Marvel Age: Spider-Man #8

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)


Todd Dezago landed a knockout punch in his first appearance as writer of these updated Lee/Ditko works. Can he keep the momentum going?

Story 'The Man Called Electro!'

Max Dillon gets struck by lightning and becomes the electrically-charged super- villain called Electro. He first uses his powers to short-circuit ATMs and then graduates to blasting open bank vaults. J. Jonah Jameson gets the idea that Electro and Spider-Man are the same person since they haven't been seen together. One of the reasons for this is that Peter Parker is spending most of his time at the hospital watching over Aunt May who has had an attack. Peter needs money since the hospital room is costing his over three hundred dollars a night. He takes on Electro and gets beaten, then takes him on again (this time at the Daily Bugle where JJJ sees firsthand that the two super-characters are not the same man) and defeats him by dropping him into some water. Peter sells his photos to Jameson, earning the money for May's hospital stay.

General Comments

I've never liked the way Stan concocted these surgical procedures for Aunt May that were supposed to miraculously do the trick and which would take such a chunk out of Peter's wallet. Todd takes care of that problem by having the high costs apply simply to the hospital room itself. I'm also fond of the idea of Electro beginning his career by attacking ATMs and of Jonah seeing for himself that Spidey and Electro are two different people.

But other than that, the issue is a real letdown after Todd's last issue debut. A lot of that disappointment is just the nature of the modern comic. We've all known for a while that today's comics contain a fraction of the plot of an issue of the average Silver Age book, mostly because the artwork is more interested in pretty pictures than advancing the story. In the present case, Michael O'Hare's artwork is too cartoonish for my tastes (When Electro zaps the ATM security guard, the resulting panel looks so much like something out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon that it is neither horrifying nor amusing.) and all the nice details of the original get left out in the race to the finish.

And what's with the art in the scene where Spidey short-circuits Electro with water? Where does that water come from? I realize that the fire department is down on the street but we never get a sense of what they're doing. If they are shooting the water up at the building (which I assume is the case), then Michael should show it to us. Otherwise it looks like Spidey conjured up a wall of water out of thin air. Not that it matter much. Nothing would be as dramatic as the scene in the original when Spidey turns on a fire hose and sprays it right at Electro, short-circuiting him. It beats me why you'd want to eliminate an powerful image like that.

Overall Rating

Still some good stuff from Todd but nowhere near enough to make it worth reading. Let's call it a sophomore slump and hope for better next issue.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)