Web of Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #39

 Posted: 2005
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)

Story 'Petty Crimes'

We start with an ominous scene of a knifeman standing over a woman vagrant. He's ready to do some damage when Spidey – who, care of ASM300, is back in the red and blue – jumps in. Spider-Man still has the 'Die Spinne' on his back as he got the suit in Europe during the vs Wolverine one-shot.

As he's webbing up the crook, the bag lady starts pulling on a thread dangling from his costume and ends up pulling off half of the back section! Spidey swings off, telling he to call the police for the knife guy.

Elsewhere and Nathan Lubensky (who has been out of the books since Web Of 24 but recently returned in ASM300) is missing May. He tells a tramp on the street that he doesn't know the time as his watch is at home and the tramp promptly goes and breaks in to steal it.

In Pete and MJ's new apartment, Pete is trying to fix his costume without much luck. MJ calls one of her favourite designers and asks him to make Pete a costume for a fancy dress party. Pete then calls May and is told about a break-in at Nathan's.

The tramp that broke into Nathan's also stole a diamond ring – his and May's engagement ring. Pete comes by to help him clean up and the next day, fresh with his new costume, he goes around to the pawn shops to see what people have been selling.

Spidey eventually comes across the right shop … while the tramp is trying to pawn the ring. The tramp runs and escapes quicker than a regular person, leaving Spider-Man perplexed. We see the 'tramp' fishing a purple costume from a back alley…

Between Pete and Nathan, they work out that the tramp is Norton Fester – The Meteorman (who was last seen in Spectacular 41). Pete ran into him near Aunt May's the previous evening and puts two and two together. He rushes off to May's.

He battles Meteorman to submission and Nathan turns up. Nate retrieves his ring from Fester and tells May he still wants to marry her.

General Comments

The start is really good and simple. There's not too much time wasted on Spidey beating up some random crook and the part where the bag lady pulls apart his costume from Europe is pretty funny. After that, it's pretty standard fair – which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

It's good to see Nathan back, if only as a support character to May, so that Pete doesn't feel so tied to her. The pencils and inks of Alex Saviuk and Keith Williams respectively are as solid as always. Despite being his costume for the first 20-odd years, it's refreshing to see Spidey back in the red and blue and the style of the art really brightens up the pages.

This is the last of the one-off story types for a while, with the 4-part Cult Of Love arc imminent. In a way it signals the direction that Marvel is embarking on. These single issue tales are more or less a thing of the past nowadays (2004), with longer storylines, intended to become TPB's, the style.

Bringing back the Meteorman here was perhaps good for us nostalgia freaks who've read most Spidey stuff but it doesn't really signal much in the longer term. And, as Bill Shakespeare once wrote: once a weak villain, beaten in one issue, always a weak villain beaten in one issue.

Overall Rating

Solid and pretty much faultless, just unspectacular.

 Posted: 2005
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)