This story has no real reason or burning need to be told from a Spidey fan's point of view. We got to see Spider-Man and Marrow mix it up back in Peter Parker: Spider-Man vol2 #4. This oneshot could have been written for all the Marrow fans out there (can't be too many if she's been kicked outta the X-titles), or it could have been written to try and fire up some interest in the character of Marrow, so she can come BACK to the X-titles!
Whichever reason is the real one, Spidey fans are in for a treat thanks to Scott Lobdell's writing and Ale Garza's amazing pencils. I haven't seen Spidey looking this good for a l-o-n-g time!
This comic feels like a Tarantino version of "Bladerunner". Right there at the start Spidey is hanging off the side of the (Queensboro?) Bridge, clinging onto Marrow for dear life! She slashes him with a bone knife and plummets to the murky waters of the East River far below.
Cut back to 24 hours earlier: Peter Parker and Randy Robertson are hanging in the latest nightspot. Pete's there under protest, Randy's trying to get him to have some fun. A waitress brings the round of drinks they ordered, she's Sarah Rushman, one of Peter's students from ESU. She hits onto Peter and they agree to meet for coffee at 10:30.
Peter's waiting outside the club when a famous supermodel heads out to her waiting limo. Peter thinks he could take some easy pix, make some bucks. The supermodel screams in terror as she steps into the limo and Peter rushes to the scene. There's a dead body in the limo, impaled with many sharp bone daggers. A sign has been scrawled on the dead body's chest: "Two Left"
Suddenly the crowd spots something atop the building across the street - Marrow! Peter springs to life as Spider-Man and confronts her. It's apparent that Marrow has no recollection of meeting Spidey before, in fact she's talking pretty much like the Hulk (or a WWF wrestler!) referring to herself in the 3rd person all the time. What's going on?
There's a rooftop battle, and Marrow manages to escape by creating a diversion. She pushes a water tower over the edge towards the gathered throng below! Spidey of course has to stop the water tower. Peter switches back to his civvies and laments the fact that he missed his date with Sarah Rushman.
Cut to ESU and Peter's lecturing. Sarah's there, and they go to Starbucks for coffee. Peter mentions the "Coffee Bean", an previous hangout that is in no way as interesting as the "Daily Grind" where much of the supporting cast from the Ben Reilly/Scarlet Spider days were gathered. Darn! I wish Peter had said "Daily Grind" instead of "Coffee Bean"!
Later on, Peter walks Sarah back to her dorm and she invites him up to spend the night. Such frank sexuality in a comic book! Watch Peter Parker squirm! Anyway, Peter sets off home, head full of MJ, when he hears a scream coming from the dorm. After a quick change to Spidey, he bursts into Sarah's room. There are two beefy guys trying to drug her!
Spidey grabs Sarah and swings away, only to be blasted from the sky by a huge energy bolt! It's S.H.I.E.L.D.!! (And if you don't know what THAT stands for by now, you've probably never heard of George W Bush either...)Cute chick with a gun Sharon Carter, Director. She's here to take Sarah into custody. It's now that Spidey realises Sarah and Marrow are the same person!
It unfolds that SHIELD found Sarah hiding in the sewers under Manhattan, and they implanted the false memories of Sarah Rushman to try and help her calm down. They use Marrow to destroy robots. She's the Marvel version of a "Bladerunner(tm)". Spidey hitches a ride with Sharon Carter in the SHIELD hovercraft, searching for Marrow. Which brings us to the Queensboro bridge.
The story ends with Peter ruminating over his first date after losing MJ, and Sarah curled up in the sewers again, in the arms of the huge mutant Hemmingway, who's been searching for her!
Why has Hemmingway been looking for Marrow? I guess it must be an X-title thing, because I didn't even know who Hemmingway was until fellow PPP staffer Mike Fichera kindly set me straight.
I must admit to dropping the X-titles well over a year ago. At the time, Marrow was a new addition to the School for Gifted Youngsters. I had no idea she'd left the Mansion before reading this story. Perhaps this tied up some loose ends left in the X-titles, but it all seemed like a rushed explanation. And a little too convenient as well.
It was an enjoyable outing for Spidey nonetheless. I've not seen him looking so lean and spidery for ages, and I'm a HUGE fan of the "expressionate-eyes" Spidey that Ale Garza has captured so well. Lobdell has a good handle on the character of Peter Parker, certainly way ahead of anything Howard Mackie has trotted out in the last few years.
The jokes were funny, the possibility of romance for our hero was a reminder of the swinging 70s and 80s when Peter was single and living the high life in his apartment in Manhattan. Why do you think this ezine is called Peter Parker's Pad? We all loved those days!
So yeah, there was plenty to like about this story. Looked at in the context of Peter's current life, it perhaps doesn't make a lot of sense, but taken as an entertaining tale featuring Spidey, you can't go wrong!
I'm not a big fan of 1-shot comics in general. I disagree with Marvel's decision to cancel "Webspinners: Tales Of Spider-Man" and replace it with these 1-shot issues, in what seems to be a cheap ploy to cause the fanboys to cough up for a succession of Number 1 comics. And how do you file them in your collection?
However, I couldn't pass this up for the sheer enjoyment of seeing Scott Lobdell's take on the character. Why couldn't we have had this team on Amazing Spider-Man 2 years ago?