Comics : Scarlet Spider (Vol. 1) #1

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

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Worst of the Worst

This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

After a cyberspace battle with VR-37, Dr. Octopus II's partner, Seward Trainer's mind has been separated from his body.

In Detail...

"To Thine Own Self..."
Scarlet Spider (Vol. 1) #1
Nov 1995 : SM Title
Summary: The Pro hired to eliminate Jason Tso
Arc: Part 3 of "Virtual Mortality"
Editor:  Bob Budiansky
Plot:  Howard Mackie
Writer:  Todd DeZago
Pencils:  Gil Kane
Inker:  Tom Palmer
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Articles: Ben Reilly, Doctor Octopus II (Carolyn Trainer), Jameson, J. Jonah, Joe Wade

Scarlet Spider carries Seward to the nearest hospital and demands he get immediate attention. After the doctors have determined he is physically fine, but has no brain activity. The doctor informs him that he is catatonic.

On the northern shore of Long Island, The Pro is paid electronically for his assignment. Upon completion of said assignment, he is contacted to eliminate Jason Tso.

Ben returns to Seward's apartment and relaxes for a while. As he leaves he notices his neighbor is struggling with someone. When he steps in to help, he discovers that her "attacker" was a padded costume for the self-defense class she teaches. Thanking him for trying to protect her, she invites him to stop by some time and they can have some coffee afterwards. Ben accepts.

At the Daily Bugle, reporter Ken Ellis receives a tip about a mobster meeting at Club Noir tonight. He grabs photographer Angela Yin and leaves for the club.

Dr. Octopus II arranges a virtual meeting with her partner. They discuss Carolyn's hiring of The Pro to elminate Jason Tso. Her accomplice adds that he contacted Ellis to cover Tso's demise to send a warning to anyone else that may pose a threat to their organization. The digitized mind of Seward Trainer observes their interaction and decides to keep tabs on them.

Ben goes to work at Club Noir, where he works as a waiter. He has managed to get the section where the mobsters are meeting. During the big meeting, Tso is contacted by his unidentified partner to warn him that Dr. Octopus is aware of him and his activities. Seward makes contacts with Ben through the highly advanced cash register. He is unable to maintain the connection and drops off before he can give him any information.

When Tso is informed that Ellis and Yin are present, he meets with them to maintain his image as a legitimate businessman. Both are already aware of his true reputation. Ben ducks to avoid being seen by either Ellis or Yin who may identify him as Peter.

At this point two of Tso's guards (Lenny and Carlo) enter with explosives attached to their heads and carrying grenades. They tell Tso that The Pro caught them by surprise in the back alley and is forcing them to do this. At this point Ben dives toward them and knocks the grenades from their hands.

Using the confusion The Pro makes his way to Tso's office and contacts Octopus on his video phone. Octopus tells Tso that she wants to watch as he is put down for trying to rip her off. At this point Scarlet Spider comes crashing through the window. Octopus offers The Pro triple his fee to kill Scarlet Spider, which he tries to do but fails. The Pro uses a grenade to distract Scarlet and escapes.

Later on, Tso offers Ben the opportunity to be one of his bodyguards after his actions earlier in the evening. In desperate need of money, Ben accepts.

In General...

Things are moving forward somewhat but still at a snail's pace. For someone calling himself "The Pro" he just got his head practically handed to him by a virtual amateur. This guy is good against people when their backs are turned, but otherwise he stinks.

Overall Rating...

1 web. This issue basically serves to let Ben know that Seward is alive in cyberspace and to show the ineptitude of The Pro. That's it.

The "Bodyguard Ben" sub-plot is unnecessary as he was already working at the Club as a waiter. He is still outside of Tso's inner circle so he won't be getting any information he couldn't acquire by listening at the door.