Characters Appearing: Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man: Spirits of the Earth
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man: Spirits of the Earth
Charles Vess is a critically acclaimed artist that doesn't do regular work, so when he comes to you and says he wants to do a graphic novel putting Spider-Man in Scotland, you let him do it, no matter how silly it sounds and even if you have to have Mary Jane inherit property from a never seen before relative to get them there.
We do get a few pages of Spidey in the city before heading to Scotland.
And now Scotland, and of course we'll start off in a pub.
People are getting chased off their land, and everyone thinks it's fairies except for old Mad Mairi.
That's right: the Mad lady is the one who doesn't think fairies are attacking people.
Peter goes and checks out the castle that is the source of the problem. In his Spider-Man costume, of course.
He does run into some fairies, or ghosts or whatever.
But (and i'm jumping way ahead here) the interesting thing is really what's under the castle.
And the Hellfire Club is interested too.
The crystal under the castle is a source of great power.
The nephew of the owner of the castle realized that they have lineage that traced back to the Hellfire Club, and also realized the potential of the crystal, so he went to tell them about it in return for a promise that he could join the Inner Circle.
It's worth noting that he went to the US branch of the Hellfire Club. We did see in Excalibur #9 that there's a much closer branch in London.
Anyway, if i told you that Spider-Man puts a stop to the nephew and the Hellfire Club's plans, possibly with some magic help from Mad Mairi, would you consider that a decent summary of the issue? It's not a particularly exciting book. The "fish out of water" element of putting Spider-Man in Scotland plays out pretty quickly (he does get stuck in a tree trying to avoid a mob at one point), and while it's nice to have something Marvel Universe-ish in the Hellfire Club to latch on to, their plot is a little vague and, again, not exciting.
Vess had already done some Dr. Strange and Asgardian (Warriors Three) stuff that landed in Marvel Fanfare, so i guess the obvious options for a Marvel Universe story were already done and, and Vess had done some nice covers and a nice back-up (Amazing Spider-Man #277) for Spider-Man. I still feel like he could have used some help coming up with a story, or maybe not tried tackling such a weird setting (although based on the text pieces in the back of the book, it seems the setting came first and Spider-Man came second). I do think the art is really nice.
Mary Jane lets the uncle stay in the cottage she inherited until repair work on the castle is completed, so even if she does sell the property, it won't be right away.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This was published in 1990, but the MCP push this back in publication time to between Web of Spider-Man #50 and Amazing Spider-Man #315. The story is pretty context free, but maybe the idea was so that the flashback to the Hellfire Club's Inner Circle could have plausibly taken place before Sebastian Shaw was kicked out of the Black King role in New Mutants #75. Since it really doesn't matter, i'm following the MCP's lead.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Spider-Man was just recently overseas, so it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility for him to get out of the states.
Posted by: clyde | November 11, 2014 5:58 PM
Talking about fairies in a proper Scots pub? hmm.
Posted by: kveto | May 9, 2018 4:09 PM
It's basically the "dreamy Celt" stereotype, isn't it?
Posted by: Omar Karindu | May 10, 2018 6:50 AM
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