Comics : Webspinners Tales of Spider-Man #1

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This story is part of an Arc: "As Dreams Are Made On"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Set immediately after ASM #38, Webspinners' first three-part story arc is a look into the mind of that macabre master of mischief: Mysterio! Plus, we get to see J. Jonah Jameson go to hell. All that and Spidey as a college freshman, too!

In Detail...

"...As Dreams Are Made On..."
Webspinners Tales of Spider-Man #1 (Story 1)
Jan 1999 : SMURF 038.500 : SMURF 038.700 : SM Title
Arc: Part 1 of "As Dreams Are Made On"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  J.M. DeMatteis
Pencils:  John Romita, Sr., Michael Zulli
Inker:  John Romita, Sr., Michael Zulli
Cover Art:  Michael Zulli
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Articles: Watson, Anna (BTS), Aunt May Parker, Flash Thompson, Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Gwen Stacy, Jameson, J. Jonah, Joe Smith, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Mysterio I (Beck)

Peter Parker's life isn't going too well. He just fought a half-crazed guy named Joe Smith to a standstill and he finds out Joe's got a movie deal. Adjustment to college life is coming too slowly for his benefit, and his Aunt May dotes on him enough to drive him crazy, especially after he's nearly blown himself up trying to whip up a batch of web-fluid. (This stuff is flammable?) But, hey, he's doing better than Quentin Beck, a/k/a Mysterio, who is jobless and has taken to wandering around his old neighborhood. Beck's past is not a pretty one, with a mother who died early and a father who belittled his dreams of becoming a filmmaker, and it's no wonder he almost ignores an old friend, Betsy Schneider, whom he abandons after a brief conversation.

Peter, meanwhile, has run off to a showing of "King Kong" to escape his loving aunt and actually runs into Quentin there, although the two do not recognize each other out of costume. The movie is not enough to calm either man's restless spirit, however, and it's not long before both are prowling the night as their alter egos. Spider-Man ends up swinging by the Daily Bugle building, interrupting Jonah in mid-tirade and having some fun. So imagine his surprise the next morning when he awakens to learn that Jonah died in a car crash that night and Spider-Man was caught on tape causing the fatal wreck?

Even more confused than Peter is Jonah himself, who after a brief conversation with a heavenly source finds himself somewhere a little warmer. Trapped amdist a lake of fire and some rather demonic-looking creatures, not even Jonah's lawyer (who's apparently scheduled to join him in two years) can save him. But is he really dead? (Gee, let me guess....)

In General...

Well. . . it's better than Chapter One, anyhow.

I'd been looking forward to this title for awhile, but the first issue left a bit to be desired, mostly due to how it looked. No matter how valiantly I tried, I just could not get past the art. It looks good in places, but the majority of these three issues resemble a half-melted candle. It's not always noticeable, but people's faces often come off looking distorted.

The parallels between Peter and Quentin are well done, as we see how Peter might have grown up in an abusive environment. Even as he complains about his obsessively overprotective aunt, Peter knows deep down that he has something very special, and something Quentin would've given his eye teeth for. Not bad.

So Jonah's in hell and Spider-Man and Mysterio are preparing to face off. Let's see where this takes us.

Overall Rating...

The art drags it down considerably. Three webs.