Comics : Spider-Man Magazine (Vol. 2) #3

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This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

The indicia for this issue say that it's actually named "SPIDER-MAN MAGAZINE: GREAT POWER". But we're going to call it Spider-Man Magazine (Vol. 2) #3 because it's not really that much simpler.

As for its two predecessors, most of the content is reprint of Marvel Adventures stories, but tucked away in the back of each is a text story. In this case, it's a five page Spider-Man/Iron Man offering from David Michelinie.

In Detail...

"The Spider Whisperer"
Spider-Man Magazine (Vol. 2) #3 (Story 2)
SM Reprint
Summary: Text Spider-Man/Iron Man story with small illustrations
Writer:  David Michelinie
Artist:  Ron Lim, Scott Koblish
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Review

Peter Parker is at a technology expo, surrounded by all the latest scientific advances. Tony Stark, aka Iron Man is there too. But while Peter is in hog heaven, Tony just wants to be back at the lab tweaking his Iron Man armor. Seems in this story, Iron Man's identity is secret still. That takes it out of current continuity.

Of course, you can't have a technology expo in the Marvel universe without something freaky happening. In this case it's a microwave communications relay from one company innocently cross-transmitting to three "Big Mech" maintenance robot and sending them off on an autonomous rampage. Ooops!

Why they bring these machines to an indoor location fully charged, sand and water blasters loaded, safeties disabled... I have no idea. But so much for Peter's day of fun tech-loving joy. He swings into Spidey mode, as Stark dashes for a telephone booth to change into Iron Man. Think he wears the armor under his street clothes?

The heroes save the day. Iron Man doesn't thank the web-slinger, but shortly afterwards, Tony Stark invites Spider-Man for a job interview. Spidey turns up... seems Iron Man is curious about his Spider-Sense and wants to analyze it to make an electronic version for the Iron Man armor. Heh, good luck with that!

But now it's time for our sub-plot. Stark employee Ken Thorsen has been fired on suspicion of intent to steal Stark secrets. It's his last day at work. What, seriously? Stark has FIRED him because they think he's stealing stuff. But instead of marching him off in armed guard, they let him work out his time, alone. I'm guessing Michelinie never worked in the tech industry. Let me tell ya, Ken would not be sitting by himself at his desk making trouble. Nah, in the real world he would have been frog-marched off the site, and would have gone straight to a lawyer to sue for wrongful dismissal.

But back in the story, Ken is there, hacking into the video cameras looking for a few more secrets. Actually, in the real world, secrets are kept in laboratory log books, not on live video feeds. After hours video feeds show middle management having sex on their desks, they don't show stuff you can sell to the highest bidder. I mean... aww... forget it. But anyhow, labs keep log books with all the important information. It gets dated and signed, and is vital for claiming "first discovery" for patent purposes. Modern ones are electronic, and signed electronically with public/private key encryption, and held in escrow by lawyers.

So what's going on in that lab? Well, Tony Stark is working "with" Spider-Man. Though really they're communicating very poorly. Tony has extracted a distilled essence of Spider-Sense. It's a pink liquid. Spider-Man is fed up, so he drinks it. Spider-Man is clearly a crappy scientist. I mean, seriously. What is with him? Anyhow, he figures it might amplify his spider-sense, and help them figure things out. Yeah, that's what we do with lab experiments. We drink them.

But please stop and think about this for a second. Spider-Sense is extracted distilled to a liquid. And drinking it will give you more of it? That's like imagining that if you're stuck in a well you can survive starvation by eating your own boogers. It came out, it's going back in, how can you have more than when you started? And to that point, spider-sense is absorbed through the stomach? Really?

Well, it doesn't give him more spider-sense. It takes his spider-sense away, and replaces it with the power to command spiders. Yeah, Spider-Man thinks about Tony's coffee mug, and a few dozen spiders scuttle and bring it to him. Well, where to start with that one? Apart from the fact that we're just getting silly, I'd imagine that a high-tech science lab would be pretty light on spiders. And how long would it take them to come out of the cracks and assemble a cup-moving team. And nobody would notice? You don't think you'd notice thirty spiders sprinting across the desk, converging on your coffee mug?

But that's not the end of it. For no reason even slightly contributing to the plot, Peter grows spikes on his face and meshed eyes (do you have any idea of the complex biological and brain-structural changes associated with a fundamental biological change to the vision system?) Tony figures the changes might wear off. Perhaps. But then there's explosions in the chemical lab.

It's Ken. He's been planning this for months. He planted explosives, and has a remote controlled rocket that incapacitates Iron Man. What? Seriously, if he could do all that, why would he need to steal stuff? And how come he didn't already steal stuff? He had a few months to steal stuff, and instead... he planted explosives? To help steal intellectual property? He was under suspicion at the highest-technology plant in the world, and they let him plant explosives? And bring in a rocket to work?

Well, thanks to Ken's rocket, Iron Man's cybernetic systems are locked up. So, this guy Ken has access to the chemicals area, so he must be a chemist. But he can also program computers smarter than Iron Man, and create home-made rocket guidance systems? And he failed to steal anything in the several months he was at Stark? Presumably because he could already make better versions of all that stuff. Hey, maybe he's not really a throw-away "employee gone bad" named Ken. Maybe he's Victor Von Doom?!!

No, he's just Ken. And Ken's rocket has incapacitated Iron Man in the middle of the chemical fire. Spidey can't reach him to access his armor and "block the power flow" to reset the armor. Whatever that means. But maybe Spidey's spiders can! Yeah... the heat is so hot that Spider-Man can't even muffle himself up in webbing long enough to get in there and yank Iron Man out. But it isn't hot enough to incapacitate a spider. Dammit, Michelinie, have you never fried a spider? They fry real fast! Spiders and chemical fires are not a good mix. Sheesh!

But Spidey suddenly realizes that to carry out his daft scheme he needs MORE spider-controlling power! He runs back to the lab to grab the last of the concentrate, just in time to stop Ken from stealing it. That's what Ken was after. He saw it on the video screen, and decided to use his rocket and chemical bombs to sneak in and steal it. Couldn't wait until everybody else went home? Spider-Man drinks the last of the concentrate, even though he knows that the overdose may make his changes permanent. Then he rushes back, calls the Spiders, saves Iron Man, and it's pretty much over.

Of course, the change isn't permanent. After everything, Iron Man decides to give up on the experiment. Far enough, Spider-Man was useless in the lab. And Iron Man doesn't offer him anything in return for RISKING HIS DAMN LIFE AND VERY EXISTANCE! Not even, like, a bodyguard job or anything, or some cash, or a McDonalds voucher?!?

In General...

THUD! THUD! THUD!

That was me attempting to bash the pain out of my brain, by smashing my forehead on my desk until there's a soft pulpy flat but just above my eyebrows. But it hasn't worked.

Nothing could erase the stupidity of this story. It's as dumb as an dead ox. It's as silly as three teenage girls on laughing gas. It's as pointless as a penknife after three days of chopping stones in half. THIS STORY IS MORONIC!

Overall Rating...

Rock-bottom half a web for this insult to the mentally deranged everywhere.