Spidey’s Weekly Web-Up! THE MANY LOVES OF THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!

Mmmmm! Girls!!!!!

WEEKLY WEB-UP

THE MANY LOVES OF THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 (One-shot)

STORY: Chris Yost, Brian Reed, Roger Stern.

ART: Michael Ryan, Nick Dragotta, Ron Frenz.

REVIEW: Master Filmmaker Mark Mackner

Hola, Arachno-philes! Your favorite Spider-Geek is back with yet another installment of the WEB-UP. Lotta Spidey comics came out last week (4!), so I’ve been busy trying to get these reviews out. Plus, I’ve written the script for what’s sure to be another SICKENING THUD cinematic masterpiece since last week, so I’ve been doing a lot of typing. Please bear with me!!!!

So what we’ve got here is a one-shot featuring 3 tales from 3 different creative teams, each highlighting a different lady in the life of Peter Parker. The first tale is the longest, and easily the best. It’s set “several years ago”, so no unemployed Spidey, no Mayor Jameson, no GAUNTLET.  The “love” featured here is FELICIA HARDY, THE BLACK CAT. The story is called “The Root of all Annoyance”.

I’ve always loved Black Cat, and she’s always been my favorite of the ladies in Spidey’s life. She’s the only reason I picked this up, really. And it’s the only story here with any action in it. CHRIST YOST has written a wonderfully humorous, action-packed, and perfectly self-contained story here. You could have absolutely no knowledge of Spider-Man, Black Cat, or any of the rich history of these characters, and still love the hell outta this story. It’s fun, fun, FUN!!!!

The rapid-fire banter between Spidey and Cat is GOLD. They’re not just a team of costumed crimefighters, they’re also a classic comedy duo! Cat just adds so much to a Spider-Man story. Their playful banter, their almost-adolescent flirtation, the fact that Spidey is always trying to stay on the moral high ground, while Cat sees no harm in stealing and commitment-free sex. Their flirtation is so natural and real. And she gets into the ass-kicking when it comes time for it, and that’s why she’s always been a more compelling character to me than, say MJ, who just worries at home while Spidey is off being the hero. That Cat shares Spidey’s thrill of action and adventure, something he could never share with MJ, makes them a better couple. And yeah, I know Cat is always saying that Spidey is nothing more to her than a good time, but I don’t believe that for a second, do you? That’s just a defense mechanism, I think.

Anyhow, in this tale, Spidey rushes to a bank to assist Cat in battling a villain known as THE OCCULTIST, whom the heroes affectionately dub “Magic Guy” (Much to his annoyance). The Occultist crafts a GOLEM out of OFFICE SUPPLIES, to battle the heroes while he raids the vault. Problem is, he can’t have two spells going at once, so once he turns the vault door into butterflies, the golem falls apart. The villain starts casting a spell to transport all of the money out of the vault when Spidey grabs him. Something happens when Spidey interrupts the spell. The money disappears! But where did it go?

Turns out that since Spidey touched the Occultist while the spell was being recited, that the money is magnetically attracted to the Wall-crawler. He just can’t shake it! Whatever he does, it’s stuck to him! So Spidey humorously has to get around the city, with a bag full of stolen money, trying to figure out what to do. But the money actually helps him when he’s attacked by random super-villain THE LIGHTMASTER. The money clobbers the baddie FOR him!

Really funny story, with playful pencils by MICHAEL RYAN. And the Occultist makes for a pretty fun villain, too. A winner all the way!!!! I believe Cat gets her own mini-series next month. Here’s hoping she gets an ongoing someday!

The other stories are fine, but pretty disposable. “Memories”, by BRIAN REED (who’s written some nice work recently, including JACKPOT and WAR OF THE MARVELS), takes us way back in time to tell a story of two little girls, by the names of CARLIE COOPER and GWEN STACY. Their dads are both cops, and they have to spend the day together in Captain Stacy’s office while the dads get some work done. The girls get bored, go through the desk, and play detective with a case file.

It’s cute, and I really dug the art by NICK DRAGOTTA, but the girls so quickly piece the clues together in this case that’s stumped the entire NYPD, that I found it a little hard to swallow.

The final story is ROGER STERN’S “All the World’s a Stage”, featuring MJ. With art by RON FRENZ! Stern & Frenz! This really takes me back. MJ goes in disguise to an open call audition for a play, and the script she does a cold reading with could very well be about her relationship with Peter Parker. Meh. Stern’s recent work on ASM has been a lot of fun, but this, while it might’ve been ok as a subplot in a regular issue of ASM, really doesn’t hold my interest as a story on its’ own.

RECAP:
“The Root of all Annoyance”, the BLACK CAT story.

STORY: A+
ART: A-
COMEDY: A+

“Memories”, the CARLIE COOPER/GWEN STACY story.

STORY: C+
ART: B+
No comedy, really.

“All the World’s a Stage”, the MJ story.

STORY: C.
ART: B.
Again, not really a comedy.

In closing, if you LOVE Spidey and the Black Cat, then you REALLY need to read the 1st story. So go get this! Read the other stories if you’re bored, but you could live without them.

And THAT is the WORD, so sayeth the MASTER!!!!!!

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