Spider-Man Unlimited (Vol. 3) #10

Background

There's really not much background to give on these self-contained stories. This issue in particular seems to contain stories that highlight Spider-Man's affect on other people (similar to "Tangled Web"), with B-writers and artists. It's kind of like watching a Spider-Man movie made in the eighties...the costumes look bad and the story was scribbled onto notebook paper in crayon. Read on.

Story 'Banner Weblines'

The story opens in the office of J. Jonah Jameson as he interviews a kid he calls Taylor (whose actual name is Tyler, we quickly learn) for a job as his new personal assistant. In his gruff Jameson-style, he grills the kid, insulting his resume and calling him out on his BS answers to questions. Jameson then asks Tyler what he thinks of Spider-Man, and Tyler replies that he doesn't trust him. Jameson announces that he's done here, and Tyler heads for the door. Jameson follows him out, saying he's not going escape this quickly into the job. He shows him his desk and tells him too get to work. Tyler thanks Jonah, and several Bugle employees take bets on how long this assistant will last, the consensus being two weeks.

Days pass, and Jameson and Robbie Robertson argue over who robbed a bank--Chameleon or Spider-Man--and Tyler brings in their coffee. Robbie asks Tyler if he thinks Spider-Man is a savior or menace...and Tyler chooses "menace." Robbie says, "I should have known," and more time passes. Tyler praises his boss's editorial bashing Spidey, and Jameson probes him for a title to the article. Tyler suggests "Webbing of Mass Destruction," and earns himself the right to call Jameson "Mr. Jameson" rather than "sir"...and Jameson calls Robbie to get Tyler a cup of coffee.

Peter walks into Jameson's office to drop off a photo (with his Spidey mask uncharacteristically hanging out of his jacket pocket, I might add) to be greeted by a darkened figure sitting at Jameson's desk, one that tells him that he wants the photograph, and now. Peter throws it out there that Jameson doesn't sound like himself, and Tyler turns his chair around, revealing himself filling in for Jameson, who apparently had to leave for a social event. Introductions are made, and Peter drops off his Spider-Man photo. Tyler then shows Peter the print for the new issue of the Daily Bugle...complete with the photo Peter had just turned in, and a headline that reads "Spider-Man: Vigilante or Hero?"

Peter laments over Jameson's Spidey-bashing, until he looks at Tyler's face and realizes he agrees with Jameson. Peter prods Tyler into revealing that his brother was a police officer who was killed by a super-villain. Peter assures him that not all super-types are bad, and that he knows how Tyler feels, having lost many loved ones himself to super-villains over his career.

Later, as Tyler takes a cab to the printer to print up the latest front page, he's distracted by a loud rumbling. Looking out the window, he sees the Rhino on yet another rampage. Terrified, Tyler jumps out of the car and freezes as the Rhino runs straight for him. Holding up the front page mockup as if to protect himself, he closes his eyes and waits for impact. The Rhino's horn pierces the mockup and stops inches from Tyler's face. Cracking wise all the while, Spider-Man has used his webbing to stop the Rhino in his tracks...then kicks the snot out of him. He asks if Tyler is alright, who replies that he is, and thanks Spidey. Spidey says it's no problem, because that's what he does. Then he asks to see the new Daily Bugle, and remarks that he's pleased with the headline. Tyler takes the mockup back as Spidey swings away, and reads the headline which now, due to Rhino's horn tearing the page, reads, "Spider-Man: Vigilant Hero."

General Comments

I didn't particularly care for this story. There's nothing there that I haven't seen before; there's a guy Peter encounters who doesn't trust Spider-Man, he confronts him first on the subject as Peter, and later as Spider-Man, and guy suddenly changes his mind when he's saved by the very person he despised. Very cliché. Stack on top of that the fact that I didn't like the way the artist portrayed our hero in either his civilian or hero identity, and this story is simply sub-par. In fact, the only thing good I have to say about "Banner Weblines" is that I enjoyed the wordplay of the "Vigilante or Hero?" versus "Vigilant Hero." But that's ruined by the fact that the panel that revealed the new headline cut off the end, embarrassingly trying to hide the fact that the headline actually read, "Vigilant Hero?"...a question, rather than an announcement.

Overall Rating

One and a half web because...well, I really already said it all up there.