Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #417

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Since the instant-classic "Power and Responsibility" storyline two years ago, two mystery men have walked the Spider-Verse. Judas Traveller is a seemingly omnipotent demigod fascinated by evil and its seeming obsession with Spider-Man. The other enigmatic figure is Scrier, Traveller's accomplice and long time (long as in centuries, apparently) friend. But, is all as it seems? Last issue, we found that Scrier was working behind Traveller's back, allied with Gaunt, another mystery man, and his mysterious employer. Too many mysteries? Here are some answers.

In Detail...

"Secrets!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #417
Nov 1996 : SMURF 417.500 : SM Title
Summary: Judas Traveller, Scrier
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Tom DeFalco
Pencils:  Ron Garney
Inker:  Al Williamson
Cover Art:  Ron Garney
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Articles: Watson, Anna, Ben Reilly, Delilah, John Jameson (Man-Wolf), Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Professor Mendel Stromm, Rose III (Jacob Conover), Robertson, Joe "Robbie"

The book opens with an insight to Peter Parker's dream. Instead of featuring Mary Jane, as one would expect, Peter's dream warns Peter of danger, through the voice of Judas Traveller. Apparently, something is up.

This becomes increasingly obvious as Boone, Medea and Mr. Nacht, all members of Traveller's Host, hunt Chakra (another Host member). They, at the bidding of Scrier, have turned against Traveller already. Chakra needs help, so who does she turn to? Whose name is on the cover, bub? Chakra recruits Ben Reilly, the magnificent Spider-Man, and gives him the whole story behind Judas Traveller. In reality, he is not at all as omnipotent as he seems.

Traveller is a mutant with abilities to alter people's perceptions of reality, but most of his power comes from technology supplied to him by Scrier. And what of Scrier? Is he, at least, anything like what he seems to be? Stop reading if you hate disappointment, true believer. As Spider-Man and the Host renegades duke it out, it is revealed to us that the being known as Scrier for all this time is, in fact, a mystic cult of many people who all disguise themselves in the same shadowy garb. No special powers; no fancy origin. The multiple Scriers are easily defeated as Peter Parker joins Spider-Ben. Traveller is freed, and leaves. Angered by his failure, Gaunt kills the lead Scrier, who we've seen since P & R. Another storyline comes to a wretchedly disappointing close.

In General...

When I finished this book, I sat for a while to let it all sink in. I had been waiting for Scrier to rise against Traveller since the "Mark of Kaine" storyline, but now that it's here I wish I could forget the whole thing. Traveller's return itself seems insignificant, except that some mysteries surrounding him are answered as more spring up in their place. Did Traveller know Scrier's true identity? Have Traveller and "Scrier" really lived for centuries? How did Chakra get her powers, or are those a hoax, as well? How did all those Scriers get so big if they're just ordinary guys? This book shows just how dangerous it can be to ask for answers before writers can provide good ones for us. I hope that the Book of Revelations proves to be better than this.

Even the art seemed second-rate in this book. There were a few strong spots, but most of the pencils in this book seemed amazingly similar to the Buscema-Williamson team which just left Spectacular. Overall, this comic left me a little underwhelmed.

Overall Rating...

One measly web