Comics : Spider-Man: Mutant Agenda #3

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Crossover Crisis!

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

Attending a lecture on mutant research, Peter Parker notices the Beast in the crowd, also interested in what the speaker, Landon from the Brand Corporation, has to say. The Beast (Henry McCoy) was once a scientist for the Brand Corporation before an experiment caused his mutant gene to manifest blue hair all over his body. As the speech begins, the Hobgoblin makes an appearance and demands that Landon pay him a hefty sum. If not, he'll make all of Brand's less-ethical research public knowledge.

Spider-Man and Beast stop the Hobgoblin from hurting Landon and from there the two heroes team-up to figure out what's going on. They make their way to the Brand Headquarters where both of them get captured by Landon and his security guards.

In Detail...

"Mutanthood's End"
Spider-Man: Mutant Agenda #3
May 1994 : SM Title
Summary: Newpaper Crossover (Beast, Hobgoblin)
Editor:  Danny Fingeroth
Writer:  Steven Grant
Pencils:  Scott Kolins
Inker:  Sam DeLaRosa
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man: The Mutant Agenda

With Spider-Man incapacitated Landon reveals that the struggles he and the Brand Corporation have gone through recently will finally be given meaning when his research comes to fruition, and the key to it all is Spider-Man. Brand tells his security officers to take Spider-Man with them but one of them has a problem with kidnapping the unconscious hero. Landon tells him that he is trying to make the world safe from mutants and if the security guard wants to get in his way, he'll deal with him like he'll deal with all of Brand enemies.

Meanwhile, with Hobgoblin's plan to extort money from Landon failing again and again, he visits his favorite watering hole to drown his sorrows. The Bartender still wanting to collect on Jason's (aka, the Hobgoblin) tab, Jason still manages to get a drink out of him. While regaling the bartender with his tale of woe, Jason overhears a group of people badmouthing him across the bar. Hearing all he can take, Jason throw a glass and knocks one of the two women out. Quickly taking care of the two guys, all that's left is the last women who faints when Jason grasps her. With his adrenaline pumped from rough- housing with some nobodies, Jason dons his Hobgoblin mask and vows to finally take care of Spider-Man, the Beast and Landon for good.

Landon, with Spider-Man captive, makes his way to Brand's secret lab where the Beast is also held prisoner. Hank tries to reason with Landon but Landon just won't hear it. He won't believe that his friend and fellow researcher, Henry McCoy, was a mutant and became the Beast. He still believes that the Beast actually killed McCoy and took his name to hide his crime.

At the same time that Landon arrived at the lab, Hobgoblin has broken into Brand's headquarters to finally get his money from Landon. There he learns from a security guard that Landon is currently at the secret lab. Hobgoblin grins from ear-to-ear believing that he'll finally get what's coming to him.

At the lab, Spider-Man wakes up to find himself bound with his hands behind his back and in an electrified cage. The Beast is also there in his own cell and he explains to Spider-Man that there's really no way to get out. Landon, with both heroes as a captive audience, takes this opportunities to provide us with your classic bad-guy soliloquy explaining that it was the Beast who inspired him to fight against mutants in the first place. Even though Brand's shareholdings and investors wanted to be able to create a race of mutant slaves, Landon was more interested in destroying the mutant gene altogether.

Landon's "dip" will strip the mutant gene from a mutant that is immersed in the stuff and at the same time, turn all normal cells into diseased cells, causing a very slow, painful death. Hank tries to tell them that it can't possibly work, but Landon has his mind set and wants to test his solution using the Beast and Spider-Man as the first subjects.

Later outside, the Hobgoblin has taken a pilot right out of his flying helicopter and wants to know where Landon is. I guess the security guard from the Brand Headquarters wasn't specific enough.

While inside the lab, Spider-Man wants Landon to keep talking so that he can get out of his shackles by shooting his web in them and hopefully gum them up. But before he can free himself the Hobgoblin bursts in and threatens Landon, money or his life. Hobgoblin does see the two heroes caged up and fires off a blast at them which goes past Spider-Man's cell but hits the Beast's, which drops him right over the mutant dip below.

Thankfully at the exact moment Spider-Man finally gets free of his cuffs and snags a web-line onto the Beast's back which sends him flying towards Landon and his security force. Landon commands them to open fire on him, apparently the Beast's death is more important then testing his research. The Hobgoblin distracts the guards away from the Beast but instead of dealing with the guards and Landon, the Beast grabs The Hobgoblin out of the air and saves him from having to get shot.

With the cuffs off, Spider-Man easily gets out of his hanging cell and swings by and grabs Landon. With the two swinging through the air, Hobgoblin throws a pumpkin bomb which hits Spidey's web-line causing them both to fall into the "mutant-cure" solution. Spidey pulls himself out and the Beast comments that Spidey's suit kept all the liquid off his skin, though Landon isn't so lucky.

It appears that Landon has mutated, with the Beast explaining that everyone has mutated cells, that there really isn't any normality in anyone. With Landon now mutated, he attacks the Beast and Spider-Man with his newfound strength but Spider-Man knocks him unconscious with one punch. Spider-Man and the Beast go their separate ways, Spider-Man taking Hobgoblin (which I guess the Beast knocked out earlier) and the Beast volunteering to take care of Landon. He tells Spider-Man that first they'll try to find a cure for him and then let the authorities deal with him.

In General...

With both Spider-Man and the Beast captured and held in their cells hanging above a large vat of liquid, Landon explains to them that he has created a solution to the "mutant problem". Dipping a mutant into his solution, strips them of their mutant gene and at the same time turns the rest of them genes into diseased cells slowly causing death. Seems a bit strong of a punishment to mutants, seeing as how they no longer have their mutant genes and are just normal humans, but it's not enough for Landon. He has to make them die as well.

Hobgoblin breaks in still trying to get his money from Landon, which allows the Beast to escape his cell. Soon afterwards Spider-Man breaks free also and the two of them take out the Hobgoblin but not before he can make Landon and Spider- Man fall into the large vat. Spider-Man isn't affected by the liquid but Landon is turned into a large monster. Spider-Man takes out the mutated Landon without much problem and the two heroes say their good-byes.

Overall Rating...

This issue just had all kinds of problems with it. The 5 to 6 page segment where the Hobgoblin hangs out at the bar and beats the crap out of some patrons was one of them. This was completely not needed for the overall story and it takes away from the story having it in the issue. Instead of giving the readers more on Landon and his research or more of the Beast's relationship with Brand, we get the Hobgoblin fighting against people who can't possibly do him any harm.

Another problem I had was not giving enough story and explanation for other parts of the issue. How does filling his shackles with webbing cause Spider- Man to be able to get free of them? This doesn't make any sense to me. I suppose you can say its the pressure his webbing has caused, but that's a little far fetched for me to take. And then once he gets the cuffs off, how does he manage to get out of his electrified cell? It looked like he just punched the roof a single time which caused the bottom to fall out. Why didn't the Beast just do that when he was in his cell? Is Spider-Man just that much stronger than the Beast?

The rest of the mini-series wasn't that great to begin with and it appears that they couldn't even keep up that pace, finishing the series on a big down-note. The best part of this issue is that it is now over.

Footnote...

Another big problem I had was the Hobgoblin saying that he's got a list of people who have ticked him off and he's "checking it twice." What is this crap? A real horrible way to give the Hobgoblin's character some menace is to associate him with Santa Claus.