Comics : Spider-Man: Legend of the Spider-Clan #1
This review was first published on: 2004.
Classic, Ultimate, Re-Launch, Future Alternate Universe, Spider-Girl, Spider-Woman (x3), Translated Manga... don't we have enough Spider-Man variants? Apparantly not. Marvel wants American Manga Spider-Man, and it looks like they're gonna get it.
Spider-Man: Legend of the Spider-Clan #1
Dec 2002 : SM Title
Spidey was launched into the Marvel Mangaverse with Marvel Mangaverse: Spider-Man. If you need a refresher, then take seventeen seconds and go back and read what happened in that seminal issue. Not that it made any sense to me.
We at SpiderFan begged Marvel never to write a follow-up to that terribly trite and turgid tale. But hey, it's not their job to listen to us (no really). Mega-Corps like Marvel have artistic integrity, and if they think that pre-teens are gonna drop their hard-earned money on a title, then they have an obligation to print it! So here we are. And here we go.
Some white-heared chick is being tracked into a dark city alley by robots with malicious intent. She's cool, she's hip, she's rescued by Spider-Man. She doesn't want a rescue. She bops Spidey on the nose (no mean feat) and heads off.
Cut to Uncle Sensei Ben doing the "Use The Force" thing with "Grasshopper" with Peter "Luke" Parker. Todays lesson is "Spider-Sense". Which in Manga-Land also seems to double as a Demon-Sense (a la Blade, or similar).
Field day at Peter's school. They're all heading on a bus to help rebuild an aquarium which was destroyed by The Hulk. Yeah, it's only issue #1, and already you need to go buy the other titles to get the full story. Peter's science teacher (in charge of the field day) is none other than Doctor Octopus. Without arms. Whatever.
And the girl who sits beside Peter on the bus is a new student. With white hair. Yeah, the one he nearly rescued last night. Pierced, belly-flashing, tough-girl. It's Felicia Hardy. She's just moved schools from... wait for it... "Macchio High". Ralph, I presume. I wonder which one!
So, the field day is to go help rebuild an aquarium. I'm sure that a bunch of horny high-school kids are gonna be a great help on a building site. Some element of suspension of disbelief was always necessary when reading comics, but we're talking suspending from cranes type disbelief here.
Cut to Manga Daredevil. Moody martial arts type. And back.
Doc Ock raves about how the tax-payer shouldn't have to pay to repair aquariums. Good thing Oscorp is there to find the repair. But really, they're only doing that so that they can have a secret look for some buried item... presumably of great value.
Meanwhile, Felica has lead Peter away from "Area G-5" where they're supposed to be... doing whatever they're doing. She finds a huge crater, which contains a safe, which holds a hidden amulet. Since she knows the combination to the safe, presumably it's not co-incidence.
Osborn turns up, with robots. Yeah, like the ones in the alley. Peter does the "I was just looking for the bathroom, here in this deserted area of rubble, far away from the main building" routine. Felicia has split, with Peter's backpack, which holds his costume.
That night, she turns up at his window, and they chase over the roof-tops. She kisses him. She has the amulet. She's not really a student, she's a crook, she left school a couple of years back.
Cut to Osborn, he's a mystic high-priest as well as a techno-whiz.
Back to the rooftops. Daredevil turns up and slices Felicia in half. Seems she's not a student, or a crook, she's a demon. Osborn's robot-ninja turn up. Peter has the amulet. A drop of his blood forms on it, and he is wrapped in a mega-powered symbiote type costume. Wow.
Dark techno-arts, robo-ninjas. Demon schoolgirls, symbiotes, demon hunters, mystic amulets, mystical martial arts masters, Ock, Osborn, Spidey, Felicia. It's just too much. Hey, I like chocolate, and pizza, salt and beer... but you wouldn't see make a chocolate pizza and pour salty beer on the top. Well, probably not.
This comic fails in precisely the way that Ultimate Spider-Man didn't. When Bendis took on Ultimate, he had real understanding of the characters. He knew exactly what he wanted to do... what he wanted to keep, what to discard, and what to re-invent.
Legend of The Spider-Clan can make no such claim. It copies without regard, and imitates without understanding. There's no attention to detail, and no sense of control. Manga, and the whole psycho-techno-mystic-magic-martial arts scene can certainly be cool - and Spidey is cool too. But creating is more than just combining, and you can't hide that by giving all your teenage characters big eyes and a ton of attitude.
1 Web. I hope this comic gets cancelled soon - I don't know how many more I can handle.