Comics : Spider-Man: Chapter One #7

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Why? Why? Why?!

That's the question. Why is Marvel doing this? Why are people buying this (if in fact they are). Why not just reprint the orignals.

Some of these questions might be answered by last month's review of Spider-Man: Chapter One #5 written by Chuck Roberts. He's a serious Lizard fan who's more than a decade younger than me. He awarded the Byrne re-writing of the Lizard story a full 4.5 webs.

But to me, the Byrne artwork is muddled (he has worked hard to keep some of the Ditko elements, while adding his own style) and slip-shod (the panels seem sketched and half-finished (perhaps he ran out of time, since he was doing his own inking as well as penciling).

Also (to me) every story change seems a change for the worse. The 'modernisation' adds no value. If you were going to rework the Spider-Man story from the start, why waste time 'tarting-up' the original. Why not just start again from scratch? To cash in on the marketing benefits, I suppose. Gloss up the story for a new generation, while retaining the 30+ years of cultural memory. Makes sense for a marketer. Makes no sense for the serious Spider-fan.

There are, of course, more gratuitous changes than the 'up-to-dating' (which, while un-necessary, is at least justifiable). Changes like giving Electro a new costume, and making Osborn the mastermind behind every single villain, are totally un-defendable. The bright side for me is that these changes make it completely possible for me to dismiss the entire series as nothing more than a rather pointless 'What If' story.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: Chapter One #7
May 1999 : SM Title
Summary: Electro, Mysterio (ASM #9,13)
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  John Byrne
Pencils:  John Byrne
Inker:  John Byrne
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Review

Byrne fools around with Electro in his spare time. Byrne fools around with Mysterio in his spare time. Nothing of note results.

Actually, because of Byrne's stupid idea to have each story start mid-comic and split between months with a mid-story cliffhanger, the Electro story starts back in issue 6. That means that Chapter One comic consists of:

  1. Action panel from the middle of a story.
  2. Peter 'wondering' how he got here.
  3. Flashback to where we left off at the end of last issue.
  4. Conclusion of last story, proceeding into this story.
  5. Picking-up from where we started, and telling this story.
  6. Cliff-hanger ending, which isn't resolved until the middle of next month's issue.

This is an approach which Marvel (and all other comic writers) uses every now and again. It's a reasonable technique - once in a while - but when Byrne uses it every issue, it wears thin very quickly.

In General...

At US$2.50 each, these comics cost me more per minute than getting professional help. And that's what I need. I must be mad buying this stuff. Roll on #12, that's all I can say!

Overall Rating...

I give it half a web.