I review AMAZING #630 (LIZARD!!!!!), ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN & WOLVERINE #1, and SPIDER-MAN: FEVER #2!!!!!  Damn, I’m busy!!!!!  Gotta get back to script-writing!  Send me a message!  We’ll chat!!!!

Master Filmmaker Mark Mackner

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