Daily Bugle #1-3
Issue(s): Daily Bugle #1, Daily Bugle #2, Daily Bugle #3
The way things start, i thought the story was going to have more of a superhero-related theme. We see reporter Ben Urich and photographer Angela Yin investigating a meeting of mob bosses who are trying to deal with the problem of super-powered villains, both criminal boss types like Kingpin and Hammerhead and the more flashy super-villains.
My first thought was that you'd think this was something they'd have worked out by now, but i guess the fall of the Kingpin wasn't that long ago and you could argue (in fact, i'd like it if someone had said!) that the Kingpin's ability to become the top crime boss was because of his ability to navigate the reality of superpowers in a way that others weren't.
My second thought, or rather assumption, was that this was going to be the main plot of these three issues. But this idea is never mentioned again. The main thing to come out of this particular scene is that a politician is spotted hanging with the criminals, and J. Jonah Jameson later uses one of Yin's photos to force the politician to resign. Yin is upset that they only manage that (instead of being able to take down the criminals), and that turns out to be one of the Hard Lessons that people new to the media have to learn.
The only other super-powered thing is that Peter Parker appears in this series. He's not a focus of any of the plots, but he follows Betty Brant around (over her protests) in order to protect her while she talks to dangerous mob people. He is also reported to have rescued people from a burning building.
JJ later investigates that burned building and a series of others, hoping to blame them on Spidey, but instead learns that a corrupt real estate mogul is trying to clear space for new development. JJ was friends with the mogul, and when he finds out the truth he throws a fit at a fancy party and engages in some property damage, and that prevents the Bugle from running the story while they deal with the legal fallout (which Foggy Nelson is said to be managing). So instead the Bugle has to print a headline touting Spider-Man's rescue efforts, to JJ's chagrin. The JJ portion, which takes up the majority of issue #2, is the weakest plot, in my opinion, in part because it covers ground we've seen before in Spider-Man books.
There's also a story that isn't related to anything super-powered but is actually somewhat undermined by the fact that it takes place in the Marvel universe. Reporter Ken Ellis is approached by a guy who says he knows about "illegal aliens" being smuggled into the country. Ellis takes the guy seriously; i.e. he's not an obvious crank. But it eventually comes out that the guy means space aliens.
And i mean, sure, that would be funny in real life. But in the Marvel universe, maybe Skrulls are using Venus as a launching site to stage an invasion. Who knows!?
I found this funny:
But it turned out to be the beginning of a plot where reporter Charlie Snow, old and burnt out, has been turning to drink. It follows the old adage that if someone is seen having a drink in a comic, they are definitely an alcoholic. Snow eventually overcomes his funk.
All told, it's a well done series and a nice little break from Marvel's traditional super-stuff (at a time when a lot of Marvel's super-stuff wasn't all that good). I wouldn't want all of Marvel's stuff to be like this, but i definitely think there is room in the Marvel universe for a variety of genres and styles, and this is a good example of that potential.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Peter Parker is around and apparently acting as Spider-Man (it's confirmed that Peter Parker was the Spider-Man who dealt with the fire when he later shows up as Peter smelling like smoke); it's also later said that he's fighting the Vulture "all over Brooklyn" (no word on whether it's the old or de-aged version). That seems to keep this from being placed during the period where he was retired and replaced by Ben Reilly. The MCP have this roughly between Amazing Spider-Man #406-407, and #407 is when Ben Reilly takes on the Spider-Man name and a modified version of his costume. Peter had retired prior to that, but i guess the idea is that Peter could still have been using the costume for emergencies. I'll follow the MCP to avoid pushing this significantly back in publication time but it might have fit better before any of the Clone Saga stuff started.
Betty Brant is kidnapped and missing for "days" during these issues.
This is Charlie Snow's first published appearance but he's meant to be a veteran at the Bugle so it would be ok if he appeared elsewhere first.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAngela Yin, Ann Macintosh, Ben Urich, Betty Brant, Charlie Snow, Glory Grant, J. Jonah Jameson, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Ken Ellis, Spider-Man
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