Comics : Captain Marvel (Vol. 4) #10

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

These days, Captain Marvel is Genis, son of the late hero Mar-Vell. Like his father, Genis is "gifted" with cosmic awareness but the horrors, inevitabilities and contradictions of being "all-knowing" have driven him mad. Now, Genis is an amoral being with god-like abilities, exploring his options, and uncaring of anyone or anything that gets in his way. His only link to humanity is Rick Jones to whom he is tied, as his father was, with the nega-bands that allow the two of them to switch places, whenever Marvel feels like it (which isn't often). This has become a decidedly adversarial relationship.

In the current story-arc, Genis has decided to take on a serial killer named Karl Coven as his protégé. Rick, who has a history with Coven, is extremely unhappy about this. And then Spider-Man shows up.

In Detail...

"Tango'd Web"
Captain Marvel (Vol. 4) #10
Jul 2003 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man Guest Appearance
Editor:  Andy Schmidt
Writer:  Peter David
Pencils:  Ivan Reis
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Review

Two aliens are engaged in a chase down a rat-infested alley in New York City. The small gray one has clearly angered the large red one whom he refers to as "Master". Captain Marvel and Karl Coven watch this chase. Marvel, who is currently interested in exploring the concept of "the law", decides these two aliens will provide an "excellent test case".

But first Spider-Man gets involved. He hears a woman's scream and goes to investigate. He discovers the sound actually came from "an alien who just screams like a woman". The gray alien, named Tiaango, is on the ground. The red alien stands over him, wielding a nasty-looking whip. Spidey wonders if this is "some sort of whack job psycho-sexual thing or is someone in actual peril". When the red alien turns on him and demands, "Tell me your name, future dead earth creature", the web-slinger replies "J. Jonah Jameson, 475 Riverside Drive, Penthouse".

Okay. So, Spidey grabs Tiaango away from his Master and runs off with him. The Master follows but the chase is interrupted by Genis who collects all the participants together and stages a trial in an alleyway full of crates that can be used as judge's bench and lawyer's tables and so on. (And, oh yeah, meanwhile in the Microverse, Rick Jones has become a "rock god".)

In the trial, Spider-Man serves as defense lawyer for Tiaango while Coven serves as plaintiff lawyer for the Master. The web-slinger tries to put together a stirring defense of freedom when he learns that Tiaango is not the Master's slave at all. The web-slinger was right the first time. The whole thing is a "whack job psycho-sexual thing". The two aliens are lovers. Along the way, Captain Marvel decides to share his cosmic power with serial killer Coven, which is clearly a bad idea. When the Master gets fed up with the whole proceeding, Coven uses the power to get a headlock on the Master and snap his neck. Tiaango runs to his dead lover and mourns. Spidey looks shocked. Captain Marvel adjourns the case.

In General...

Here is the problem with this issue if you're a Spider-Man fan. This is part two of a four-part storyline featuring Genis, Rick Jones, and Coven. By the time Spidey appears, the story is already in progress. By the time Spidey leaves, the story is only half told. In fact, Captain Marvel #11 is already out and Spider-Man is nowhere to be found. There is no mention of Tiaango, either. Both characters have served their purpose and the story has moved on without them. All of which seems a little abrupt.

Still, it's a pleasure to see Peter David writing the web-spinner again. I love the "tell me your name, future dead earth creature" bit and Peter has Spidey's snappy patter down cold. The revelation that the aliens are actually kinky-sex lovers is priceless. For those following the Captain Marvel series, there are some truly shocking moments, most notably Marvel's donation of power to the evil Coven and the subsequent murder of the Master. The whole storyline is looking to be a good one. Too bad Spidey's part in it is so limited.

Overall Rating...

Guest-starring in only part two of a potentially five-web storyline only to be forgotten in part three comes out to about three webs to me.