Comics : Spider-Man: Friends and Enemies #1

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

This review was first published on: 2002.


In theory, the Limited Series should be the perfect vehicle for displaying the highest aspects of the comic creator's art. The pinnacle of the form, the creme de la creme of the textual/visual medium.

The very nature of the limited series means that a dedicated team can work within flexible time scales, allowing the content to dictate the pace. The format allows the telling of a single story, without interference from excessive continuity. The story-teller has the free choice of characters, and frequently is granted a high-quality of physical medium to display his piece de resistance.

Sadly, nearly all of Spider-Man's limited series appearances over the last 20 or so years have been just plain crap.

Friends & Enemies is one of the worst. Danny Fingeroth is the guy to blame. He should have stuck to editing.

In Detail...

"The Dawn of The Meta-Humes"
Spider-Man: Friends and Enemies #1
Jan 1995 : SMURF 398.760 : SM Title
Summary: Darkhawk, Speedball, Nova, Meta-Humes
Editor:  Nel Yomtov
Writer:  Danny Fingeroth
Pencils:  Ron Lim
Inker:  Mark McKenna
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Articles: Aunt May Parker (BTS)

Dusk, Madison Square Park. Seven alien crystals emanate a glow... seven crystals whose power will change the lives of everyone who comes into contact with them. Really. Cool!

Next morning. Spidey swings over. The park is full, rumours of a free concert. A conman steps out of a building across the way, having scammed some unsuspecting innocents out of $30k playing cards. A politically correct racial mix of teenage types are hanging out to see if the concert happens or now. Imagine stilted dialogue and poor drawing. You're with the scene now.

"Hey", say the five kids... "do you see that weird glow?" Let's go see. The conman turns up with his accomplice, gimme some of those crystals. THey're holding one each. Then... zwoooommmaaa...zzoomm... a freaky light show and everybody has super-human powers. Of course, how silly of me not to see that coming!

...'cept they don't know it yet. The lights fade, and everybody splits.

Nova and Speedball turn up, and act like morons, then leave. Then Darkhawk arrives, with serious work in mind. Oh no, the crystals are gone! Seems he was the one who left them there, while he went to do something else. You might have thought he would have dug a hole to hide gems with cosmic powers in? Nah.

The next day, all of the holders of gems discover their powers, in stupid and unconvincing ways. "Those construction workers are being so sexist, I wish that bulldozer would start up and flatten them. Oh no, it really did! Lucky that wall stopped it. But somehow I think I made it happen!" Aaaaargggh!

So what power did the baddie get? The power to control all the others, it seems. How convenient. He promises to train the innocent metahume teenagers... "For the good of mankind".

Meanwhile, Spidey, Speedball and Nova meet Darkhawk. Darkhawk tells them about the crystals, and the others figure "that must have been those teenagers we overheard talking about the crystals". Boy, that was lucky!

In General...

This is shocking stuff. How did Marvel manage to sink so low?

Overall Rating...

Half a web.