Amazing Spider-Man #348
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #348
It starts with him getting (politely) kicked out of the Cassada house where he has been boarding. They don't like the crowd of reporters hanging around outside now that he's an Avenger (he's actually posing for the Cassada kids in that scan above). Sandman still leaves in a good mood, proud to be an Avenger.
Peter Parker, meanwhile, did not have his ego stroked enough from getting invited to join the Avengers, but Mary Jane won't oblige him further.
Your wife has things going on in her life too, Peter.
Peter actually diagnoses himself with Delayed Stress Syndrome after the fight with Venom in the previous arc. So i guess i will cut him some slack. But he makes the most of that slack, loafing around the Daily Bugle and then, after getting a tip from Ben Urich about a potentially odd shipment going through the Brooklyn Railyards, which he chooses not to act on, instead swinging by the university and basically just not doing anything. Newspaper Spidey is in full effect.
Sandman, meanwhile, is approached by someone that recognizes him as an Avenger, and tells him about the shipment, too. When Sandman confirms that something is going on, he gets a kid to call the Avengers. Spider-Man finally decides to check out Urich's tip, so he shows up first.
A group of hijackers are attempting to steal army equipment. They are using gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets...
...so i thought maybe Sandman had stumbled into a military training exercise and was going to get admonished for not checking it all out before attacking.
More weird stuff:
Then the Avengers show up.
The hijackers are easily dealt with. And it's not really a training exercise or anything like that. But Sandman still does get admonished.
Captain America was really going to say "to be more careful", but Sandman blows up and quits the team before he can. Hopefully Cap was going to spell it out in more detail, too. Because what is an Avenger supposed to do when a group of terrorists are hijacking military equipment? Call the police?
Sandman leaves thinking dark thoughts (see the References). Peter gets home and finds that MJ is already asleep, so he continues to feel sorry for himself until she roles over and mumbles "missed you".
Also, the Black Fox is back in town.
This was cute, if a bit light on content like most of the Michelinie Amazing Spider-Man run. But it seems a waste to bring Sandman into the Avengers only to have him immediately leave over a dumb misunderstanding. It feels more like the Spider-office claiming the character back than any kind of organic storytelling decision. Or maybe it relates to Larry Hama leaving the Avengers book. Either way, happens way too quickly and for a reason that doesn't make much sense in-story (you really think Cap would let a former major super-villain walk away steamed off over a simple miscommunication?).
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place after Avengers #329 but before Thor is split from Eric Masterson in Thor #431. After this year's Spider-Man annuals, it's possible for Sandman to show up as an Avenger again, but he shouldn't appear as an Avenger between this issue and those annuals.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showBen Urich, Black Fox, Black Widow, Captain America, Carlos Cassada, Evan Swann, J. Jonah Jameson, Mary Jane Watson, Michael Cassada, Quasar, Roberto Cassada, Rosa Cassada, Sandman, Sersi, She-Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, Vision
Things get complicated, fnord. As we'll see, Sandman's return to crime is a ruse. But this isn't Sandman's only appearance as an Avenger- Sandman has other appearances as an Avenger in Avengers 332-333, Captain America 385, Avengers Annual 20 and Avengers West Coast Annual 6. I don't know how you want to handle this, fnord. It might be complicated placing all those issues before this issue. OTOH, it's possible that Cap explained things to Sandman after he was done pretending to be evil, and some of those appearances take place after Sandman's appearance in the Spider-Man Annuals. (Arguably, none should take place between this issue and the Spider-Man Annuals but it's possible that can be handwaved.)
Posted by: Michael | September 19, 2015 12:20 PM
The training exercise thing would have at least made more sense for Cap to get mad, and would also have satisfied the "don't want to piss the charter people off." As it is, Cap getting all bureaucrat seems a little out of character--Cap's a boy scout but he also believes in doing the right thing and isn't hung up on protocol--maybe having an UN representative chew Sandman out for wasting the team's time?
Posted by: MikeCheyne | September 19, 2015 1:12 PM
Ugh. I look at that oversexed curlyhead and I can't believe that we were stuck with this bizarro version of MJ for years...
Posted by: Piotr W | September 19, 2015 4:10 PM
I believe that the Spider-Man office objected to the use of Spider-Man and Sandman as Avengers, and so they yanked them out of it. Larry Hama probably quit the Avengers book because of the editorial interference.
Spider-Man is not a reliable Avenger at first. He doesn't take part in Operation Galactic Storm and doesn't appear in Avengers again until the first issue of Busiek's run, where he quickly excuses himself. The editors are clearly against his use as an Avenger.
Posted by: Steven | September 19, 2015 6:05 PM
I can understand the SM editors being opposed to that idea, Steven. Personally, I think it kind of damages the core of concept of Spidey as a hard-luck, everyman hero with bad press. Such a concept doesn't work anymore, if Spidey joins the rich and prestigious group like the Avengers, with their UN charter, money and security clearances.
I really think that making SM and Wolverine Avengers was one of the Bendis' greatest mistakes.
Posted by: Piotr W | September 20, 2015 4:36 PM
Glad I quit the Avengers when I did. I liked them bringing Sandman in and to just yank him out and not have it happen in an Avengers issue is just ridiculous editorial interference.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 19, 2015 8:25 AM
Comments are now closed.
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