Comics : Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #10

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This story is part of an Arc: "Spidey's Totally Tiny Adventure"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Spectacular Beginnings

This review was first published on: Jun 2015.

Background...

This is part two of “Spidey’s Totally Tiny Adventure”, the serial that ran through all of Spider-Man’s annuals in 1990.

In Detail...

"Into The Microverse"
Spectacular Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #10 (Story 1)
Year 1990 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "Spidey's Totally Tiny Adventure"
Editor:  Jim Salicrup
Writer:  Gerry Conway, Stan Lee
Pencils:  Rich Buckler
Inker:  Mike Manley
Cover Art:  Steve Lightle
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 Reprinted In: Legends Vol. 2: Todd McFarlane (TPB)
Articles: Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Prowler, Silver Sable

Spidey (who has been shrunk down to the size of an ant, remember) has somehow made it home to his SoHo apartment. I’m assuming Ant-Man (who he met in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #24) gave him a flying ant escort because webslinging across Manhattan at his current size would take several days at the least! Mary Jane is there and is understandably freaked out. Our hero makes a few lame jokes and hops around a lot to keep his wife from cracking up at the news that he is still shrinking!

During his antics he knocks over a flour jar and makes Mary Jane sneeze – which, of course, launches our hero right out the open window he came in from! While flying through the air he lands on and subsequently is attacked by a pigeon. (What is it with Spider-Man and pigeons? For more hot pigeon-on-Spider-Man actions see my review of MTU #47.) He works himself free from the bird’s clutches and is unceremoniously dumped in a chimney for his trouble. Fortunately, this chimney leads right back to his very own kitchen via the vent over the stove. Not a very dignified performance for our poor, put-upon hero!

Meanwhile, an ominous shadow person monologues about capturing his “greatest prize” amongst some hi-tech machinery and random cages filled with various alien creatures. Is this Kraven from the future, perhaps? Definitely not. (He was dead at this time and writers still hadn’t run out of new ideas and decided to bring him back.)

Cut back to New York City where Mary Jane has brought our hero to Harry Osborn’s lab (this was way back when Harry was 1) still alive 2) not the Green Goblin, and 3) not brought back from the dead by Mephisto after dying as the Green Goblin). Spider-Man recaps the events of the previous annual while Harry examines him under a microscope. Suddenly, costumed goons bust in to steal some chemical supplies. (For what purpose, I don’t know, but you can’t have a superhero yarn without some senseless violence thrown in somewhere.) Spidey goes into action but because he is so small the goons think they are fighting an invisible foe. One of them (I’m assuming he’s the leader) is smart enough to look through a handy magnifying glass set out on the table and manages to catch sight of a red and blue blur.

After a few more thugs are dispatched the smart one turns his gun on Harry and demands he stop using tricks. Harry tries to explain the situation but the goon is not taking any more lip and shoots. Spidey’s spider-sense gives him a pre-emptive warning but he is too small to reach the gun in time. Instead, he shoots some webbing over the barrel of the gun. The bullet passes through it, however, because it is not strong enough and so our hero goes for a ride on the speeding bullet (eat your heart out, Superman!). His added weight is just enough to pull it off target, however, and Harry survives being shot at point blank range. The bullet ricochets off a metal cabinet and takes out the last goon. But by then Spidey has already blacked out from going so fast.

He wakes up among amoebas and paramecium. He can still see Harry’s eye through the lens of the microscope, though. Harry comes up with a last ditch idea but says it may be risky. Spidey gives him the thumbs up because his voice is so tiny Harry can’t hear him anymore. Harry quickly puts the slide our hero is on in a vacuum chamber and bombards it with positrons. Unfortunately, it does nothing to reverse or even halt the shrinking effect. Harry loses all hope as Spider-Man fades from sight, exclaiming “We’ve lost him to the Microverse!”

We then switch back to Spider-Man’s perspective. Our hero is getting smaller and smaller, falling in the space between atoms. Eventually he lands on a planetoid of some kind and is promptly attacked by guys dressed like rejected Roman Legionnaires piloting futuristic sky cruisers. Our hero is knocked down by laser blasts and tied up with ropes (because we couldn’t do a shrinking story without referencing Gulliver’s Travels, could we?). He gets out of this predicament rather easily, however, just by shrinking more. And he does the whole falling between the atoms thing again. Just before he goes crazy from endlessly falling through ever more smaller worlds he spies a Kirby-esque spaceship in the void and is pulled into it. While this may give his mind a much needed respite he is not safe quite yet. Before he can get his bearings, he is grabbed by mechanical arms with pinchers on the end and dragged before the shadow man from before… Psycho-Man!

In General...

This is the very definition of a ‘tweener issue as nothing much happens at all. It's not appallingly bad, there's just nothing here to recommend either. Plus, is it some kind of law in the Marvel Universe that whenever you get shrunken down you must meet either Psycho-Man or the Micronauts? Seems so!

Overall Rating...

I’m getting the feeling that the whole idea of a tiny Spidey should have just been a one-and-done story instead of a three-part crossover.

Footnote...

For the final installment of Spidey’s Totally Tiny Adventure, see my review of Web of Spider-Man Annual #6.