The Revolution started boycotting Spider-Man after the “Brand New Day” fiasco. But due to our followers requests, I have given it another chance. You will find Bunker Bulletins for most of the current storyline, “Character Assassination”. I liked the first four chapters but wanted to see how the story was wrapped up. If the ending was good, it would give me hope for the direction Spidey was headed.
Since it is one of our core titles, this will be the first full fledged review I give to everyone’s favorite web-slinger (anybody out there remember the Slingers title Marvel published?).
Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Klaus Janson and Tom Palmer
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Recap: The public believed that Spider-Man was guilty of numerous murders. The police kept finding spider-tracers on dead bodies around New York. His friend, Carlie Cooper, discovered that it was a police conspiracy. Several policemen wanted to frame Spidey so they could stop him from being a vigilante. One of the cops was Pete’s roommate, Vin Gonzales. He felt guilty and turned on the others. The police arrested Carlie and Vin and pinned the murders on them.
Spider-Man has been fighting a Green Goblin like villain called Menace. It turns out that Menace is really Harry Osborn’s girlfriend, Lily Hollister. She discovered one of the Goblin’s hideouts and used the treatments on herself. She is able to transform into Menace at will. She did it to terrorize the public into supporting her father in the mayoral race. Her father took a big lead in the election.
Harry proposed to Lily only to discover that she was Menace. He was devastated. Harry gets out his old Green Goblin gear. There is only one thing he can do now.
Menace defeats Spider-Man but does not kill him. He is left for the police to arrest. Spider-Man is taken to Ryker’s Island. Matt (Daredevil) Murdock appears and defends Pete’s right to privacy. During the discussion, Matt slips Pete a web-shooter. Pete is left in his costume. Unfortunately, he was shot in the arm by one of the police. Now the inmates have paid off the guards and have Spider-Man and Vin (a policeman) all to themselves.
Synopsis: Vin has suffered a major beating. Spider-Man takes on all the inmates by himself while trying to protect Vin. He uses his web-shooter to web the inmates to the floor. All this time he is complaining about the poor state of security when he can have a web-shooter in prison. He picks up Vin and asks if he voted yet. Vin hasn’t. So Spidey leaps to the next level to break out with Vin. He blocks off the entrance with webbing. Behind them, someone yells freeze.
In Hollister campaign headquarters…Lily is bragging about her father’s victory in the election. He tells her not to get overconfident. Carlie breaks in to tell them the police are after her for a crime they committed.
On a nearby rooftop…Harry is looking at a goblin mask and glider. He is thinking how it is not a crime to become the Goblin to stop his girlfriend (or fiancee). There is no crime in any of this except for how good it feels to put the mask on.
Back at Ryker’s…the person who yelled freeze is the one policeman who was nice to Spidey. He feels bad as he takes out the policeman. He busts out the window. Spider-Man swings away with Vin on his back. They land on a police van. Spider-Man hot wires it and they escape.
Back at campaign headquarters…Carlie tells the Hollisters about the police being behind the “Spider-Tracer killings”. The police enter to arrest her.
In the van…Vin starts to tell Spider-Man about the conspiracy.
At Hollister HQ…the police are taking Carlie into custody. Mr. Hollister tries to stop them. They remind him that he is not the mayor yet. In the background, Lily is getting angry.
Spider-Man leaves the van for Vin to escape in. A report came in of Menace attacking policemen. Lily lost her temper, became Menace, and is firebombing the police car while yelling at the police to leave her friend alone. Carlie escapes during the confusion. A signpost flies through the air, spearing Menace’s glider. Spider-Man picks Menace up from the crash. Menace gases him and starts to beat him up.
Menace says this time Spider-Man will die. Spidey thinks it was a good way to end his career by freeing Vin and Carlie. Menace is ready to kill Spider-Man with a signpost. Pete thinks of Gwen. A syringe is shot at Menace. Menace grabs it out of the air. It was shot by Harry.
Menace wants to know what Harry’s chemicals were going to do. Spider-Man says let’s find out. He grabs Menace’s hand and forces the needle into him. The chemicals turn Menace back into Lily. The news crews have been broadcasting the entire fight.
Hollister is watching on tv when the news arrives. He won the election. Tears stream down his face as he watches his daughter get arrested. Harry picks up Spider-Man and flies him to safety.
Vin finds Carlie and they head to the home of the officer who led the conspiracy. He is afraid that Vin will shoot him. Vin arrests him.
Pete finds Harry at Harry’s coffee shop. Harry crying. He tells Pete that he was going to marry Lily. They were going to raise a family. He wants to know if Pete thinks they are cursed. Pete says that Harry is cursed by the sins of his father. But everyone is cursed by their parents burdens. Pete lost the man who was like a father to him. MJ’s father abused her. Carlie’s father drinks. And obviously, Lily has father issues that led her to become Menace to gain favor in his eyes.
Peter’s point is that they all have burdens to bear. The big question is what do they do about it? A curse is only something if they let it defeat them. If he thought Harry would give in to the Osborn curse, he could never be his friend. They agree that they are both glad they are friends.
Hollister refuses to take office.
Norman Osborn appears in jail to talk to Lily. He tells her she is just getting started. And the police found something on her. An engagement ring that belonged to Norman’s wife. He welcomes her into the family.
The Good: Wow. What an ending to numerous on-going storylines. Guggenheim does a great job of capturing Spider-Man’s personality. Despite overwhelming odds, Pete keeps on fighting. And all the while he keeps his sense of humor. At just the right times to lighten the mood, Guggenheim has Spidey come off with a funny comment. This is the way Spidey should be written.
I loved the way Guggenheim showed the conflict raging through Harry’s mind. Harry knows he has to become the Goblin to stop his girlfriend. But he is afraid of giving in to his dark side. I was worried they were going to use this story to have Harry become the villainous Goblin again. It was good to see him help Spider-Man instead of fighting him. Without Harry, Pete would have lost to Menace.
The scenes at the end in the coffee shop show why Pete and Harry are such good friends. Instead of letting Harry become obsessed with his problems, Pete explains how everyone has problems. His talk about what they do with their problems shows that not only are people a victim of their circumstances, they can determine their own path for the future. This demonstrated how Pete understands what a real hero does. With Pete’s help, Harry should be fine.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Lily. When Norman Osborn takes a personal interest in you, it is always trouble. I am sure that Menace will return with Norman’s help.
Now we have to wait and see who the new mayor is in the wake of Hollister’s refusal. The other open plotline is the fate of Vin Gonzales. I guess next issue will tell.
It was fun to see Romita inked by Janson and Palmer. Romita turned in some classic drawings. Such as Spider-Man against the mob and the whole sequence of the final battle with Menace.
The Bad: In some panels, the art looked rushed. Overall it was a good job but the backgrounds tended to be a little weak.
Overall: A very good finale. I recommend picking up the trade if you missed the individual issues.