Spider-Man Family (Vol. 2) #8 (Story 1)

 Posted: 2008

Story 'In THIS Episode...'

It's just an ordinary, average day. Peter Parker is happily teaching his science class at ESU when suddenly the ground shakes and his spider-sense blares. Outside, a giant robot is running a rampage, and after getting his students out of the room Peter ducks out to become Spider-Man to face it. Unfortunately, it proves a bit resilient against his spider powers.

At Stark Labs, Tony Stark has just finished building a new, massive suit of armor as he ponders what his friend, Jim Rhodes, told him earlier about becoming a recluse in his lab. His musings end, though, when he receives a phone call about the trouble in town. A quick change later, and Stark becomes Iron Man!

Unable to affect the machine directly, Spidey has resorted to crowd control, pulling bystanders out of the path of destruction. An unlucky piece of debris downs the web-head, and just as it looks like the robot is about to finish him Iron Man zooms in for the save. Iron Man helps Spidey up and tells him that the robot is called Arsenal, a robot built as a sleeper device in WWII in case the Axis won the war, but that this was a version he's never seen before. Spidey asks how to stop it, and Iron Man's answer is simply to pulverize it. Unfortunately, the robot is a bit too powerful for even Iron Man's might.

Spidey notices that there's no logic behind the attack pattern, and Iron Man agrees. He performs a scan to discover the robot is being controlled remotely. Before he can track the signal, though, a whole legion of Arsenals show up blasting. As the heroes fight, Iron Man's armor finishes its scan. Leaving Spidey behind as a distraction, he heads to the source of the signal; the room of two teenaged boys! One had created a program to find games on the internet, while the other had to modify it some to get it to work. Together, they inadvertently hacked into Stark's mainframe and activated the Arsenal program created by Tony's father Howard.

Spidey does his best to stay alive until Iron Man returns. He finally does, wearing the new armor he just finished building, which is able to stand up to the Arsenals. He tells Spidey they need to take the fight to the Arsenal mainframe, and the heroes are off. At the mainframe, Iron Man tells Spidey all they need to do is connect a device to it and upload a virus into the system. But, Arsenals are ready for them and attack. Iron Man holds it off as he sends Spidey to plant the device. Unfortunately, he ends up with trouble of his own. Meanwhile, Iron Man tries to reason with Arsenal, explain that its function is obsolete, only to get through and find some of his father in the programming. A logic paradox is created, and Arsenal activates a self-destruct sequence in the complex. However, as this is comics (and Spidey's book) the heroes manage to escape in the nick of time.

The two teens are in trouble with their parents, but Stark, seeing potential in them, offers (as Iron Man) to enroll them in an internship at Stark Enterprises. He then thanks Spidey for his help, saying they make a great team, and offering to improve his costume. Spidey declines as he swings away, saying he'd rather keep it real.

General Comments

The modular armor was an interesting choice for this story. For those comic geeks that aren't entirely geeky, that's the armor that was in the comics during the early to mid 90s, the Iron Man cartoon, and any Marvel video game made by Capcom at the same time. What makes it so interesting was that most things Iron Man make use of the current armor featured in his main book (also known as the Extremis armor, even though the design hasn't changed from its last incarnation). Also featured was a slightly modified version of the Hulkbuster armor, except without the purpose of fighting the Hulk.

With that out of the way, on to the story itself; which was nothing incredibly spectacular (no pun intended). It was a straight-forward almost generic team- up story that has been done before (including a similar concept most recently in the pages of Marvel Adventures Iron Man). Some of the dialogue transitions poorly in some panels, and a couple jokes suffered because of this. Also, the fact that Stark invented a new armor that just HAPPENED to be what was needed to face the Arsenal robots was bad enough on its own, but then you have the fact that it was barely even put to use before the story was over. One nice touch was the jab at the Iron Spider armor (which Spidey wore during Civil War). Oh, how little did Spidey realize he would one day wear that suit he turned down...

The artwork was decent. Ray Height has a cartoonish style that fluctuates between that and a more realistic appeal. In fact, his style is very reminiscent of that which dominated Marvel in the 90s (adding more 90s appeal here). Fans of the likes of 'Ringo may enjoy this style more than most. One odd thing, though, was the 'do that Peter was rocking before he put on his Spidey duds. It was a new look for him, and one hopefully short lived.

Overall Rating

3 Webs. An entertaining story with good artwork, but fell victim to the "been there done that" syndrome and convenient plot devices.

 Posted: 2008