Web of Spider-Man #12
Issue(s): Web of Spider-Man #12
The story starts with Mary Jane suggesting what was probably blindingly obvious to Peter David: Peter should just press charges against the people that have been attacking his apartment.
So as Spider-Man he tracks them down and then gives their names to the police.
When the teens temporarily get out on bail, they get the older hitman brother Hector to try to kill Spider-Man. And then they suddenly get a guilty conscience and decide that they need to stop him.
Spider-Man eventually stops Hector, but when he returns to his apartment as Peter (funny scene from PAD)...
...he decides that he doesn't want to press charges on the kids.
It's really a weird ending. I mean, the idea is in there somewhere; Flash's talk with Peter last issue theoretically leads to this. But these kids didn't just drop a stinkbomb in his apartment; they burnt it down, and they also tried to rape a woman. Go back and look at that scene in issue #11; these aren't just misguided kids stealing candy. You don't tell foiled rapists to just keep your noses clean for now on. And that's the woman's father in the crowd of disappointed Neighborhood Watch people above.
It's like, you can see how this might have worked in a two sentence plot outline. But you farm that out to two different writers (three if you count Bill Mantlo's scripting), and two different artists, and have them working on this stuff independently and it gets really out of sync.
There's another thread about Peter getting honored by the Times (not specifically called the New York Times) and given a check for $1,000 due to his heroism, which is really about scooping the Bugle. Robbie and Kate Cushing have been burying the news about their photographer's actions, but when JJ finds out about it he's not very happy and wants to write a big editorial about it. He and Robbie nearly come to blows.
JJ says that even though he's against Spider-Man, he supports Peter's "vigilantism" because Peter doesn't consider himself against the law and was "heroic". Plus, he wants to sell papers. In any event, Peter can use the money, which he uses to put down an advance on his rent. Which he regrets immediately after doing it, since he could have used the money for other more pressing things plus his apartment is currently a burnt out husk.
I do like some things about this issue. Peter David is quippy ("Be it ever so crumbled, there's no place like home", Peter Parker says at one point), and this was cute...
...and i like the final panel where MJ is buttoning Peter's shirt back up while saying things are going to go back to normal. Between the Jean DeWolff story and Peter saying in Amazing Spider-Man #272 that for now on he's only looking out for himself, plus the gold notebook dilemma, the Spider-books have been a little darker; this is a sign that we're going back to the old Peter Parker, and it's a nice subtle touch.
Sal Buscema is unfortunately leaning towards his histrionic side, unfortunately, which doesn't quite fit with Peter David's lighter tone....
...although maybe the problem is really that PAD's tone is wrong for the story. But the message of the story is such a mess we might as well get some comedy out of it.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue opens with what was clearly meant to be the immediate aftermath of the fire that began at the end of last issue. The apartment is still smoking and dripping from the fire hoses, and a fireman discovers the incendiary device that started it. Peter's Spidey costume is still hanging in a closet where Peter's afraid someone will see it. So it was definitely meant to be right after the fire. But that fire was referenced in Spectacular Spider-Man #110, which was the end of the Death of Jean DeWolff storyline, and the "Jean DeWolff case" is mentioned in this issue, so that storyline had to take place between last issue and this one, and i guess the investigation of the house was delayed for whatever reason and the smoke and water is just a lingering effect.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): show
This story was harshly criticized at the time. Bob Ingersoll summed it up in his column:
Posted by: Michael | October 27, 2013 11:13 PM
Was whatever was going on last issue supposed to be something other than an attempted rape? That's the only explanation I can think of: the editors and writers thought they were telling one story, and McLeod drew it in a way that looked like another. Letting the kids off for arson is bad enough, but did the creative team really excuse attempted rape?
Posted by: Walter Lawson | October 27, 2013 11:41 PM
OTOH, Priest did a story in the Falcon limited series where Sam tries to get a girl not to press charges against a drunk attempted-rapist that was remorseful shortly after getting sober. So maybe this WAS Priest's idea.
Posted by: Michael | October 28, 2013 12:04 AM
From the linked Ingersoll piece, written many years ago: "A neighborhood watch program doesn't take the law into its own hands. It's not Charles Bronson [...] It's people watching out for other people and reporting what they see to the police. It's people being involved, so that the criminals will know what they do will not go unobserved and unreported, so that the criminals will not act." Well...in theory. I think neighborhood watches are a good idea too, but certainly, anyone who has followed the news in 2012-13 will have a powerful exhibit for the worst-case scenario. (Not to open that can of worms here. Just alluding.)
It was a muddled and unsatisfying story, no argument.
Posted by: Todd | October 28, 2013 5:32 AM
Peter David admitted years later that this was a lousy story.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 30, 2013 7:13 PM
It was around this time that an unnamed Spider-Man graphic novel by Jim Shooter/Paul Smith was announced.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 1, 2014 5:38 PM
Shooter? Are you sure you don't mean Layton? Because this website seems to be describing the Graphic Novel but it talks about Layton:
Posted by: Michael | March 1, 2014 5:57 PM
My source, Comics Journal #105, says Shooter. Of course, Layton may have replaced Shooter very early on due to Shooter being involved in the New Universe, the Kirby art PR trouble, testifying in the Fleisher v. Ellison lawsuit, etc.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 1, 2014 6:07 PM
Spirit of the 80's? Drugs are the ultimate heinous evil, but rape is just boys being boys.
Posted by: Catherine | April 25, 2017 5:18 AM
Sal Buscema is unrecognizable.
Posted by: The Transparent Fox | May 1, 2018 12:05 AM
According to the credits in the issue, Sal did the breakdowns (aka rough pencils...probably very sketchy) and McLeod did the finishes. The finishing artist credit indicates that McLeod was responsible for a lot of the details.
Posted by: Shar | May 1, 2018 6:53 PM
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