Spider-Man Tangled Web #15

Background

He's a super. He's also a wannabe super-villain. She's his fifteen-year-old daughter. What happens when she learns the truth? As it turns out, not much.

Story 'The Collaborator'

Late onebnight, in a run-down building somewhere in New York, a super is hard at work. But he's not replacing drywall, fixing a leaky radiator, or anything of the sort. He is designing a super-villain outfit. And planning his first strike. Much to the chagrin of his tenants, who are tired of his neglect, Mr. Krolnek finishes his work and marches back upstairs to his apartment, ignoring the complaints.

As he enters, he hears loud music. He walks into his daughter's bedroom to find young Heather Krolnek jumping up and down on the bed. Worse yet, a large poster of Spider-Man is on the wall. Her father flies into a rage and tears it to shreds, ordering his daughter to sleep. As soon as she believes he's asleep, however, Heather gathers the scraps of poster together and lovingly tapes them back up onto the wall.

A few minutes later, while listening to music through her headphones, a news bulletin comes over the radio about an attack on a downtown bank. The attacker, "wearing what appears to be a weaponized exoskeleton... calls himself the Stag Beetle." Heather, excited at the prospect of seeing her first super-villain, throws on some clothes, hops on her bike, and heads to the scene.

At the bank, the Stag Beetle is effortlessly holding the police at bay. While Heather sneaks inside, one officer sets up a wicked looking cannon and fires a burst directly into the SB's chest. The projectile ricochets off him and blows up a police car. While the cops ponder their next move, the SB limps off into the bank, having apparently suffered more damage than the police thought. As Heather watches, the SB drags a Jets duffel bag full of money behind him down the back stairwell.

Cue Spider-Man. As Heather ponders her next move, the web-slinger pounces down from a nearby wall in front of her, not saying a word. Heather tells her which way the SB went, and Spidey flips off in pursuit. Heather gives chase, then realizes she saw that same Jets bag the SB was carrying earlier that night. In the hands of her father.

"DAD!"

General Comments

Ugh.

This comic is a waste of money. There's no resolution, or even much of a plot. The art is scratchy and cluttered. Even the sound effect words look stupid (a large "SLAP" and "FLIPT" take up a good third of the panel in Spidey's brief appearance.) Worst of all is Spider-Man himself. He's drawn in a very threatening manner, like he's on the verge of ripping poor Heather limb from limb if she doesn't cooperate. And this is Spidey?

Well, actually, this is the story of young Heather Krolnek, daughter of a super-villain. And it's a story we've already seen before. It's a story we've seen told better, too. Anybody who's picked up a comic book before knows who the Stag Beetle is going to be, yet the "surprise revelation" is the story's climactic moment? One could argue that the focus of the story is Heather's reaction to learning the truth, and I'd agree...

... if we ever got to SEE Heather's reaction! All we get is one loud "DAD!" and the story's done. When I first read this, I thought it was going to be a two-parter. Nope, this is the entire, self-contained story. Some schmuck pulls on a stupid outfit and terrorizes a bank. Oh yeah, he's a jerk to his kid. That's it? The first five pages are devoted solely to Mr. Krolnek building his outfit; Spidey gets two and poor Heather's big moment at the end gets less. Bad pacing, lame idea. By the way, why is this story called "The Collaborator?" The only collaborating in the entire issue was Heather telling Spidey where to go. Okay, maybe Paul Pope is trying to show how she feels for blowing the whistle on dear old Dad, but (AGAIN) the story cuts off before we learn anything! Give us two more pages to show the father being led off in handcuffs; let Heather watch and let them see each other, or something. ANYTHING other than just leaving the story unfinished like Pope did!

Getting back to the art, it's a smudgy mess. That may be intentional--the Krolneks' entire life appears to be a smudgy mess--but it just made a bad story worse. If this is the best Paul Pope has to offer, I'll pass.

Overall Rating

I'll give it one web and call that generous. After so many good issues, this one was a complete letdown.