Comics : Spider-Boy #1

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

When the government tried to re-create the Super-Soldier experiment, they turned to Otto Octavius and his genius protégé, Peter Parker, to create the ultimate super-human. Though Parker was killed in the resulting explosion, the subject clone, carrying Parker's DNA, emerged with ability to manipulate gravity at will. After General Thunderbolt, leader of the project who took the young clone under his wing, was shot and killed by a street thug, the clone learned that (come on, you know this part) with great power come great responsibility! And thus was born...Spider-Boy!

In Detail...

Spider-Boy #1
Apr 1996 : Review (No SM)
Summary: Amalgam Marvel/DC Crossover
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Karl Kesel
Pencils:  Mike Wieringo
Inker:  Gary Martin, Karl Kesel
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Review
Articles: Spider-Boy

The Amalgam universe is a compilation of both DC and Marvel worlds, taking pieces from each other to create a new whole. In this particular version, Spider-Boy is the resident hero at the Baxter building, helping renowned scientists Reed Richards, Curt Connors, Tom Harper, and Otto Octavius (not to mention Senator Ben Grimm and young Johnny Storm) . The issue opens up with Spider-Boy trying to save the CADMUS project (don't ask me what that means) from the evil symbiote, BIZARNAGE. Bizarnage wants to be so much like Spider-Boy that the only way to succeed is kill the original.

The Amalgamated webhead manages to trap the insane symbiote back in the holding cell it escaped from, just in time to hear that King Lizard has also escaped from his holding cell. (That information is provided by Sue Storm, agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.) Well, Spider-Boy has no other choice than to run to the rescue! His dear friend, the tentacled Octavius, already has the Fantasi-Wagon (Hovercar) ready to save the day. There was some subplot information in the middle, but who cares? It's not like you'll ever read Spider-Boy #2! (Thank Goodness!)

Spider-Boy has just enough time to hit his matter-transformer, turn into his secret identity, Peter Ross, and check out happenings at the Daily Bugle to try and chase down the Lizard. (King Lizard was created from Dr. Connors now-missing arm when an experiment in genetic reconstruction went horribly wrong.) Wouldn't you know it? Pete shows up just in time to find out that King Lizard is wrecking pier 69. Well, it's a shot of his web-gun, and Spider-Boy is off, swinging through town.

As he battles the monster reptile, dodging New York Special Crime Unit's energy blasts as he does so, he notices that the Lizard appears to be growing. Webby remembers that Sue Storm said King Lizard tore through some equipment back at the Baxter building, including a particle accelerator (of course!) After that, it's a quick trip back to CADMUS to get the White Dwarf prototype (that of course turned Spider-Boy to subatomic size in Outrageous Spider-Boy #305!) and shove it down Lizard's throat. He shrinks into nothingness and New York is saved (again!) Switch back to the Baxter Building to see Spider-Boy meet Mary Jane Watson, aka The Insect Queen!!! Continued? I hope not.

In General...

Three things. First, Spider-Man got screwed being 'Amalgamated' with Superboy. Sure, they're both clones, but Superboy DESERVES to be a clone! Spider-Man was cloned purely by bad story management. The feel of the book was extremely spider-tilted, which is a good thing, but was too contrived to be really enjoyable. Second, when you try to create a third universe out of two existing ones, the lines of continuity go to the dogs. I mean, there were gaps and holes as it were with Marvel and DC's respective worlds, but trying to established a separate composite universe with the same continuity is a nightmare. Thirdly, I got all 12 Amalgam titles (as Coup said, 'they saw me coming'), and overall I thought it was pretty average.

Out of all of them, I liked Dark Claw (Wolverine/Batman), Assassins (Daredevil/Elektra/Catowman with Kingpin/Riddler badguy) with Scott McDaniel pencils, and JLX (Aquaman/Sub-Mariner leading an Amalgamated X-Men) the most. Amalgam was supposed to be fun, and I guess it was at one level or another, but the most prevalent element in all the Amalgam titles was contrivance. Everything was stretched to the point of breaking in the midst of being all squashed together. Let's just hope that the Marvel vs. DC saga is over, and everybody can go back to their respective worlds.

Over-average and stereotypical, Spider-Boy gives the reader a weak glimpse of a different world. The attempts at trying to make everything fit make the story second-rate, and the hurry-up-and-explain-it-all attitude of the book steals the chance for any enjoyment. Fun for what it was, which wasn't much. I'll give it two-and-a-half webs.

Overall Rating...

Footnote...

Jonathan Couper says...

Actually Jase, I thought you were a bit hard on this book. Sure, all your comments were fair, but you can't ignore the fact that it sure was a lot of fun. I kept chuckling all the way through as I saw them take the mickey out of everything in sight. When Spider-Boy climbed into his slingshot and fired himself across the city - that was just brilliant!

Of course, it's only funny because it was a one shot throw-away. In fact they even had a laugh about that, referring to earlier issues (including some 'classic' issues). Of course, I only read the Spider-Boy as well. Perhaps the joke would wear a little thin if you had been suckered into buying all of the Amalgam comics. Buying just the one, I felt I got value for my money. Three and a half webs from me.