Buzz (Limited Series) #3

Background

The Buzz debuted in Spider-Girl #18. This miniseries, which came out six months later, takes a closer look at his origin and motivations.

Story 'Moments of Truth'

  Buzz (Limited Series) #3
Summary: Spider-Girl, Dr. Jade, Dr. Octopus
Editor: Mike Marts
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Pencils: Ron Frenz
Inker: Sal Buscema

This issue starts with a slice of life sketch of our erstwhile hero. First, Jack Jameson checks in with computer whiz, Richie Robertson, to see if he’s reversed engineered that control-disk from last issue. No joy. Next, Jack visits his grandparents, Jonah and Marla Jameson, and has a nice family breakfast. Finally, we see Jack at school, where he sets up a date with May Parker for later that evening.

Sometime later, he gets a call from Richie who has finally traced the radio signal from the control-disk and zeroed in on Dr. Jade’s secret hideout. Richie sends the Buzz suit to Jack via remote control and he changes on the roof of Midtown High. He then flies around the city for a while to draw Spider-Girl’s attention (they couldn’t find a better way to arrange a meeting?). May eventually spots Buzz and does a quick costume change herself.

They go to a dockside warehouse which has more to it than it first seems (yeah, yeah, it’s cliché, I know). They search the premises and fall down a handy-dandy trap door to the secret underwater lair of Dr. Jade and… Dr. Octopus ?! (well, the cover to this ish kinda ruined that surprise).

So, it looks like DeFalco is giving us a replay of Amazing Spider-Man #33, with some slight alterations. For one, Doc Ock isn’t looking so hot this time around. He’s confined to a mechanized wheelchair and on life support because he’s dying of cancer. But he does have a robotic drone, called the Octopod, to do his fighting for him.

Buzz and Spider-Girl immediately go on the offensive, but during the fight a hole is torn out of the roof and the river water starts pouring in (See, I told you)! The fight comes to an inconclusive end as the villains try to save themselves from drowning. They fail miserably.

Our heroes, being heroes, then have to save themselves and their adversaries. Spider-Girl goes to help Doc Ock, but his life-support pod is too heavy for her to lift. She asks the Buzz for help, but he hesitates.

You see, it turns out Dock Ock is the person who killed Richie’s grandfather Robert Robertson, which was the main reason he signed up for Project: Human Fly in the first place. Anyway, Richie has been urging Jack to leave Doc Ock to die, but in the end Buzz does the right thing and gets both Spider-Girl and the villain to safety.

Now all that’s left to do is to find Dr. Jade, who is conveniently buried under a pile of rubble. The Buzz frees her, too, but she returns the favor by shooting him with a laser blast that knocks him unconscious. He slowly drifts through the water and winds up at a pier, where Spider-Girl is waiting for him (nice of her to not come after him or anything). After he revives, she tears into for being so reluctant to save Doc Ock. Upset by this turn of events, Buzz flies off without answering her.

Of course, Richie isn’t happy with Jack’s decision to save the life of his grandfather’s murderer. And the fact that Dr. Jade is still missing means there’s no way to clear the Buzz’s name. So, it looks like playing the hero isn’t turning out to be all it’s cracked up to be for poor Jack. There is one bit of good news, however. Jack finally gets to go on that date with May Parker. And that’s about as happy of an ending as you can get for your average teenaged superhero.

General Comments

This has been a tidy little mini-series that’s capably handled. It pretty much accomplished everything it set out to do.

Overall Rating

If you’re a fan of the MC2 universe, then this series is a treat. For the audience this series was aimed at (presumably younger, newer readers of comics) this was a pretty fun ride. Being an older reader, I appreciated the relative freshness and naivety of the characters and storylines. DeFalco may be derivative, but at least he steals from the best. But if you’re looking for something introspective or meaningful, this isn’t it.

Footnote

Jack Jameson was originally set-up as a romantic foil for Spider-Girl. In their civilian identities their relationship was an on-again off-again affair, but their costumed alter-egos never seemed to get along. It was a nice gimmick for a while, but soon wore thin. The Buzz eventually joined up with a group of misfit heroes and reformed villains dubbed the New New Warriors (see Spider-Girl #43), and he only made a few sporadic appearances after that.