Comics : Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #49

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Last issue, the Star of Persia was stolen by a mysterious Indian woman, who then proceeded to lead Spidey all over New York before leaving him in front of AGK Incorporated, where she left her calling card, a giant question mark, in the lights at AGK...

In Detail...

"The Big Answer"
Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #49
Dec 2002 : SM Title
Summary: (#147)
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  Paul Jenkins
Pencils:  Mark Buckingham
Inker:  Wayne Faucher
Cover Art:  Mark Buckingham
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (PPSM) #4
Articles: The Virus

Between issues, it sounds like Spider-Man has done some research. After being pointed towards the AGK building, Spidey must have looked them up and discovered that AGK was responsible for a chemical leak that poisoned a village called Malpura. This information has led Spidey to the house of a yoga master named Mister Singh. When Spidey asks Singh about AGK, Singh explains that one day, the AGK factory near the village started spewing a black fog that enveloped the village. It killed four thousand people, and Singh was one of the few that survived. When Spidey inquires about the red and yellow scarf, Singh tells him that he has been visited by a Buddhist deity named Tara, and that the colours mean she is seeking vengeance, and she wants Spidey's help to get revenge against AGK. When Spidey leaves, Singh undergoes a transformation, changing into the very Goddess who followed Spidey last issue, Tara.

At AGK, the AGK chairman, Mr. Kirkland, receives a phone call concerning a silk scarf. Kirkland tells the caller to meet him in his office at six o'clock. Meanwhile, Spidey is swinging around town, trying to figure out how exactly he is going to be contacted by a Buddhist deity. The answer shows itself soon enough, in the form of a trail of lotus flowers.

At AGK, Tara has arrived to confront Kirkland and Corman, the head of security. Tara demands fifty million dollars in exchange for the Star of Persia, stating that she will use the money to help the families of those who died in Malpura. Corman refuses, and draws a water gun containing a control virus that is especially lethal to Tara. Corman goes on to explain that what happened in Malpura was no accident at all - AGK was actually paid one hundred million dollars by the CIA to test an undetectable, intelligent metal nano-virus on Malpura. The test resulted in the powers of Tara. Just as Corman is about to kill Tara with the virus, Spidey swings in and kicks him, making his shot go wide. Tara pins Spidey down so that just a drop of the virus hits his arm, and the virus acts as a conduit to Tara, making Spidey aware of all the evils of AGK.

Spidey and Tara pursue Corman into the research lab, where he has holed up. When Spidey and Tara sneak up on him, he attacks, but inadvertently falls into a batch of the virus that infected Tara. Corman screams in agony as it envelops him, and he becomes the Virus before melting through the floor and disappearing. Spidey turns around to find that Tara is also gone. But Kirkland remains, and Spidey tells him about a bunch of surveillance tapes that will implicate him in the Malpura incident, leaving Kirkland sobbing into his hands.

The next day, Peter reads the headline in the newspaper saying that AGK is denying any link to the CIA, when Tara sneaks up behind him and quickly thanks him. But before Peter can turn around, she's gone, leaving only another lotus flower, and that laughter that Peter can once again hear... only this time he realizes that the laughter is that of the four thousand killed in Malpura, laughing in relief.

In General...

As I was reading the second part of this story, I got to the part where Corgan falls into the chemicals, and before I turned the page, I said to myself, "They're not gonna turn this guy into a super-villain, are they?" But much to my chagrin, there he is, the freakin' Virus. C'mon... he just looks like Carnage, only purple. I expect better from Paul Jenkins... like, this guy's not even funny bad, like Typeface... he's just bad, like any Howard Mackie villain.

Mark Buckingham is back again this issue, and he teams with Wayne Faucher to provide more spectacular art. I didn't realize how much I missed Mr. Buckingham's terrific work. Unfortunately, his nice work is stuck in this story, which just got way too convoluted. The mysterious Indian woman went from being a Buddhist goddess to a nano-virus infected cyborg or something... and then there was the Virus... ugh.

Overall Rating...

A confusing story about Buddhism, corporate pollution, nano-machines, and water guns. Two webs. I'm hoping that next issue will feature Spidey and Rocket Racer against the combined might of the Virus and Skinhead. I think that would be a terrific super-villain team up.