Comics : Spectacular Scarlet Spider #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...

Dr. Octopus II (Carolyn Trainer) and Jason Tso are the leaders of two rival gangs fighting over experimental cyberneural inductors. Both want them as they are integral to their respective plans, but nobody knows why.

Ben's confidant Seward Trainer was hospitalized after he was attacked in a virtual reality simulation by Octopus' partner VR-37. His mind has been separated from his body, leaving him a vegetable and Ben to fend for himself.

Prior to his discovery of Tso's criminal activities, Ben gained employment from him. First as a waiter, then as a bodyguard

In Detail...

"Between A Rock And A Hard-Drive!"
Spectacular Scarlet Spider #1
Nov 1995 : SM Title
Summary: First Override, Aura
Arc: Part 4 of "Virtual Mortality"
Editor:  Eric Fein
Writer:  Todd DeZago
Pencils:  Sal Buscema
Inker:  Jimmy Palmiotti
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Articles: Aura & Override, Ben Reilly, Doctor Octopus II (Carolyn Trainer), Joe Wade, The Looter, Smythe, Alistaire

Octopus and VR-37 watch as their new recruits Override and Aura spar with the Looter. They discuss each of their cybernetically-enhanced powers. Override has the ability to take control over electronic systems. Aura can generate a forcefield for offensive and defensive purposes. The Looter has his regular strength greatly augmented.

Once their session concludes, they walk by one of Octopus' henchmen, Joe Wade (introduced in Amazing Scarlet Spider #1. He is actually an undercover FBI agent keeping tabs on Octopus.

Across town, Ben stops by to check on Seward, but is informed that there is no change in his condition. Once alone in this room, Seward's consciousness appears to Ben through the monitors. He has hacked into Octopus' network and learned of a hit that will take place tonight at Club Noir. She plans to send her three new operatives to retrieve the components Tso stole from her.

Ben makes his way to Elle Gym and breaks off his date with Carrie Bradley tonight. He is not happy about this. She is noticeably disappointed and angry.

Override, Aura, and the Looter proceed with their orders to steal back the components from Tso. Override and Aura provide the distraction while Looter goes for the inductors. Much to his surprise, the inductors are nowhere to be found.

When he returns for his associates, he finds the Scarlet Spider has defeated both of them. Uninterested in fighting him at the moment, Looter destroys a support pillar, placing the club patrons in danger. While Ben protects the patrons, Looter grabs his unconscious partners and escapes.

A short time later, Tso contacts his partner, now identified as Alistaire Smythe. He admits there was a slight problem - Octopus attacked him after Kannor had delivered the inductors to him. He asks if the inductors work to his satisfaction.

Smythe responds that they function properly and intends to use them in his new spider-slayers.

In General...

Ok, now we're getting somewhere. Tso has allied with Smythe for an as-yet undisclosed reason. It's obvious why Smythe wanted the inductors. Why choose to work with Tso? Hopefully we'll find out.

This arc has been very inconsistent. Parts 1 and 3 were all but pointless; 2 and 4 have really carried the story, such as it is. I'm not sure why they couldn't have divided the events in parts 2 and 4 up evenly through the arc. This would have been a good three part story, but it was essentially crammed into two issues and connected (rather loosely) to two other issues.

Overall Rating...

1.5 webs. The events in this issue should have taken place much earlier in the arc to maintain interest. At this point, I was only mildly impressed when they revealed Tso's mystery accomplice.

Footnote...

This continues in Web of Scarlet Spider #2