Comics : Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #5

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This story is part of an Arc: "Venomous"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Spidey's having a bad week. Some unknown foe has kidnapped his Aunt May, clearly showing that they know Peter's true identity. Attempts to find Aunt May lead Peter to becoming the unwitting pawn of the Owl, who tricked him into battling The Vulture and Electro, who had attempted to head out of town with some of the Owl's hard-earned cash. Vulture and Electro ended up paying a high price for their treachery, being captured and mutilated by the Owl's men.

Peter meanwhile has been majorly beaten up, only surviving thanks to the timely intervention of the Black Cat. However, the Cat has been doing some paid work for the Owl, so is Spidey really going to trust her? Well, actually he doesn't have much choice, he's in a power of poop. Specifically, while Spidey was being treated in hospital for his wounds (including a couple of gunshot wounds), one of the staff managed to take a snapshot of the wall-crawler's half-unmasked face, and the photo has ended up in the hands of Jonah Jameson. Oy vey, that can't be good!

In Detail...

Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #5
Oct 2004 : SM Title
Arc: Part 1 of "Venomous"
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  Mark Millar
Artist:  Frank Cho
Cover Art:  Frank Cho
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (SM:MK) #2
Articles: Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Venom

Eddie Brock flies in to town, seeming healthy with no sign of his cancer. He is met at the airport by a lackey of whoever is funding his current job. Huh? Venom working for cash? Maybe his recent sickness has changed his attitude. Maybe he's only killing people so he can earn money to help the innocent?

Back at the Parker Apartment, MJ is receiving "final demand" letters. More on that. Felicity is there too, helping poor Petey, who is still all battered and bruised, but at least he's out of hospital. Of course, when he regains consciousness, he awakes to see his half-unmasked face on the front page of the Bugle. Jonah's offering a mega-reward for anybody who can identify him. Ooops!

Felicity bails, so Peter and MJ talk about stuff. MJ is jealous of Felicity, and it's hitting her confidence. Worse, she and Peter are out of cash. Whew, that took long enough! If I remember correctly, it was Mackie and Byrne who made MJ mega-rich. Of course, that shows how little they understood the way Spidey worked. He ain't the X-Men, for goodness sake! Peter is supposed to always be broke. It's part of his basic character! Anyhow, he's broke now - so that's all sorted.

Since we're making him broke, I guess we'd better have Spidey be unpopular too. So, here we go. Out on patrol Spidey hears people singing the "Spider-Skank" song. What, you haven't heard it? It's pretty simple to figure out. "Wears a dress. Any size..." Then somebody else asks Spidey to hold up his car while he changes a tyre. Heh. Good thing Ock turns up!

Yeah, Ock. Spidey and Ock battle, causing lots of damage. Until Ock finally drops for no good reason. Oh, he has a sedative dart in his back. And the cops are here. Seems the cops had Ock in transit, but Otto spotted Spidey and flipped out. So all that damage is Spidey's fault! Well, not really, but if you squint real hard, and read Jonah's editorial tomorrow, you might believe it.

So all the cops pile onto Spidey. Like, fifty-odd SWAT guys.

Err... yep. Seems they want a piece of Jonah's reward! Let battle commence!

In General...

Last month's issue was long on action and hard-hitting story, but sadly this episode doesn't quite make the grade. There's just a bit too much of the story taken up with "house-keeping" stuff. Sure, MJ needed to run out of cash, and Spidey needed to start being persecuted again. But still, it's all just a bit too functional and mechanical to really be entertaining.

Not only that, but the "Bugle puts price on Spidey's head" thing is a bit worn thin these days, as is the "without Spidey, the super-villains wouldn't do so much harm" schtick. What's more, Millar does make MJ out to be a bit of a wimp. I sure hope that's a temporary thing, since it's rather annoying.

On the other hand, new penciller Frank Cho is a fantastic artist! His Mary Jane is absolutely scrumptious! Plus, he has the decency to draw Felicity's cleavage stopping some above the navel, compared to Mr. Dodson's rather excessive necklines.

Overall Rating...

Let's call it three and a half webs, and hope that it's a temporary lull in the proceedings. Miller has already shown the huge potential within this title, and I'm sure we'll see things head back up again from here!