Issue(s): Spider-Man #8, Spider-Man #9, Spider-Man #10, Spider-Man #11, Spider-Man #12
In this arc, Spider-Man and Wolverine team-up to fight the Wendigo. The twist is that it isn't the Wendigo that is responsible for all the young boys in the area that are being killed. The Wendigo appearing here is a benign and cuddly version, and the killer is really a pedophile Mountie. Actually there's a brief double twist, where first we think the killer is one guy, but then no wait it's some other guy!
That's uh, it, except for some half-baked media criticism (allowing for time saving pages of nothing but newspaper clippings) and a cameo by Sasquatch and Puck. Sasquatch is upset that the word "sasquatch" is being besmirched in the press.
Here's some pretty pictures:
The letters being published are overwhelmingly negative. Some people compliment the art, but the sentiment that Todd McFarlane is not a good writer is pretty much unanimous. Since the beginning of this series, the responses to the letters have been written by McFarlane himself, followed by annoying snarky commentary by editor Jim Salicrup, usually just promoting other books or just literally being annoying for the sake of it. By the final issue of this arc, even Salicrup has turned against McFarlane.
Lots of people complain about McFarlane's characterization of the Hobgoblin and Ghost Rider from the previous arc. McFarlane's response is that he's doing things differently, so we have to open our minds or something and forget the past thirty years of comics.
Here is a response from issue #11:
And here's the full lettercol for issue #12:
McFarlane basically does the same thing with the Wendigo in this arc, giving us an iteration of the character that misses the entire point. The Wendigo is someone that got cursed for eating human flesh, which transforms them into a carnivorous killer. Giving us a generic Misunderstood Monster in place of that isn't groundbreaking. It's literally the opposite. AND it's bad continuity, even if McFarlane doesn't care about that.
Speaking of bad characterization, McFarlane's Spider-Man is still a torturing asshole. People complain about that too.
This despite the fact that Spider-Man says he doesn't like the methods of the 90s violent heroes.
Some of the art in these issue is nice as pin-ups, but not for storytelling purposes. And the story is atrocious all the way through.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: This story takes place over at least 11 days. Wolverine, Puck, and Sasquatch's appearance are all context free. Wolverine wears both costumes in this arc, because he hilariously tears off his first one at one point.
So the costume isn't a clue for placement.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showJ. Jonah Jameson, Mary Jane Watson, Puck, Sasquatch, Spider-Man, Wendigo V, Wolverine
Wait... THAT Alan Sepinwall from Pine Brook, NJ?
Posted by: gfsdf gfbd | October 13, 2015 3:58 PM
Gah - these are worse than I remembered.
By this point, the awfulness of Todd's writing was pretty much universally-regarded. So much so, that it really shocked me that Spawn did as well as it did shortly after.
Granted, his mood fits his own characters far better than an established character like Spidey who has always been the antithesis of this style of writing.
His comments about characters being "scum" or "good" and getting their just deserts is indicative of the rightwing revenge and torture fantasies Frank Miller spawned with his Batman work, in which everyone is either black or white, with nothing in between. The Image guys seemed to read Dark Knight and nothing else, as far as influences.
Unfortunately, this lack of nuance infects comics to this day.
Posted by: Bob | October 13, 2015 4:09 PM
The Wendigo can't be misunderstood or cuddly. Did McFarlane have NO editor overlooking his work at all?? This entire book never would have existed under Shooter's watch.
Posted by: Bill | October 13, 2015 5:05 PM
thanks for printing the letter page and criticisms (and Todd's snarky answers just confirm what ive always thought about him). I just assumed they would be as gushy as the letters he used to get on ASM. I remember reading those letters and assuming I was the only one who disliked what Macfarlane was doing to the genre..
Posted by: kveto | October 13, 2015 5:27 PM
I had the first part of this storyline when I was a kid and never could find the other issues until I was in high school/college. Might even be the first comic where I ever saw Wolverine.
Speaking of that: does this count as the story where Wolverine officially went back to his blue and yellow suit?
Posted by: Red Comet | October 13, 2015 6:12 PM
"If every writer showed a character in the same vein as he previously appeared, then there would never be any changes in comic books, Julian."
Ha. Ha. Ha. Haaaaaaaa...
Posted by: Morgan Wick | October 13, 2015 6:26 PM
Red, Wolverine officially went back to his yellow and blue costume in Wolverine #50 I believe.
Posted by: Bill | October 13, 2015 6:31 PM
Oh,man...how did Toddy Mac go from that wonderful depiction of Wolverine in Hulk #340 to the utter shite we see here?!?
Posted by: Vin the Comics Guy | October 15, 2015 8:52 PM
I was about to say that first letter was extremely constructive, thoughtful, and kind while denouncing Todd's writing and no wonder! It's by Alan Sepinwall!
For those who don't know Alan is the TV critic for www.hitfix.com. I normally shy away from critics as they tend to be shrill and perverse in the glee they take from tearing things down. But Alan is eggcellent, he's quite possibly the best TV reviewer in the business. He certainly has the respect of those in the business.
Never knew he was a comic geek, but in hindsight it makes total cents.
Posted by: JC | October 22, 2015 10:36 AM
So, Wolvy just took off for Canada and decided to pack along a costume he hasn't worn in a decade?
Posted by: Erik Beck | January 13, 2016 11:54 AM
I'm going to characteristically "defend the faulted and blame the faultless" as per norm.
I understand where Todd is coming from with this.
He wanted to do a Spider-Man/Wolverine team-up story. He thought Wendigo would be a good choice for "villain". I don't think he had any familiarity with the character beyond the cover to Wolverine's first appearance. He thought to add depth to Wendigo and went down the natural/obvious/tired path of "monster is misunderstood".
I'm not saying Todd is blameless for this. If I was writing a comic and I chose a villain I would try and read at least ONE comic book with them in (for that record, are there any Wendigo appearances that could lead McFarlane to believe this was a valid avenue to take Wendigo?). And outside of Wendigo, there's still plenty of problems with the story. But I definitely completely understood Todd's creative process here.
The problem lies mostly with editor Jim Salicrup. He either could not manage talent or he was grossly incompetent (and to make the latter seem a bit less of an out-of-nowhere insult, this is the man who wrote most of those Spidey Super Stories that you have seen a billion ridiculous panels from on internet forums). A quality editor - a Shooter, a Stern, a Gruenwald - would have stepped in and said "Todd, here's the thing with Wendigo...". Salicrup didn't because he either didn't know about/research Wendigo or he didn't want to be responsible for upsetting one of the biggest and most lucrative creators working for Marvel. He didn't even need to throw the idea out, he could've just suggested Todd acknowledge Wendigo's new characterization somehow or offer a quick vague explanation.
With that said the story is "bland and mediocre" at best and "boring and annoying" at worst. The first part comes across as preachy in it's message, Spider-Man feels irrelevant throughout and the story did not need to be 5 parts long. Especially since bizarrely the most action in the entire thing is one fight between Wolverine and Wendigo in Part 3 that lasts for a sum total of 4 pages.
Still better than Spider-Man vs. Wolverine though.
Posted by: AF | February 27, 2016 4:12 PM
Re: The letter pages.
Ugh! You can only imagine how MacFarlane would be if his peak popularity came during the Twitter age.
Unfortunately, as a pubescent, I caved to hype and bought issue #8. That issue had LESS story than an issue of Marvel Comics Presents. And "Friendly-Punisher" Spider-Man quickly irritated me. What a rip-off!
By the way, I didn't bother with the rest of this junk, so, judging by the review here, I can assume that the news reporter who was inexplicably narrating a majority of #8 had no further purpose or relevance, yes?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | May 13, 2016 10:52 PM
The reporter, Anna Brooks, appears in all parts of this story. But "no further purpose or relevance" pretty much describes everything here.
Posted by: fnord12 | May 15, 2016 10:30 AM
Those are some of the most unprofessional letters pages I've seen in a comic. Todd's responses to his detractors make him look bad, yes, but it's Jim Salicrup who goes one step further. You never want to show your customer the behind-the-scenes drama in what is supposed to be a functional work environment and for Salicrup to insert his own counteropinions, he does just that. I don't disagree with what he says and I think he had no real alternative (DeFalco being DeFalco, McFarlane being the "IT" guy, and Salicrup wanting to stay editor of a top-selling book), but it's still bad business.
Posted by: Jonathon | November 18, 2017 2:11 PM
Alan Sepinwall was a regular contributor on the rec.arts.comics hierarchy in the 90s so the letter probably is from him. If you do a google groups search you can still find his old posts.
Also, Jason Bone from Ontario could be Canadian comic artist J.Bone who worked on Alison Dare and Jingle Belle as well as often inking Darwyn Cooke's pencils.
Posted by: Garuda | November 19, 2017 4:11 AM
Those letters... OUCH.
Posted by: KombatGod | December 11, 2017 8:42 PM
Comments are now closed.
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