Amazing Spider-Man #311
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #311
That's a legitimate effect from the early stages of Inferno, where inanimate objects are coming to life. But you'll notice someone reporting Spider-Man's location in that panel above. And from this point on, Spider-Man is swept into an attack from Mysterio, and this will result in Spider-Man thinking that even the lion attack was part of Mysterio's illusions, at least for now.
From the lion fight, Spider-Man goes right into a fog covered alley where two tourists named Tommy and Bev...
...are being held up by a mugger named "Peanuts" Mulroony that Spider-Man has put away before. And while Spider-Man is confronting Mulroony, the bricks on the wall pull together to form a giant.
During the fight with the giant, Tommy is killed.
This sends Peter on a spiral of guilt. While he's in his guilt phase, he goes to school, but leaves class early. He then bumps into a suspicious and poorly drawn Doc Connors...
...and then goes to work as a research assistant where it turns out that Dr. Evan Swann, who was exposed as having not even completed high school last issue, is still working at the university, although he's been stripped of tenure and other privileges. Mary Jane eventually gets Peter out of his funk by pointing out that Peter is a hero even out of costume when he helps an agent against a disgruntled actor. Peter then returns to the alley where he fought the giant, finds no evidence of a fight, remembers the fog, and realizes it was all an illusion. He then tracks down Mysterio.
Mysterio allows McFarlane to have a little fun...
...but the fight is over very quickly with no twists. Spider-Man just finds a circuit box that is generating the special effects and punches it.
And as i mentioned above, for now Spider-Man assumes that any weird stuff he's observed in the city was because of Mysterio, but we know that's not the case.
The book is full of big honking panels with minimal dialogue and often rough art. Some of the splash panels are nice to look at, but there's no storytelling here. Michelinie is making decent use of Spider-Man's rogues gallery, but aside from the set-up we saw for the Chameleon, there's no long term plotting going on (the situation with the Lizard will come to a head in two issues). Even the thug Mulroony could have used some establishment a few issues back, since when Mysterio is guessing how Spider-Man finds him, Michelinie has him say, "It wasn't Mulroony, was it? I should have known. But I couldn't resist adding an element of familiarity to make my ultimate illusion more believable.!" Except, for us readers, there's nothing familiar about Mulroony, since this is his first and only appearance (and i was more focused on trying to figure out if Tommy and Bev were meant to be real people).
One potentially interesting thing is that, as we've seen before, Mysterio's mist cancels Spider-Man's spider-sense (and also dissolves his webs). And throughout Inferno, including this issue, we see that Spider-Man's spider-sense doesn't react to any of the demonic stuff. I don't think that's ever explicitly explained, and i suppose a clear enough explanation is that for some reason the demons just don't trigger it. And Spidey's spider-sense does operate against non-demonic threats during Inferno. But i wonder if there wasn't meant to be an idea in there that got lost, that Mysterio's mist may have caused lingering problems for the spider-sense, which would have made this issue a little more impactful as the first part of Inferno for Spider-Man.
After Kraven's Last Hunt, people wrote in to complain that a story that ran across Spider-titles was a problem for people who lived in areas where maybe only Amazing was distributed, for people with mail-in subscriptions, or just for people who didn't want to be buying 3 Spider-books a month. And they promised that they wouldn't do that again. But with Inferno, we're more or less back to that format. It's not exactly a single story that runs through all the issues, but for the Green Goblin/Hobgoblin portions, which make up a lot of the Spidey Inferno issues, it's pretty close. Here, for example, is the set-up for the coming Goblin story that begins in Spectacular Spider-Man #146.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is still early in Inferno. It is mentioned that there have been weird things going on in the last 24 hours, but it's subtle enough that Spider-Man is able to dismiss the attack of the lions as part of Mysterio's plot. Per the end blurb, Spider-Man appears in Spectacular Spider-Man #146 next.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Spider-Man Legends vol. 2: Todd McFarlane Book 2 TPB
Inbound References (4): showAnne-Marie Baker, Evan Swann, Harry Osborn, Jason Macendale, Liz Allan, Lizard, Mary Jane Watson, Mysterio, Normie Osborn, Spider-Man
I never liked this issue- Mysterio should know that innocents have died in Spider-Man's battles before, so why did he think that one more would have made such a difference? A better writer would have made use of Peter's history with Captain Stacy, Gwen Stacy, etc.
Posted by: Michael | August 19, 2014 3:28 PM
Damn, that's some phoned-in art. Either that or McFarlane fancied doing whaever he liked and DM had to script around it. Whatever. It's poor.
Posted by: JSfan | August 19, 2014 3:51 PM
When did Mysterio become an idiot? He sets up this plot of trying to guilt spider-man by making him responsible for a death then tells Spidey the whole damn plot as soon as he shows up. Spidey even calls him out on it when Misty tries to guilt him with a ghost. "Fool me once..."
I think JS fan hits the nail on the head. A talented writer like Michelne must've been handicapped by MacFarlane drawing whatever the hell he wanted, cohesive story be damned. It the only explanation that makes any sense.
It worked for Ditko and Stan but sure don't work here.
Posted by: kveto from prague | August 19, 2014 4:02 PM
I don't know, kveto- Michelinie has said in interviews that Amazing was his dream job but he didn't like writing it with a married Spider-Man. Maybe that affected his writing.
Posted by: Michael | August 19, 2014 4:05 PM
IMO, a good writer can work around the script, not have the script determine how he works with it.
Posted by: clyde | August 19, 2014 4:29 PM
Mysterio is a hard character to write. The key to Mysterio is misdirection, not the fishbowl head costume. Mysterio has no superpowers. What he has is his MIND and his technical skills.
Ditko understood this which is why Mysterio in ASM #24 is very different than the Mysterio as he first appeared in ASM #10. He didn't show much variety in ASM Annual #1, but that wasn't a real Mysterio story, it was just a greatest villains showcase. Unfortunately, most writers afterwords merely repeated the fishbowl costume and used unimaginative plots.
Posted by: Chris | August 19, 2014 10:17 PM
Also seen in this issue is an elevator in the Empire State Building eating a janitor. A similar scene takes place in The Uncanny X-Men #239 where the elevator eats some tourists.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 20, 2014 2:15 AM
You have Hobgoblin listed as a character appearing, not Jack O'Lantern.
Posted by: Michael | August 20, 2014 11:13 PM
Thanks, Michael. I'll probably do that again, but i've fixed it here.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 21, 2014 7:32 AM
Comments are now closed.
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