A change is as good as a rest... which is maybe why Marvel don't seem to be willing to settle on a good "bonus" Spider-Man title. While the mainstream titles seem to be able to chug along anywhere between 50 and 500 issues under the same sort of format, the "extra for experts" title that doesn't take continuity too seriously has jumped from "Web-Spinners" to "Tangled Web" to the most recent incarnation - "Spider-Man Unlimited (Vol. 3)", which is a bi-monthly title featuring two separate stories each month by guest creators.
Actually, maybe I spoke too quickly on the "change is as good as a rest", since the title-pickers over there at Marvel HQ don't seem to be quite as good as making changes as I thought... they seem stuck on re-using the "Unlimited" badge, instead of giving it a rest. As well as being rather worn out, it's also confusingly similar to the Ultimate Spider-Man title.
So, we've got a bit of a hint that the marketing isn't too good. But what about the comic itself? Read on...
Spider-Man is doing the bank-holdup-rescue thing, when who should slip into the scene but Slyde... dressed in a funky new black costume (replacing his rather impractical white body-stocking from his appearance however long ago).
Slyde is full of new weapons, and smart wise-cracks, but the poor guys seems clearly out-classed. He has a slippery-suit, but not much else, and he's taking on one of New York's heavy-weight crime fighters. Plus, he's got a new origin story, albeit a rather unconvincing one. His ego is writing checks that the bank of Spidey sure as heck won't cash. What gives?
Well, after a final KO courtesy of the web-slinger, Slyde gives up the explanation in the back of the paddy-wagon that takes him away. Seems he and all his pals are turning 40. His friends are buying sports cars and dating 20-somethings. Slyde, of course, needed something a little more than that to get through his mid-life crisis, and Spidey unwittingly obliged!
This was the backup story in this debut issue, but it really deserved to be the head-liner. It's witty and fresh, in sharp contrast to the A-side tale. In fact, the contrast between the two stories in this issue could hardly be more startling. While Joseph Goodrich chose to dust off a classic and run it through the photocopier, writer Brian Lynch (aided by artists Sean Chen and Sandy Florea) put on his thinking-cap and came up with a fresh little gem of a story, with lashings of wit, and delicious hint of pathos.
Mister Lynch, let me honor your work with four solid webs, and a personal "Thanks".