Web of Spider-Man #14-15
Issue(s): Web of Spider-Man #14, Web of Spider-Man #15
This arc features the return of the Black Fox, and it starts by putting Peter Parker in a situation where he desperately needs money. Mrs. Muggins is demanding that he fully repair - not just paint - his apartment (honestly, look at the place. It obviously needs more than a coat of paint. What were Peter and MJ thinking?)...
...and is giving him only two days to do it. I have been wondering why Peter is responsible for fixing the damage (apparently it says so in his lease) or why it's not covered by insurance, or that maybe Mrs. Muggins should sue the kids who did the firebombing. But Muggins reminds us that Peter refused to press charges against the kids, and i suppose that would make things difficult from a civil or insurance perspective.
In addition to the apartment woes, Nate Lubenski is back in the hospital for follow-up tests, and we learn that Medicare isn't paying his bills due to the shady nature of his attack. Aunt May makes some passive aggressive comments towards Peter, augmenting the guilt he already has about Nate.
And the situation at the Daily Bugle is tense. JJ and Robbie are bumping heads over editorial decision, like the vigilante editorial from last issue (there's no mention of JJ reviving Now magazine, which was specifically intended to resolve these conflicts, but we'll see JJ launch Now in the next arc), and city editor Kate Cushing has no love for Peter, so Peter is unable to get an advance.
All this puts him in a situation where he's desperate for some pictures, so when he spots the Black Fox stealing some jewels, instead of stopping him right away he hangs back to take pictures and then even attacks the security guards that show up to stop him, at least in part because he wants his pictures. Definitely crossing a line there.
And it doesn't work out because the Black Fox uses a smoke bomb to escape, obscuring the shots anyway.
That's when Peter turns to the longstanding question of the gold notebook. He trails the Fox to his fence Andre (last name revealed to be Boullion this issue), but finds that the fence is dead. Spider-Man blames the Fox...
...but that's of course ridiculous.
The actual killer is a new character called Chance.
Chance has a number of gadgets, including those wristbands and a helmet that provides him with a 360 degree and overhead view.
And he's working for the Foreigner. Andre was killed because he wouldn't join the Foreigner's intelligence network. Chance's mission statement is "Modern life is dull at best, made intriguing only by risk... and worthwhile only by the ultimate risk." But basically he's a mercenary.
Spider-Man eventually manages to beat him by fighting him in a construction lot where he can sneak up on him from underneath, the one direction Chance's helmet doesn't monitor.
Peter also had a spider-tracer on the Black Fox, and he's therefore able to locate the Fox's back-up fence. Puma had previously declared the value of the notebook to be precisely $37,620, and by Peter's own calculations as of the Time's gold prices this morning, he says it was worth $30,000. But the fence won't give him more than $3,000. I think Peter could have done better, even with the tight timeline, but his guilt over having the notebook in the first place made him think he didn't deserve any more anyway. The amount is enough to anonymously pay Nate's hospital bills, but there's nothing left over to restore his apartment. However, when he returns home, he finds that Mary Jane has paid to have everything fixed.
I tell you, i can't get a contractor to give me an estimate in less than a week. I don't know how Mary Jane managed to get all that done in a few hours. It's an interesting development in the Peter/MJ relationship though.
Chance is potentially an interesting character. I had i think an unfair impression of him that he was a Punisher derivative in the basic "guys that shoot stuff" way that got trotted out a lot when the Punisher became super-popular in the 90s, but that doesn't seem to actually be the case (i may be confusing/conflating him with Solo). Even taking the monitor-helmet into account, though, Spider-Man has a bit too much trouble with him the first time, but chalk that up to the bonus you get during your debut.
Mike Harris's art is kind of stiff, especially in issue #14, but actually gets a little better during the fight scenes in #15. Kyle Baker's hand is obviously very apparent.
Overall, Michelinie seems to be wrapping up a few loose ends to start off his official run here, and it's a decent start. I didn't highlight the Black Fox much in this review, but he's always a fun character.
Before any action starts in issue #14, Peter decides to change costumes because his old one is sweaty.
I'm not sure if that's meant to imply that this issue begins in the immediate aftermath of last issue, but it doesn't seem like it since Peter is fully dressed (wearing the black costume underneath) and having an argument with Mrs. Muggins when the issue begins.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
Chance was kinda cool to me because he would bet on the success of his hits. His real name was Nicholas Powell and he was drawn to look like William Powell, the actor who played Nicholas "Nick" Charles in The Thin Man.
Posted by: MikeCheyne | November 28, 2013 4:18 PM
It was announced that Michelinie was going to use Iron Man and Alpha Flight in this book eventually.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 5, 2014 1:36 PM
Chance is also a good example of David Michelinie seeming to bring in Iron Man-type villains to fight Spider-Man, something that becomes more pronounced when he takes over Amazing Spider-Man down the line.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 14, 2015 6:33 PM
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