Web of Spider-Man #23

Background

Peter and Joy are on their way back from an assignment in England and Ireland where they uncovered a scam to sell weapons by the Roxxon corporation.

Story 'Slip Slydin' Away'

We start on a plane with Joy and Pete returning from the UK. Joy lambasts Pete for the quality of his work and says she knows about his 'deal' with Spidey (to take pics and split the profit) and is annoyed that he only went to England with her because he knew Spidey was going to show up.

There's a mildly amusing scene where the flight attendant sees Pete and then Joy emerging from the plane's bathroom shortly after each other. After they arrive back in NYC, Pete and Joy are getting shouted at by Jonah for over- using their expense accounts. He quickly changes his tune, however, when he sees what they've uncovered - another funny scene.

As Pete goes to leave the Bugle, Slyde slips out also (separately - Pete doesn't see him). He has stolen some documents from an office upstairs. Pete changes into his costume to go swinging (not like that, those of you with a filthy mind). He picks up a copy of the Bugle and sees Silver Sable's ad (this leads into Amazing 281 and clears up my gripe about continuity from my review of issue 22)

Shortly after Pete visits Aunt May and agrees to go on a weekend visit to Atlantic City with her. We then see a quick recap about the origin of Slyde (Amazing 272, I think). Slyde has stolen the documents from the Bugle to find out some information on a finance journalist called Carl Jenkins as well as some info about some money exchanges being made.

He steals the money and escapes into the city where he is spotted by Pete, who has just bought some chocolates for Mary-Jane. Slyde rushes into Trump Tower, with Spidey hot on his heels. Spidey manages to salvage the cash but Slyde gets away. As Spidey goes back to get his clothes from his webbed bag-thing outside, all the chocs have melted over his clothes. Curse that Parker luck!

In the epilogue we're in Atlantic City and The Vulture is patrolling the skies...

General Comments

I'm glad the writers have finally addressed Joy asking about the link between Pete and Spidey. Their explanation of her thinking Pete has deal with Spidey, whereby Spidey tips him off about his appearances and Pete shares the profits from his pics with him, ring true to a certain degree - as with the entire Bugle crew in the early 'Amazing's'. But ultimately, in her case, it just doesn't seem quite right.

You can understand why this reasoning worked in the early days at the Bugle as Spidey's pics were (almost) always taken in NYC. But Joy has now seen Spidey in three other places - England, Ireland and Virginia. As an investigative reporter, who is supposedly deep into taking on a multi-national corporation in Roxxon, she must be STUPID not to see that Pete is Spidey. I'm talking about George Dubya Bush stupid.

Quite clearly she isn't, so the whole reasoning just reeks of a whitewash. I can see that the writers might not want another character to know Pete's secret but then why go through so much effort to introduce Joy as a character?

Aside from that, the story was very much in the 'OK' league. There's nothing in the way of overall storyline development and is a very mediocre self-contained issue. The Vulture is back in the next issue - his first proper appearance since Web Of 3. That story was poor with a ridiculous ending where the Vulture had been involved in Spidey's defeat but just left him on a roof. Let's just hope writers David Michelinie and Len Kaminski do a better job than Louise Simonsen did .

Overall Rating

Everything about this issue says average. Joy's conclusions about Spidey/Pete are a very easy way out of a storyline that's crossed over six or seven issues. The art is OK, similarly the script.