Comics : Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #513

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This story is part of an Arc: "Spider Sense"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Spider-Man finishes up his guest-starring thing in part two of "Spider-Sense". (Trust me. It's part two even though the opening text page still says "Part 1 of 2".) It begins with a fun cover of Spidey, the Thing, and the Torch having their pictures taken and then picks up where issue #512 left off.

In the last installment, Johnny Storm found himself hugely unpopular with the general public for the first time in his career. He goes to Spider-Man to find out how he copes with being a loser. Spidey sets up a meeting with the Torch at a Hoboken Water Park, then "punks" him by revealing his presence to the vacationers. Unfortunately, Hydro-Man is on the staff at the park and he assumes that the web-slinger and Torch are there to capture him. A fight ensues and the Torch ends up in the kiddie-pool... without any pants.

In Detail...

Fantastic Four (Vol. 1) #513
Oct 2004 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Arc: Part 2 of "Spider Sense"
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Mark Waid
Pencils:  Mike Wieringo
Inker:  Karl Kesel
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Well, it sure looked like the web-slinger was drowning inside Hydro-Man at the end of the last issue but he gets punched by a watery fist into the kiddie-pool at the beginning of this one. While there, he covers Johnny with webbing from his waist to his thighs so that he can cool it with the modesty and get back into the fight. ("It's from my spring collection," says Spidey. "You're a dead man", says the Torch. An exchange that made me laugh out loud.)

But Torchy's lousy Spider-Man-like public image is still haunting him. First the crowd throws things at him, blaming him for starting the fight. Then, in an attempt to track Hydro-Man through the plumbing, he flies into the Women's bathroom, scaring three occupants out. ("You perv!" says one. "You little freak!" says another.) Eventually the Torch finds his clothes and herds Hydro- Man in Spider-Man's direction. The wall-crawler snags Hydro inside the Thing's trenchcoat (which he wore to the park to remain incognito). Since it is made of unstable molecules, the coat holds and the Torch uses his flame to spot-weld the garment shut.

The bad guy is beaten but things haven't improved for the Torch. While kids run up and ask Spider-Man for his autograph, park security comes up to arrest the Torch for using an open flame in public. The ever-compassionate Spider-Man just can't bring himself to stand aside and let Torchy take the heat. (Sorry about that one.) When he sees Squiddy McSquid, the park mascot dangling from the top of a damaged waterslide, he pretends to be out of web fluid and sends the Torch to the rescue instead. (Meanwhile, the forgotten Hydro-Man is rescued by a shadowy figure that looks like the Wizard.)

The Torch rescues Squiddy and, just like that, the status quo is regained. The crowd gives him a big cheer and Squiddy turns out to be an "appreciative chick" inside the costume who gives Johnny her phone number. In an instant, the crowd turns on Spidey for standing by and doing nothing while Squiddy was in danger. But the web-slinger gets one last jab in on Johnny. Webbed to a flagpole is a pair of blue Fantastic Four boxer shorts.

In General...

There's still a lot of fun in this installment with more lines that made me laugh out loud than I usually get in any dozen comics. (Besides the "spring collection" exchange mentioned above, I also laughed at the kid yelling, "Daddy! Daddy! I wanna go on that ride!" while watching the Torch get punched out of the bathroom by Hydro-Man, and Spidey's comment when he feels the fabric of the Thing's trenchcoat by rubbing it up against his (masked) cheek: "Oooooh. Unstable-y.") Somehow, though, the whole thing is a bit of a letdown after the first installment. Maybe it's because the rest of the FF doesn't show up (the Thing has a cameo). Maybe the novelty of the concept has just worn off. Maybe the build-up is better than the battle. Waid and Wieringo still get it right. They just don't get it as right as they did in the last issue.

Oh, and the backup story also finishes up and is also a bit of a letdown but since it is "Spidey-less", I'm not going to discuss it at all.

Overall Rating...

Three webs.