Spectacular Spider-Man #150
Issue(s): Spectacular Spider-Man #150
Trials in comics are often disappointing - writers need to watch more law based television dramas; it wouldn't necessarily make things more accurate but it would make them more interesting - but this one in particular is frustrating since it's been given such a spotlight with so little development. First of all, it's not exactly an interesting premise - Robbie is being charged with being afraid to tell the authorities about crimes he witnessed 20 years ago. That may have technically been against the law but it's not a burning topic of debate, and we know that Robbie was legitimately afraid and has repented for what he did. So there's no interest in the subject itself. Regarding the trial proceedings, Robbie originally wanted to plead guilty, but his family convinced him not to. However, it's since been implied that he's not been mounting a serious defense. But isn't that his lawyer's job? It is said in this issue that he rejected an attempt to get his case thrown out on a technicality, but that's barely mentioned in passing and doesn't explain why Robbie lost on the merits. The only portion of the trial that we saw was Tombstone - the monstrous albino mobster - denying that he would intimidate his good friend. There's no explanation as to why the jury might have believed him or what other evidence or testimony was given.
We'll later learn that the judge is in the pocket of the Kingpin, so that at least explains why the case went the way it did. But you don't see Robbie's lawyer Cynthia Bernhammer complaining about irregularities (except about the sentencing date getting moved up) or anything that might have given readers something to hang onto here. The purpose of this plot is to get Robbie in jail alongside Tombstone...
...but if that's all Conway wanted to do he could have skipped the trial altogether and had it happen off panel. Instead it's been a building subplot for several issues across multiple titles and the main story for this issue. And yet there's just no meat to it.
After the trial, there's a kerfuffle between tabloid photographer Nick Katzenberg and Joe Robertson's son, Randy. Peter steps in and "accidentally" breaks Katzenberg's camera. But J. Jonah Jameson - actually the Chameleon - supports Katzenberg's efforts despite the fact that Joe is a part of the Daily Bugle family.
Later, Spider-Man engages in some pretty mixed up reasoning and decides to blame the verdict on the Kingpin (his instincts are right, i guess, since the Kingpin did rig the trial, but that's how Spidey gets there).
But before he can make it to the Kingpin's building, he hears a scream, and when he goes to investigate he briefly sees a werewolf.
Spider-Man can't bring himself to believe that he saw a werewolf.
A Man-Wolf, sure, or maybe a Werewolf By Night he could believe. But just a werewolf? Impossible!
Reporter Joy Mercado later spots the werewolf (without realizing what it is) climbing into Glory Grant's bedroom window. Glory wakes up to find a naked and bleeding Eduardo Lobo laying on her bedroom rug.
She bandages him up without getting any rational answers to her questions, and they soon get to making out.
Spider-Man does eventually make it to the Kingpin, but only after seeing the latest massacre of the Kingpin's men left behind by the Werewolf, so that's the topic that he raises. The Kingpin has been spending all his time obsessing about Daredevil, so he isn't actually aware of what's been going on.
Kingpin calls in the Arranger after Spider-Man leaves, but we don't see the conversation.
With two books to work with, Conway is understandably stretching out to true soap opera style plotting. That's not necessarily a bad thing; it's nice to see all these plots simmering. But with the main plot being just the lackluster reaction to Robbie's verdict, it makes this individual issue seem uneventful. It also doesn't seem fair to people with a subscription to just this book that subplots here will be concluded in Web of Spider-Man or vice-versa.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 228,340. Single issue closest to filing date = 222,500.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place after Web of Spider-Man #50 (Nick Katzenberg is working for the Bugle and JJ is really the Chameleon); it's actually said to have been "weeks" since JJ began acting suspiciously, but due to the number of Spider-books and the compressed timescale we'll have to take that with a grain of salt. The Lobo brothers story continues in Web of Spider-Man #51, and that takes place before Amazing Spider-Man #316-317, which takes place before Fantastic Four #326.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAmanda Robertson, Arranger, Ben Urich, Betty Brant, Chameleon, Cynthia Bernhammer, Eduardo Lobo, Glory Grant, Joe 'Robbie' Robertson, Joy Mercado, Kate Cushing, Kingpin, Lance Bannon, Martha Robertson, Mary Jane Watson, Nick Katzenberg, Randy Robertson, Spider-Man, Tombstone
This issue has one of the most awkward recaps I've ever seen. MJ asks how Robbie could be going to jail and Peter proceeds to recap for MJ events that she was there for, like he thinks that her question means she forgot them.
Posted by: Michael | September 22, 2014 7:56 PM
Aha! But the verdict wasn't due to the trial! It was due to the Kingpin! Thanks, Michael, fixed it.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 22, 2014 8:47 PM
Interesting you should say comics writers should watch more legal TV to know how to show trials. The writer of this comic, Gerry Conway, would later become a writer and producer on Law & Order.
Posted by: Chris | September 27, 2014 2:12 PM
So, a werewolf climbs into the room of a woman he knows and she wakes up to find a man she knows naked on the floor. So this is where the writers of True Blood got that idea from.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 25, 2015 12:13 PM
Alas, Erik, I am not familiar with True Blood, so your quip flew past me by far. But your observations are good. We can tell, without shadow of doubt, that Glory, at this point, is already madly, madly in love with Eduardo Lobo. No-questions-asking in love. He is not only handsome, charming, sexy, well-spoken, seductive, gorgeous, soft-spoken, gentle, tender and dashing (and ripped), he masters the gallant-hero-saves-helpless-damsel-in-distress trope beautifully. Most notably during Inferno.
Also, thanks for pointing out when Joy Mercado sees a werewolf climbing into Glory's room. This was probably when she first start investigating about the nature of Glory's significant other.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | August 25, 2015 1:57 PM
Well, if you ever get the chance, watch the end of Episode 9 in Season 1 and you'll think, "Hey, maybe they got that idea from Spectacular Spider-Man #150!"
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 25, 2015 2:17 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|