In 1985, Marvel published the first issue of The Web of Spider-Man. As the third Spider-Man title at the time, it ran for 10 years before the events of the original Clone Saga caused it to be canceled and renamed The Web of the Scarlet-Spider.Â Is it ironic that we have come full circle?
Kaine in Echoes
Written by J.M. Dematteis
Art by Val Semeiks and Dan Green
The Spectacular Spider-Girl in Angels & Devils
Written by Tom Defalco
Art by Tom Frenz and Sal Buscema
The Last Stand of the Fabulous Frog-Man
Written by Sean McKeever
Art by Stephanie Buscema
Like many Marvel titles, it has been a while since I picked up a Spider-Man book. As a matter of fact, the last one was the shortly after the conclusion of One More Day, and I was more than a little curious about this new Web of Spider-Man title. You see, back in the day, the first Web of Spider-Man was a regular read for me, and I was curious if this new anthology style title would measure up.
Split into three stories, it has been reported that this series is supposed to be a place to tell the stories of Spider-Man’ supporting cast and his villains, especially in preparation for the upcoming Gauntlet storyline. We jump right into to the mix with the first story, Echoes, starring Kaine, of the infamous Clone Saga. Not only does this story, by one of the original Clone Sage scribes J.M. Demattis, give us an update on the status of Kaine, but it also leads us into a new storyline in Spider-Man 608. It seems that Kaine’s degeneration is killing him, and as he reflects on his past, he discovers what he needs for his future. J. M. Dematties sets an interesting story, and there are appearances by Ben Rielly, Jackle, Peter Parker, and even Kaine’s lost love Louise. Val Semeiks’ art here has the feel of many past Spider-Man titles, and reminds me a little of Alex Saviuk of the original Web of Spider-Man series. I enjoyed the story and the update on the character, and if you plan on reading Amazing #608 you might want to pick this one up, as Kaine reappears in it.
The second title is, in my opinion, the gem of the book. It features the return of May “Mayday” Parker, aka Spider-Girl! Again, I just did not read much Spider-Girl, but the little title that could was one that I always felt was just good old entertainment in the vein of the older Spider titles. This one picks up, presumably, from Amazing Spider-Man Family #8. I cannot be sure of that, but it is nice to have the page worth of catch-up that we are provided with. It gave me a lot of information, especially in regards to April Parker. The last time I read Spider-Girl, I believe that she had just begun to stalk May.Â Things start off here pretty grim, as May is chained after being beaten almost to death by Tombstone, April has killed Tombstone, and The Black Tarantula proposes a deal with The Don that could end the gang war. Oh yeah, and by the end of the story, Spider-Girl is wanted for two murders. Add in the return of an old enemy and you got a bang up book. If you are still upset about One More Day, check this book out, since Peter and MJ are still married here; its kinda nice to at least see that some. Tom Frenz and Sal Busema deliver the great art of this issue, and if anything gets me to pick this book up again, it will be Mayday Parker!
The last story is a quirky little tale by Sean McKeever and Stephanie Buscema, granddaughter of Sal Buscema. Featuring the return of Frog-Man and introducing, The Tenacious Tadpole, there is not a lot to say with this story. Sean McKeever is at his irreverent best here, and I laughed out-loud more than once. The moral of this story is that anyone could be someones idol. Stephenie Buscema’s art threw me at first glance, but once I got into the story it just seemed as normal as could be. I’m not saying a lot about this one, but don’t take that as a dis. I enjoyed the story, there is just not a lot to talk about, its just a cute, fun story. Great ending after the heavy subject matter of the first two stories. I actually would read this one to my daughter.
So, there you have it, the first issue of the new Web of Spider-Man series. Taking into account that they are using this as a building block for future Spidey stories, and it is the new home of Spider-Girl, this may be one to watch out for. All three stories have good art, and each has a little something different for everyone. As a general rule, the anthology as a format doesn’t normally last long, and seeing what just happened recently to the Amazing Spider-Man Family book, I have to wonder how this one will last. Personally, I love anthologies, give me multiple stories to read in an issue and I am in comic heaven. That being said, I am giving Web of Spider-Man #1Â 4 out of 5 stars.