Characters Appearing: Mary Jane Watson, Maxie Shiffman, Mysterio, Spider-Man
Web of Spider-Man #90
Issue(s): Web of Spider-Man #90
Sean Howe has some interesting information in his book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story regarding these anniversary issues. This is quoting Lou Bank, who was Marvel's liason to the direct market shops:
Right after the Spider-Man 30th anniversary went on the schedule... a memo came out... detailing the anniversaries of all the other characters... That, I believe, is when editorial let out a collective growl. It was year after year of anniversary after anniversary.
This didn't hurt Marvel directly, since they sold to the shops, who just had to stick the unsold copies in the back-issue bins. But "we were killing the stores that were feeding us". Banks escalated this data up the chain, but nothing came of it.
At least with Spectacular Spider-Man #189 the comic behind the hologram cover was an organic continuation of the ongoing plot in that book; it was timed to be the dramatic conclusion to the Harry Osborn Green Goblin plotline. The story in this issue is pure filler. It's basically 40 pages of Mysterio illusions.
The story is that Mysterio has gone to Maxie Shiffman, Spider-Man's agent from when Spidey was a celebrity in the days when he first debuted. Maxie's wife had recently died, and Mysterio created an illusion of her to help him cope with the loss, in return for helping him mess with Spider-Man. Mysterio tries to make Spider-Man believe that he's still a celebrity. Spidey disbelieves the illusions and is confronted by Mysterio directly.
And it's all over pretty soon after that.
We do get a good Venlactus out of the story.
At one point Mysterio makes a comment referring to the first time Spider-Man cracked his helmet, and it makes it sound like he's been crazy ever since then, just re-living his own illusions.
I don't really know what Mysterio is talking about. I just did a check of all Mysterio's previous appearances. The first person to crack his helmet, believe it or not, was Debbie Whitman in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #51. Deathlok smashed his helmet in his last appearance, Spider-Man #23, and maybe that's what he's talking about, since i don't like the idea that he's been crazy for some long period of time. Maybe Mysterio has just been so out of it that he doesn't remember who cracked the helmet. But the story might actually be referring to Amazing Spider-Man #311, which did end with Spider-Man having cracked Mysterio's helmet.
Anyway, this story is about what you'd expect from a pointless anniversary issue, with Mysterio providing illusions of various Spidey villains and the like, with decent art from Alex Saviuk. But that doesn't make it ok.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I remember being pleasantly surprised by this issue. The end reveal about Maxie's wife was genuinely touching, and the story makes some good points about living in a fantasy world rather than reality.
Posted by: TCP | March 10, 2016 12:13 PM
My last comic book.
I'm afraid I won't read entries beyond this point:-(
Posted by: kveto | March 10, 2016 3:21 PM
Kvetch, nooooo! I know the 90s onwards are when comic books go downhill - and I must admit I'm find it hard to read these entries - but its quite interesting seeing how bad things get.
Posted by: JSfan | March 10, 2016 6:31 PM
Posted by: gfsdf gfbd | March 10, 2016 6:59 PM
Yeah, keep reading and commenting! I was only buying PAD's Hulk and X-Factor at this point, and some of DeMatteis' Spectacular (and I think had started buying some Vertigo stuff)... But other than that, I was getting less and less impressed by all the other comics and the direction they were going in. Sometimes I might buy one other Marvel comic if it looked good, sometimes none. Reading through Fnord's reviews of 1992 comics I only barely remember, it's nice to see this was not a youthful error that I could now be embarrassed by. Instead, it was an absolutely correct response to the bad stories, bad art and bad editorial decisions flooding the line. So keep reading, Kveto! I'm kind of looking forward to Fnord tearing apart some of the 90s stuff we have coming. :)
I remember picking this issue up in the shop, flicking through and deciding not to buy it. (I'm not really a big fan of "Mysterio tries to drive Spidey mad" stories apart from the original Stan stuff, but I'll take TCP's comment as a recommendation.)
Also, I thought the foil covers thing was an annoying fad, so it's good to see Lou Bank's quote above suggests I was not alone.
Posted by: Jonathan | March 10, 2016 7:09 PM
Quitting in '92 was probably a wise choice. I'm of the opinion that 90s comics started skyrocketing toward the bottom in 1993.
If nothing else I recommend coming back for 2000-2004. Marvel got good again for a few years while Jemas was there.
Posted by: Red Comet | March 10, 2016 7:33 PM
Kveto, sorry to see you go and hope you'll still drop by. At this point, the only Marvel Comic I was getting was Hulk. I was buying some Vertigo, DC, and Dark Horse comics though. Eventually I would come back with Heroes Return for some additional years before giving up the ghost with Disassembled.
I am still posting some comments on series I never picked up, explaining why I didn't buy them, but that doesn't sound proper. So I'll try restricting my comments only to Hulk. Still, I'm visiting this site a lot less.
Posted by: Chris | March 10, 2016 10:03 PM
We're still a few years away from my drop off point (The one-two punch of Clone Saga and Heroes Reborn), but I think I'll stick around past that. I like the history and commentary even if I don't like the comics being covered. Kveto, it'll be a shame to see you go. Your comments are always appreciated and I would be interested in getting your perspective on some of the stuff this generally terrible decade has to offer. At least stick around for Nightwatch, Force Works, and Marvel Edge.
Posted by: Robert | March 10, 2016 10:30 PM
For this entry alone, I notice two comments already about doing what I did in real time: cutting back to PAD/Hulk comics at Marvel. (I did give The Flash a shot when I got into the workforce between my freshman and sophomore years.) Vertigo's comics were much more interesting overall, during my college years. My wife would curl up and read them with me, so what closet comics nerd says no to that?
Posted by: Cecil | March 11, 2016 12:04 AM
Guys, he's saying he won't read entries beyond this point. You probably know him better than I do, but that doesn't necessarily mean he won't be reading older entries.
Posted by: ChrisW | March 11, 2016 12:20 AM
It's entirely possible that Mysterio isn't being entirely honest, he is a bit of a showman after all.
Posted by: Max_Spider | March 11, 2016 3:28 AM
Kveto, I'm going to miss you. We were both posting back in 2011 when this site had far fewer commenters. Sorry to see you go.
Posted by: Michael | March 11, 2016 8:02 AM
@Cecil, i don't pay super-close attention to traffic. Looking at my stats page, traffic has basically held steady since last year, which is as far back as it goes. There are spikes in traffic that probably correlate to Marvel movies coming out, but a lot of that is people trying to hotlink directly to images from message boards, so we never actually see those people. Over the years, traffic and the number of commenters have gone up but i am sure that is due to search engines indexing the site better as opposed to content.
@Kveto, i interpreted your comment the way ChrisW did. But if you really are leaving, thanks for sticking around for so long. As Michael says, you were one of the first and i've enjoyed your comments. At least stop by every so often to leave us a new top ten list in the forum.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 11, 2016 9:30 AM
Not even to read comments on the amazing Maximum Carnage story?
Posted by: david banes | March 11, 2016 2:21 PM
Not even to read comments on the amazing Maximum Carnage story?
"Listen all you fools - don't you know that Carnage rules?" I personally cannot wait for the fun to begin. It's '93, right? Hopefully fnord will get to it before the end of the year. A lot of comics during this period, though. So much quantity and so little quality.
Posted by: Robert | March 11, 2016 3:32 PM
kveto: I hope I didn't offend you with our minor sparring in the Deadly Foes of Spider-Man comments. I know how one of the fun parts of the Marvel Universe is trying to connect seemingly separate events into a cohesive whole.
If you really are leaving, I wish you well in all your future endeavors.
Posted by: mikrolik | March 11, 2016 4:20 PM
Maximum Carnage is actually not that bad. At it's heart it's a massive super-brawl between Spider-man bad guys and a team of cool random Marvel heroes including Iron Fist and Cap.
Posted by: Red Comet | March 11, 2016 6:26 PM
Cecil, you were married in college? And you call yourself a comics nerd? :)
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 12, 2016 11:26 AM
Hi guys, thanks for the support. Sorry to have been so unclear. I was just trying to make the point that I'd delve into the older issues because the ones after this have no meaning to me. As much as I love fnord's reviews on all comics, I find my eyes scrolling past these 90s comics. As good as our host is he can't polish these turds (nor would he want to).
I'd originally written a much longer post on the issue itself but my computer kept freezing and losing the post so i just put in a curt remark. (And even more embarrassingly, I realise that I must have miscalculated as I must have still been buying Cap America as I'm familiar with storylines which fnord hasn't covered yet.)
I really didnt intend to turn this thread into something about me. I appreciate that you guys appreciate my comments. Its really sweet. But save your praise for the guy who makes this website a great thing. I find it a perfect resource, so fnord can't get rid of me so easily:-)
Posted by: kveto | March 12, 2016 8:24 PM
LOL @Eric I'll get there, one day!
Posted by: Cecil | March 13, 2016 12:14 AM
The story in this issue is pure filler.
But can't that be described of the entire series as a whole?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | March 13, 2016 12:52 AM
kveto: OK. Thanks, fnord12 for making this such a great site!
I liked this issue, but I'm a fan of Mysterio, and I like Alex Saviuk's art; I think he's fairly underrated as a Spider-Man artist. Those things being kept in mind, I'm pretty OK with 40 pages of Mysterio illusions.
But I also liked bringing back Maxie; it was interesting to see a character we never really thought about and probably never expected to see again.
Not saying the issue is a masterpiece, but I enjoyed it due to my personal opinions.
Posted by: mikrolik | March 13, 2016 11:10 AM
Comments are now closed.
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