Web of Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #18

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

Story 'The Longest Road'

  Web of Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #18
Summary: Missing In Action, Peter Returns Home
Arc: Part 3 of 'Missing In Action' (1-2-3)
Editor: Jim Owsley
Writer: David Michelinie
Pencils: Marc Silvestri
Inker: Kyle Baker
Cover Art: Mark Beachum

MJ is wondering where Pete's been at when he arrives at her door - in a tattered Spidey outfit and looking quite a mess. After a shower and meal and deciding he's going to have to use the black costume from now on he reveals he's been in jail. Cue flashback...

Spidey managed to escape the crumbling mountain ... just ... but his costume was all-but destroyed and one of his web-shooters wrecked. He manages to stumble across a coat he can use but doesn't want to talk to the police at the scene in case they ask too many questions. He tries to hitch-hike back NYC. After being dropped off in some backwater town and steals a pie out of someone's window (what is this, Garfield?!) While sat in an alley eating away, he is arrested (presumably for theft but possibly as a vagrant) and taken to the local jail.

He gives his name as Mr Jameson (ho ho ho) and spends a night in the cells. After demonstrating his strength to warn off the other prisoners, he attracts the attention of the sheriff who, the next day, takes him out to some house out of the way owned by a Mr DuPaul. Pete is suddenly involved in some kind of Running Man-type game where he has to escape while DuPaul will hunt him.

Pete thinks it is weird (true!) but figures he should get away easy. He doesn't bank on some sort of remote-control flying saucer gunship though! As Pete struggles to escape, the deputy sheriff bursts in on the control room where DuPaul and the Sheriff are directing things. She tries to arrest the pair of them but has little luck ... until Pete bursts in and lays the smack down on DuPaul and the sheriff. The deputy does arrest them this time and lets Pete go. He manages to cling onto the top of a lorry all the way back to ... the present.

He next day, he is back at the Bugle and tells Jonah and Joy that he was trapped in the tunnels but eventually got out and managed to hitch a lift back (leaving out the whole jail part!) He just said he was dazed and confused after the explosion to cover himself. Jonah is sympathetic... well kind of ... and gives Pete a whole DAY off (woo!). Joy drops another hint about Pete 'always being where the action is'.

Finally, Pete is at the train station. All of a sudden he is pushed in front of an oncoming train by a mystery assailant. He manages to get out of the way but is left badly shaken because, as we see in the final panel, his spider- sense didn't warn him.

General Comments

Although we end with another cliffhanger - a good one at that - this is the final part of the Missing In Action trilogy. The three parts have complimented each other nicely - the first as the set-up full of intrigue, the second full of action and this one with a fair amount of both.

The whole human hunt thing was a bit silly but not enough to upset the apple cart. The entire third part though does seem to exist only to justify the cliffhanger at the end of part two. Everything could have been achieved with much the same result if Pete had got to safety with Charla, Joy and Seth at the end of part two. That's not much of an ending I guess though!

Overall Rating

I like the soap opera, strong ending, formula at the moment though. Even though the final part of the story itself wasn't that strong, you still feel compelled to get the next issue. Has Spidey lost his spider-sense for good? Who pushed him? Is it just that person who interfered with his sense? How much does Joy know about Peter/Spider-Man? How far does the Roxxon link go? Is Magma dead? All questions unanswered, which, in this case, works well.

The art is steadily improving and although I still don't like the washed-out backgrounds, it does set it aside from the other books. Editor Jim Owsley also seems to have a nice direction planned for where the unanswered plot threads are going too.


Incidentally, if you do want to know who or what pushed Spidey, check out Web Of Spider-Man #24 and then Amazing Spider-Man #388 (Story 2: The Lost Days).

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