Web of Spider-Man #46
Issue(s): Web of Spider-Man #46
For his Webs photobook tour, Peter is sent to the town of Shriver Cove, Massachusetts. It's described as a small, "idyllic" town that would be too small for Peter's tour if not for the fact that it has the biggest television transmitter in the state, a point that only relates to the plot in the sense that it gets Peter to this small town, i.e., no villain is going to try to take over the transmitter or anything. When Peter first arrives in the town, he's attacked by someone going on about hate...
...but Peter's contact, the incessantly movie referencing Jeff Wainright, brushes it off as not that big a deal.
The whole town, he says, is under stress due to a recent expansion of the town, and therefore a lot of people have been going to the Hatros Clinic for therapy.
By the way, it seems Peter drove to Shriver Cove himself, which is unusual. Being a city boy, and one who started web-swinging when he came of age, it's been shown on a few occasions that Spider-Man can't drive (except in his specially built Spider-mobile). Maybe MJ has been pushing him to learn. Anyway, his car is destroyed in a riot that night, so Peter decides he's going to investigate all this hatred after his television interview. So he follows Jeff to the Hatros Clinic and finds out that they are brainwashing the locals.
Seeing the effects on the "patients", Spider-Man decides that he needs a biochemist (the fact that he's a biophysicist is explicitly said to not be close enough; it's the one time in a Marvel comic where having a degree in any scientific discipline doesn't automatically make you a Super Scientist in all areas). Spider-Man calls the West Coast Avengers, and convinces the Scarlet Witch that he's the real Spidey by telling her why the Toad stopped bothering her the last time they were together.
Check out the Vision in full body paint in the background. At least i hope that's the Vision since she's calling him "darling".
Henry Pym actually isn't a West Coast Avenger any more, but the Scarlet Witch is able to contact him, and he heads to Shriver Cove in Rover. But in typical Pym fashion, he gets knocked out...
...and brought to Nekra. Nekra is still working to revive her love, the Grim Reaper.
Luckily for Pym, Spider-Man shows up to rescue him...
...and yes, Pym isn't completely helpless.
And more importantly, he has an antidote to Nekra's mind control potion, which Spider-Man distributes via his web-shooters.
Chasing Nekra as she flees, Spidey lets Pym know that his gadgets are nothing compared to super-strength...
...and then they end agreeing that they feel some pity for Nekra since "no one should be condemned to a life without love".
I don't know much about Howell but this issue is very much in the spirit of his work with Englehart. It's well researched and meticulously footnoted. Like Englehart's work, it also falls flat on characterization. Howell does make an attempt to provide some character for Jeff Wainright (or maybe he's based on a real person?)by having him make constant movie references (it gets annoying quickly, but that may be the point), and there's also a funny scene with the tv interviewer getting bored with the types of guests her show is booking. But for the most part it's pretty dry. And the art is stiff, too; stiffer than Howell's V&SW work, in my opinion. Still, for a fill-in, this is a good effort.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Spider-Man is out of Manhattan, so the timing of this relative to Inferno isn't important, although i do have it occurring during at least the early part of Inferno due to Spider-Man's appearance in Hulk #349 and a number of cascading dependencies that come out of that. The next Spider-book to occur is Amazing Spider-Man #311 which is a proper part of Inferno. The MCP has the West Coast Avengers (Hawkeye's team) appearing here between West Coast Avengers #40-42 (WCA #41 only features Mockingbird's team).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showGrim Reaper, Henry Pym, Nekra, Rover (Pym's ship), Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, Vision, Wonder Man
That very cheesecake-sy Wanda sounds more like Janet Van Dyne in one of her ditzy phases what with her calling Peter "Spidey" so much. Vish and the Witch were never that chummy with the web-slinger.
Given what's coming up in the Wackos' own book, I'm betting that the guy by the pool could be Simon. (Except for the "darling," unless Wanda was feeling a bit frisky at the time!) Actually, it sounds more like Howell meant this scene for Jan and two generic dudes to begin with. It simply makes more sense.
Posted by: Clutch | August 18, 2014 11:06 PM
Clutch, interesting. I wonder if that was even originally meant to be Hank in the background, and that's why he was colored white, until someone caught the mistake at the last minute. And here i was complimenting Howell for how nicely integrated this issue was...
Posted by: fnord12 | August 19, 2014 11:55 AM
I totally agree with Clutch. When I first looked at those panels I absolutely thought it was Jan.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 16, 2015 6:22 PM
I always wondered why they replaced Marvel team up with Web and then made at least half of the web books work just like a team up.
Posted by: kveto | March 27, 2016 5:36 AM
kveto: Probably so that they didn't have to have a guest character if they couldn't think of one, or if they felt like doing a solo Spider-Man story. Now the only restriction is that every story has to have Spider-Man involved (as in no more Human Torch/someone-other-than-Spider-Man team-ups), but of course, now Spidey is juggling three solo books.
Of course, Gerry Conway used the fact that he wrote on two books simultaneously to establish tight continuity between said two books, so it almost felt like one monthly Micheline book and one twice-a-month Conway book at that point.
Posted by: mikrolik | March 27, 2016 10:01 AM
milkrolik: it was more of a rhetorical question intended to point out that many of the Web issues could work as team-up issues but thanks for answering anyway.
Posted by: kveto | March 27, 2016 3:11 PM
kveto: Well, I don't know for sure that's the answer, but it's my best guess.
Posted by: mikrolik | March 28, 2016 12:10 PM
Comments are now closed.
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