Comics : Spider-Man: Sweet Charity #1

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

J. Jonah Jameson is determined to raise money for charity, by auctioning off 'dates' with celebrities and super heroes, including himself and Spider-Man. But what happens when this event backfires and Jonah ends up camping in the woods alone with Spidey? Could it get any worse for our web-slinger? Yep... what if I told you the Scorpion decides to crash their weekend getaway? What follows is one of the best, most original Spidey tales yet.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: Sweet Charity #1
Aug 2002 : SM Title
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  Ron Zimmerman
Pencils:  Darick Robertson
Inker:  Darick Robertson, Rodney Ramos
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Articles: Aunt May Parker, Alyosha Kravinoff

Peter is sitting in on a top-level meeting, discussing the specifics of the upcoming charity event which seems to be produced by J.J.J. and the Daily Bugle. Betty reads off a pretty impressive list of celebrities and super heroes, when Jonah then tells Peter to deliver Spider-Man. After a quick debate, Peter reluctantly agrees.

Swinging through the city, Spider-Man gets a surprise visit by the Human Torch and the Thing. Johnny tells Spider-Man they wanted to make sure he shows up for the charity auction, although Thing is a little more diplomatic about it than Johnny. Now the scene changes to Mac Gargan, the Scorpion, getting in a little workout. He hears over the radio news about the charity, and that the two people he hates most, Spider-Man and Jameson, are going to be there. You know as well as I, Scorpion wont pass up a 2 for 1 deal, and he plans on making a surprise visit.

At Al Kraven's humble abode, Kraven makes plans of his own, while Peter shares his anxiety over the situation with Aunt May. Anxieties aside, Spider-Man appears at the auction, with Jay Leno hosting. Jay had saved Spider-Man and Jameson for last, not because this entire story is starring them, but rather he was hoping that if he left them there together long enough, they would start a fight!

The prize is a weekend camping trip with one or both, and Jameson attracts a few good bids, while Spidey starts going for a mere $500, wishing he could be anywhere but there. Timby (Kraven's hottie) asks if she can bid for them to take the camping trip together, just the two of them. After Spidey and Jonah exchange worrisome looks, the bids skyrocket. Kraven settles the matter to the tune of $100,000. Looks like happy trails for the most mismatched pair in the Marvel Universe.

While Jonah ponders what to wear, Robbie suggests that Jonah make the best of it, by getting a story out of the situation. Jonah, true to form, sees it as yet another opportunity to slam Spidey. Swinging home, Spider-Man is so preoccupied with Kraven and the upcoming trip, he takes out a couple of muggers without saying a word, determined not to let Jameson get the best of him. Yeah... sure, Spidey.

Next thing you know, full blown argument between Spidey and Jonah, right in the middle of their hike. I wont ruin this story for you by attempting to repeat the dialogue, you just have to read it! Nearby, the Scorpion watches the two and waits patiently, when some reporters come up to the vacationing pair, attempting to get a story. A face full of webbing ends the impromtu interview.

Night falls, and the Scorpion is mighty hungry. After inhaling a can of beans, some uninvited guests appear, a pack of wolves. The wolves are no match for the Scorpion, and he proves just how hungry and twisted he is, by having some 4-legged snacks. Meanwhile, Jonah picks out a spot for the duo to make camp, and we find out how much of an outdoorsman Spidey is, which is like... virtually nil. Jonah sets up a tent in no time, while Spidey continues to struggle with his, finally tossing it into the lake in frustration. In the course of all this, Spidey and Jameson trade wits, until the conversation turns into Jonah remembering his abusive father. Not wanting any pity for Jameson, and not daring to let the discussion turn towards an 'opening up' session, Spidey yanks down Jonah's tent with a webline, and the fighting resumes...

Settling into a web-hammock, Spidey begins thinking about food, and what Jonah has cooking on the fire. Jameson isn't willing to share, and thinks Spidey is about to bully him out of his meal, and stands up, ready to fight! After a good laugh, Spidey spots some berries and decides he will forego begging Jonah for a bite to eat. Now, while Spider-Man may not be Kazar when it comes to the outdoors, you would think he would know his botany a little, as the berries he ate earlier take their toll on his digestive system. What happens next is something I guarantee you have never seen Spider-Man do, let's just say along with dinner, Jonah also declined to share his toilet paper, and we'll leave it at that.

The next morning, while Spidey and Jameson are on the trail, the Scorpion happens upon some campers. All the Scorpion wants is the food they have, and the frightened family takes off. However a very large black bear, also has his sights set on the picnic basket, but Scorpion has no intention of sharing. Spidey and Jonah appear to both be at the breaking point of being with each other, and decide to part ways, while Scorpion gives the bear a whipping and sends it running. It isn't long before Jameson runs into the Scorpion, without Spider-Man.

Just as Jonah is about to make a puddle beneath his shoes, Spidey saves his hide by catching him in a web net. I shouldn't have to tell you what happens next, Spider-Man vs. Scorpion, criticisims provided by J.J.J. It gets to the point where Jameson's chatter is so annoying, both Spidey and Scorpy bellow at him to shut his trap. Spidey leads Scorpion into a cave, where Scorpion is greeted by not one, but no less than 5 bears... in the dark. Either bears hold a grudge, or the Gods of the Marvel Universe have an ironic sense of justice.

The bears proved to be a bit much for Scorpion, as we see Spidey webbing him up in a cocoon for good measure. Once again, Jameson is on hand to deliver his skewed view on the events of the day. The pair then makes for home, with a knocked out Scorpion in tow.

At a restaurant, Jonah, Kraven, and a few celebrities trade stories of their time spent on the charity weekend, and Jonah muses over whether or not Spider-Man had read his story, already printed in the Daily Bugle. Jennifer Tilly suggests to Jonah that he probably did, pointing to a sign nearby, webbed up for all to see:

J. Jonah Jameson cries in his sleep like a little girl

Demanding the sign be taken down, Jonah attempts to rise out of his chair, only to discover, hes webbed to it.

In General...

Where to start? Ron Zimmerman whipped up a truly halarious story! If there is one thing that separated Spider-Man from the usual line of heroes, it would be the trademark humor of Spider-Man, and it doesn't get any funnier than when the fighting is between Spidey and J.J.J. There is no way I could dare to reproduce all that for you here in this piddly review, you simply must read it for yourself, considering the art also plays a major role in the storytelling. Darick Robertson did an outstanding job on this book, very effectively conveying facial expression and emotion. His rendition of the insane Scorpion is spot-on, and whenever I now think of the Scorpion, I will most likely picture him the way Darick has in this issue.

If you have been following along, months ago Darick approached SpiderFan with some early scans of his artwork on this issue, and was also kind enough to give us an interview. See our Rave - Sweet Charity Preview and Darick Robertson Interview!.

Darick did say it was a funny script, but I think he didn't want to completely spoil us! This is classic Spider-Man updated at its best. Kudos to Ron and Darick for this excellent adventure. For once, the highlight isn't the fight between superhero and supervillain, but more the interaction between Spidey and Jameson, thats where the real story is. Don't miss out on this issue!

Overall Rating...

I would have given "5", but the only thing I found slightly strange, was how inept Spidey was concerning the outdoors. Surely a man of Peter's intellect would know what poison oak looks like, or how to pitch a tent, or at the very least, bringing along food! Granted, it does make for a more humorous situation depriving Peter of those skills, but you know us nutty superfans... we nitpick things to death. Still, a must-read for any fan.