Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #16

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeff English (E-Mail)


Well, the Parker luck's at it again. His wife's missing, he can't afford his apartment, he's been fired from this job at Tricorp, and he can't sell Spidey pictures at the Daily Bugle.

So where does that leave Peter Parker?

Story 'Cliche'

A gang of goons in blue hi-tech armor is robbing a bank, when Spider-Man drops from the sky and teaches them the error of their ways. The crowd watching is mortified by the web-slinger, and the cops fire at him as he escapes, as Peter gripes to himself about the situation the entire time. He decides to go "home", which is a scummy motel, since he and Aunt May couldn't afford the rent at their other place without MJ's help. Pete tries to sleep, but finds that he cannot, so he puts the Spider-suit back on and swings out into the night. Almost immediately, he is covered in ink by the Squid, a member of a gang of throw-away villains (at least I hope they throw them away) called the Wicked Brigade (other members include Ms. Fortune, Ogre, Lightning Fist, and the apparent leader, Razor Wire). Before Spidey can totally clean their clocks, the entire group is blasted by a Doctor Doom wannabe called Master Monarch.

Spidey managed to avoid Monarch's deluge, and he decides to go to the Daily Bugle and find out from Ben Urich who these new players in the New York crime scene are. Arriving at the Bugle, the wall-crawler finds the lights off and the entire staff hiding under their desks. Spidey locates Urich, who informs him that Venom has infiltrated the Bugle building. The V-Man, still peeved about his brief association with the Sinister Six, decides to take some of his mad out on Spidey. The two tussle, until the leader of that afore-mentioned Sinister Six, the Sandman, pops in, saying that Spidey should help him beat Venom. Spidey doesn't really get a chance, since Vennie goes right at Sandman and bites a big chunk of sand right out of his side. Apparently, this is bad news for Sandy, who scuttles away, moaning that he'll fall apart after losing that chunk of sand mass. Venom turns his attention back to Spidey, but Ben Urich tosses the web-head a cigarette lighter. Spidey uses the flame to drive Venom away. Everyone at the Bugle congratulates Ben as the hero, and Jonah comes flying out of his office to harass Spidey. Meanwhile, Spidey suddenly remembers that he was supposed to take Aunt May to the doctor's.

He webs Jonah's mouth shut so that he can use the phone in peace, and calls his Aunt, who informs him that the appointment is actually tomorrow. Spidey leaves the Bugle building, and we cut to an alley, where Peter Parker is going to drop his mask into a burning oil drum. He's about to let it go, when he decides "Being Spider-Man is kinda cool!" He decides go to back home, commenting to himself that the only cliché that didn't happen today was a case of hero vs. hero over a silly mistake. Just as soon as he finishes the thought, he accidentally steps into a box of donuts belonging to the ever-lovin', blue-eyed Thing.


General Comments

This was basically your "Day in the Life of Spider-Man" story, and Mackie gets away with using yet another cliché Spidey story by having Spidey narrate the whole thing, pointing out how sick and tired he is of living all these clichés all the time. The story worked pretty well. The Wicked Brigade was so lame that they were entertaining. Unfortunately, despite Sandman's major presence on the cover, he basically has a cameo, as he appears in only five panels (and in two of those, he's melting). I mean, they could have put the Squid on the cover! He was in the book just as long!

JRJR's art was as good as ever. One thing about his Venom really bugs me though... those gigantic hands. I think that Venom should be basically human-shaped (except for the mouth), and that Carnage should be the one who's really weird-shaped. But other than that, JRJR's Venom, and the rest of his art, is spectacular.

Overall Rating

The PP:SM creative team does it again. Another solid issue. Nothing ground-breaking, but nothing too bad, either. Here's hoping they can keep it up. Three and a half webs.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Jeff English (E-Mail)