Comics : Spider-Man Unlimited (Vol. 3) #12

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This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

Spider-Man Unlimited seems to focus on stories that aren't important to current continuity, but may (or may not) be worth telling anyway. Written and drawn by guest writers and artists.

In Detail...

"Amends"
Spider-Man Unlimited (Vol. 3) #12 (Story 1)
Jan 2006 : SM Title
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Christos N. Gage
Pencils:  Mike McKone
Inker:  Larry Stucker
Cover Art:  Salvador Larroca
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Review
Articles: The Big Wheel

As Spider-Man swings across the city, he comes upon Stilt-Man making an escape from a second-story job. He cavalierly jumps to rescue, confident that this battle won't last too long...Stilt-Man's only a "B"-villain, after all. Just when he's about to take the Stilt-Man down to size (haha...! Eh, my mother thinks I'm funny...), he hears a rumble, and looks up to see none other than the Big Wheel coming to his...er, rescue.

The Big Wheel proclaims that nobody's killing Spider-Man while he's around, and attacks Stilt-Man. Stilt-Man easily evades the attack, and then knocks the Big Wheel over, nearly crushing Spidey, who leaps out of harm's way. As Stilt-Man makes his escape, Spidey rushes to the Big Wheel's aid, all the while cursing himself for losing to Stilt-Man.

After pulling the man from inside the Big Wheel, Spider-Man asks him what he was trying to do. Wheel replies that he was planning to make amends for his attempt on Spider-Man's life (way back in Amazing Spider-Man #183). Spider-Man learns that after the Big Wheel survived his descent into the river back then, his wife left him and he went to prison for embezzlement. It was there that he discovered an organization similar to Alcoholics Anonymous for super-villains called "Vil-Anon."

Wheel informs Spidey that step nine in his twelve-step program is to make amends to those you've wronged, and that he wanted to make amends to Spidey by helping him fight crime. Spidey tells him he appreciates the sentiment, but he's fine on his own. Wheel apologizes, saying that he's been a failure at pretty much everything in his life. Spidey feels sorry for him and reluctantly changes his mind, saying that he could use a partner for the day.

The two cruise the city, looking for a small crime to stop. Spidey finally spots some bank robbers fleeing a heist and calls for the Big Wheel to follow. Spidey webs up the criminals' guns and tells Wheel they're all his. Just then, the Shocker makes his exit from the bank, clutching two bags of money.

Spidey begins to pummel the Shocker, and tells the Big Wheel to escape, since the Shocker is out of his league. Wheel claims he can help, but the Shocker fires his vibro-units at him, breaking the control panel. And out-of-control Big Wheel rolls down the street as Spidey pulls potential victims from its path, and then the Shocker gets the jump on him again.

The Shocker throws everything he's got at the downed Spidey as the Big Wheel continues to roll down the street towards them. Thinking fast, Spider-Man fires a webline across the street directly in the Big Wheel's path. The Wheel gets clotheslined by the web and flies directly into the Shocker.

Climbing out from the wreckage, Wheel asks Spider-Man if he's okay. He replies that he is, and congratulates Wheel on capturing a super villain. Looking around at the wreckage he's caused, the Big Wheel admits that he did more harm than good, and feels again like a failure. Just then, a group of kids yell out to him, "Dude, that was SWEET! Can you crush some more cars? My brother missed it."

The Big Wheel takes a hint and gets a job with a monster truck destruction derby crushing cars under his Big Wheel. He also gives speeches at prisons supporting Vil-Anon and urging other former villains to change their ways. And the end of one of his sessions, a man approaches him saying that he used to be the Hypno-Hustler, and that he was moved by Wheel's speech. The final panel shows the Hypno-Hustler hypnotizing a criminal while Spider-Man nurses a headache.

In General...

I thought the story was cute. It's nice to see that Cage took some villains quickly forgotten by writers (but forever sickeningly remembered by readers), and did something with them, if only to wrap up why we never saw these characters again (aside from the fact that they were really, really lame). It was a throwaway story, but one I rather enjoyed.

Overall Rating...

Three and a half webs. An enjoyable story with good art. That's the kind of thing I'd like to see more of in Spider-Man Unlimited...fun stories to balance out the real heartfelt ones.