Web of Spider-Man #1
Issue(s): Web of Spider-Man #1
About two years ago, Marvel Two-In-One was cancelled and replaced with a Thing solo book. Now Marvel Team-Up follows the same path, giving way to Web of Spider-Man. Unlike the Thing, however, Spider-Man already had two solo books (the Thing was a member of the Fantastic Four, but it wasn't long before he was moved off of that team and out of that book as well). It's an interesting move. Commercially, a team-up book has the appeal of multiple characters, and allows Marvel to showcase (or renew the copyright) properties that otherwise wouldn't get a lot of exposure by putting them in a book with one of their most popular characters. Creatively, however, coming up with a new contrivance every month to get two characters to meet up must have been an annoying challenge. It's just somewhat surprising to see creative needs win out over commercial ones. On the other hand, we're just about on the cusp of the period where a new number one issue will result in mega-sales (there was a point where a #1 was considered a kiss of death for a series). Also, the thought may have been that Marvel Team-Up wasn't selling as well as the other Spidey books, so refocusing the series entirely on Spider-Man might have been an attempt at maximizing sales. Although you'd then have to balance that against brand dilution and over-exposure.
More recently, Tom Brevoort made the point that the shift from team-up books was due to the shift from the newstand to the direct market. Direct market readers are more likely to be interested in creative teams and whether or not a story "counts", whereas mass market readers were more interested in characters and catchy covers. So obviously there was a commercial aspect to the change as well. It's also worth noting that in another post around the same time, Brevoort says that without the shift to the direct market, the comics industry would have died off by the mid-80s.
Anyway, on the side of the temporary #1 sales boost, you've got a nice Charles Vess cover and a story that uses the very popular alien symbiote costume.
The costume has recently escaped its imprisonment in the Baxter Building, and has been seen in various issues working its way back to Spider-Man. It arrived at Peter Parker's apartment in Spectacular Spider-Man #100 in a cliffhanger scene that led directly into this issue.
It tricks Peter into wearing it again...
...and then takes control, preventing Spider-Man from going back to the Fantastic Four for help.
Helping fill out an issue that would otherwise have Spider-Man fighting a non-speaking article of clothing for 22 pages...
...we're introduced to a Spider-Man Revenge Squad called the Vulturions. They're all petty criminals who've been busted by Spidey for various crimes (pick pocketing, mugging, selling heroin). While in jail, one of them got friendly with the Vulture, and learned the secrets of his flying suit.
There have and will be a few feints in the direction of replacing the Vulture with a younger model, which misses the point of the character, but i'm not sure if these Vulturions fall into that category, considering that the Vulture himself is scheduled to show up these whippersnappers in issue #3.
In the meantime, Spidey handles them relatively easily here...
...although he's a little distracted and they're all able to get away. He uses one of them to fly himself to a belltower, where he uses the volume of the bells to drive the costume off of his body.
Getting on my soapbox again, there's nothing inherently wrong with Spider-Man using sonics to drive off the costume except that it again reinforces the idea that sonics and fire are the only things that can hurt the symbiote, which wasn't actually the case when Mr. Fantastic drove the suit off of Spidey the first time; Reed uses sonics as a way to extract the symbiote without harming Peter.
Anyway, the bells are loud enough that they're causing major damage to Peter as well, so in what is depicted here as a dying effort, the symbiote reaches out one last time to rescue its former host.
The issue is pretty packed, and that's a good thing. While the Vulturions are on the silly side, they're introduced well. Overall, the issue is really only on the average side and not exactly a great start for a new series, but Greg LaRocque's house style art is pretty good and Louise Simonson is a good writer, although she does have a tendency to script in an overly verbose and expository manner.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Continues directly from the end of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #100, where Peter Parker is reaching for his costume while the alien symbiote lurks in the closet.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): show
The original plot was for the venom symbiote to find the wife of the original Sin-Eater and become Venom, but the idea was rejected because they thought a female villan wouldn't sell
Posted by: doomsday | July 3, 2013 7:55 PM
I seem to remember Michelinie saying that the original idea for the female Venom was a woman whose husband and child were killed because a cab driver was distracted by one of Spider-Man's battles, not the wife of Sin-Eater.
Posted by: Michael | July 3, 2013 11:28 PM
I really liked this story - it was one of the few actual Spider-Man issues I bought not in GN form, partially because of the cover.
I really liked the ending. But, one point here - as much as I dislike Kingsley being the Hobgoblin, as least the premise was that it was somebody who already was in the comic. I really think Venom would have worked better as Lance Bannon or somebody who had already been around by this point, when the symbiote "dies".
Posted by: Erik Beck | May 24, 2015 12:28 PM
I also heard the story of how Venom was supposed to be a woman who lost her husband and child. I also read that one of the main reasons they made Venom male was because they were worried about how it would look to have Spider-Man routinely punching a woman (even if she was superhuman).
Posted by: Bill | May 24, 2015 5:47 PM
I cannot believe that it did not occur to me until all these years later, but now I wonder how Peter got home after the ending of this issue, since he's miles from his apartment wearing nothing but his underwear.
According to the GCD, this issue had some uncredited inking by Vince Colletta...
Looking at some of the scans in this entry, yep, Colletta's work is definitely apparent. The way in which he inked people's hair, is quite recognizable, and that's on display here.
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 14, 2016 11:12 PM
Ben, i've added Colletta to the credits, thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 15, 2016 8:11 AM
A female Venom would have been miles more interesting than Eddie Brock.
Posted by: kveto | June 14, 2016 5:36 PM
I thought there WAS a "female Venom".
Posted by: Jon Dubya | June 15, 2016 12:21 AM
Jon Dubya: There was EVENTUALLY a female Venom, but not after Eddie Brock, Carnage, and the symbiotes from the first Venom limited series came and were around for a while. I think kveto meant that the original concept with a woman would have been more interesting than yet another male villain for Spidey (and Eddie Brock's intro did feel rushed and contrived that Peter/Spidey knew him, even though the readers didn't).
Posted by: mikrolik | June 15, 2016 5:08 PM
What he said above.
Posted by: kveto | June 15, 2016 6:30 PM
"cannot believe that it did not occur to me until all these years later, but now I wonder how Peter got home after the ending of this issue, since he's miles from his apartment wearing nothing but his underwear."
In Web Of Spider-Man 18, he gets caught in an explosion. He's left with just as much clothing as in this issue -
The same thing could be applied here.
Posted by: clyde | November 23, 2017 7:05 PM
Alternately, if there was a phone in the church, he could have called MJ and had her bring a change of clothes.
Posted by: Michael | November 23, 2017 9:42 PM
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