Comics : Spider-Man Tangled Web #1

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This story is part of an Arc: "The Coming of The Thousand"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

A new Spider-Man title which takes a look at our favorite web-spinner through the eyes of the very criminals he's trying to put away, Tangled Web kicks off with a three-part story arc about a man who's seen Spidey from the beginning... and wants to reclaim what is rightfully is. Which would be Spider-Man's very life, of course.

In Detail...

Spider-Man Tangled Web #1
Jun 2001 : SM Title
Arc: Part 1 of "The Coming of The Thousand"
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  Garth Ennis
Pencils:  John McCrea
Inker:  James Hodgkins
Cover Art:  John McCrea
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Tangled Web) #1
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Jameson, J. Jonah, Rhino (Cameo), The Thousand (1st)

A large man in a watchcap is sitting in a diner staring out the window. He ignores the waitress, his food, and everything else around him to focus on the drama taking place just outside. Spider-Man is in action, taking on the Rhino and whupping him without any serious difficulty. Some watching are astonished, others nonchalant. The man in the watchcap seethes with anger. One thought keeps repeating itself in his mind: "it should have been me... PARKER!"

Later, while Peter is waltzing with his Aunt (after apologizing profusely for ruining her irish linen tablecloth in the laundry--a wedding gift nonetheless) the mystery man is walking down the streets of New York reliving the good ol' days. Which were, as it turns out, very bad for Peter, as this man was one of young Parker's many tormentors in school. Memories of dunking Peter in the toiled and throwing a football into his face lift his spirits as his destination approaches: The Daily Bugle.

Inside the Bugle, Peter's spirits are quickly falling as J. Jonah Jameson refuses to buy pictures of his skirmish with the Rhino. However, a young employee named Jess Patton offers to try and persuade Jonah to buy a few of the snapshots. She hints at offering more than that, but Peter doesn't bite and leaves alone. A little wistful, Miss Patton ends up working late into the night. Just when she's ready to leave, she's accosted by the man in the watchcap and thrown against the wall.

Miss Patton has no intention of surrendering peacefully, but a kick to the groin and a full blast of mace in the face are ineffective. Before her horrified eyes, the man begins to melt out of his (its?) skin. After a few moments, what appears to be Miss Patton walks out of the door with an evil smile on her/his/its face--leaving behind the skin of the man it had until recently inhabited--with one final proclamation: "I AM THE THOUSAND."

In General...

Uh... The Thousand what?

This story would have had a better impact if it had hit the shelves a few years ago. However, since we are a couple of months removed from MJ's stalker--who wanted to steal Peter's life--and a couple of years removed from that guy/girl "Captain Power" or whatever that was killing all of the survivors from the accident that transformed Peter into Spider-Man, this is not exactly virgin territory. I'm interested to see exactly how this guy shed his skin and hopped into Miss Patton, plus I'm wondering how he got that way in the first place, but it seems like too many people have wanted Peter's life lately. (They should have dropped by during the Clone Saga.)

And how many people thumped on poor Peter during his formative years anyway? Now we have another guy and don't even know his name. From the look of Peter in the flashback, this probably happened around sixth or seventh grade. Well before his high school years... but how did this guy know about the spider bite then? I don't know, I think this well has been dipped into several times already. We'll see how it pans out, but I would have preferred a different approach.

The art is something different for Spider-Man, and the washed-out cartoony look of the drawings takes some getting used to. Not that bad for a three-issue story arc, but if McCrea and Hodgkins landed a job on one of the core titles I would be very upset.

Overall Rating...

We're sitting at two webs and counting. Here's hoping we find out what "The Thousand" refers to.