Web of Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #12

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)

Story 'Law And Order'

Issue 12 picks straight up where 11 left off. Peter and MJ go up to see the state of Pete's flat. It is a total mess and the fire officer tells them it was a smoke bomb that did the damage. Pete's red and blue spidey costume is a bit of a mess ... although he does still have the black costume that the Black Cat made for him (very cool).

Pete is agonising over what he should do but is slightly puzzled when MJ suggests he should have the perpetrators arrested. He admits he has only ever fought back against criminals and not thought about using the police as a first resort.

Shortly afterwards, Pete takes a phone call at home. It is the editor of the Times - the Bugle's main rival. In a really funny exchange, he offers Pete a front page editorial as 'crime buster of the month'. He just has to pose for photos. Despite not being interested in the prestige, or posing with a model, the offer of $1000 eventually swings it for him.

Meanwhile, JJJ is furious ... with Robbie for not using the vigilante story about Pete properly (read issue 11). Robbie admits he let personal reasons affect his judgment.

Next up, Peter does get the gang arrested and ID's them at a parade. Then, back at home, he is cornered by his landlady, Mrs Muggins, who wants rent. Pete loses it and gives her all of his $1000, before instantly regretting it.

Back at the Bugle, Pete gets a hero's welcome. Jameson even congratulates him as a vigilante and says he's always thought of him as a son! This is the best dialogue in the whole two-parter. JJJ endorsing crime-fighters - priceless stuff.

Pete has some thoughts about giving up Spidey and being a hero as himself but gets a phone call from gang (out on bail) who threaten him. This time he really loses it and goes swinging as Spidey to teach them a proper lesson.

Meanwhile, one of the gang member's brothers is a hitman. He says he'll kill Peter and goes to stake out Pete's place with a sniper's rifle. He can't get a clear shot however and after Pete leaves, he decides to go wait in his flat.

MJ is on her way to meet Pete however and walks into the flat just as the gunman is ready to shoot.

As expected though, Spidey shows up just in time (the gang have had second thoughts and filled him in on what's happening). He webs up the gun and the rest of the gang burst in to try and talk the gunman out of any more violence. Next up, the police storm in too. They arrest the gunman.

Spidey has left by now and Peter re-enters the flat as himself. There's a great line where MJ (who knows PP=SM) tells him what's happened in front of the police: "you know how dangerous Spider-Man is!"

Pete sticks up for the gang and says he won't press charges. Because of this the residents turn against him and disband the Peter Parker Patrol. Pete's not sure if he's done the right thing to let the crooks go ...he just wants a normal life.

General Comments

In part two, the dialogue is much better than the first part, though the story itself becomes highly convoluted by the end. Everything happens too fast, which is a shame and just plain stupid considering there's two filler pages of Spidey webbing up the gang and trying to find out what they're up to before they tell him they're trying to stop the gunman brother.

The overall plot itself though continues in the same vein as the first part in examining Spidey's motives and ethics. It's pretty good stuff and much different from a lot of the stories in the preceeding years. I'm not sure (yet) where it is all going to lead (if anywhere) but it's a definite improvement on the norm of Spidey beating everyone up and that being the end of it.

Overall Rating

Under Stan Lee, the comic was always revered for being more realistic than anything else of its day and this is almost a return to that. Spidey isn't just portrayed as someone who can use brute force to always win through and make everything rosy again. His actions have repercussions. This two-parter is really refreshing and I hope, as I continue to read through the Eighties, that the shift in direction is followed up upon.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)