Comics : Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #3

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This story is part of an Arc: "Shadrac!"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Spider-Man and Iceman chase the burning skeleton Shadrac beneath the streets of New York, hoping to discover more about his enigmatic history. What do they find? Perhaps, another lame-o, obligatory team-up story? Only time will tell...

The whole story is told through eye-witnesses being interviewed by Daily Bugle reporters. So while we don't really see any action first-hand, we're still supposed to believe we got to read a comic book story. Does that sound right to you?

In Detail...

"Eyewitness"
Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #3
Mar 1999 : SMURF 444.550 : SMURF 444.600 : SM Title
Summary: Iceman & Shadrac
Arc: Part 3 of "Shadrac!"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Howard Mackie
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr.
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Articles: Betty Brant, Flash Thompson, Jameson, J. Jonah, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Maxwell, Morris

Let's skip to the chase. Iceman and Spider-Man are tracking Shadrac (formerly Override, proving that a lame villain can get lamer!). Shadrac's obviously in some pain, and the two heroes try and help him, but to no avail. Shadrac leaves, and the two Marvels follow him to a pawnshop. Why? The only thing we know is that some guy named Dolman (the earringed freak from Amazing #3) is controlling Shadrac. We get some vague idea that Shadrac kidnaps someone from the pawnshop then disappears into the sewers.

We get this long, drawn out interlude involving J.Jonah Jameson, Flash Thompson, and Mary Jane that I just don't feel going into, since it has little to do with the spaghetti plot presented here. Then, we skip to Jameson asking a wrapped-up homeless man what happened. He claims he saw the whole thing.

So, we have Iceman and Spider-Man finally finding Shadrac and this Dolman character. Seems the old man from the pawnshop was one of the five from the gathering (involuntary shudder), and Dolman has some connection with the spindle, the center piece of the infamous 'five'. The old man hid it down a chasm, and Dolman wants it. After some inane banter, Dolman sends Shadrac after the heroes while he retrieves the spindle. Iceman manages to freeze Shadrac momentarily, but just as they're about to succeed, Dolman emerges from the chasm, possessing the power of the spindle. He prepares to escape, but Shadrac leaps up and 'overrides' Dolman's power, and the two disappear into a flash of light.

Switch to Spidey and Icey(?) scouring the city for Dolman. Jameson goes into his benign rhetoric about Spidey being a bad guy, but when he turns around to quote his source, the homeless guy is gone. We find out afterwards that the bum was actually Dolman, but somehow Shadrac merged with the evildoer, and the flaming skeleton vows to stop Dolman whenever he tries something evil. The end? Huh?

In General...

This might have been a good story. However, a few key detail prevented it from being even a mediocre one. Whenever a story is told after the fact, second-hand, it loses its sense of importance. After all, why should we care about something that's already happened? There's no sense of urgency. Secondly, the characters, namely Shadrac, Dolman, and the old guy from the gathering were ill-defined, and we never got to know them well enough to care about them. That leaves the reader with a sense of 'Why did I bother?'

Overall Rating...

Two webs. Maybe that's too generous? Skip this and you won't miss anything.