Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man #3

Background

Mac Gargan, the former Scorpion, is now the official "Spider-Man" for Norman Osborn's team of Avengers. J. Jonah Jameson - the man partially responsible for turning him into the Scorpion - has been elected mayor. Gargan has continued the Spider-Man/Jameson feud but taken it to a new level.

Instead of harmless pranks like webbing Jonah to the ceiling, he has killed a stripper and left her in the bedroom of the mayoral mansion. Then he started a gang war between rival gangs The Rolling Sevens and The Park Avenue Players.

Jameson came to Osborn to ask for an Avenger to work with his office to help combat the escalating violence. In a twist of irony, Osborn sends Gargan to help him out.

Story 'Half Man. Half Spider. All Amazing.'

  Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man #3
Summary: Spider-Man (Venom/Scorpion) appears

Gargan becomes angry when he reads a negative review of his association with Jameson from the DB (formerly the Daily Bugle, formerly owned by Jameson). He decides to prank Dexter Bennett, the current owner of the paper, whose editorial policies change every ten minutes. His prank originally involved eating a squirrel and defecating on his desk. (The Venom symbiote has an unusual diet.) As it turns out the squirrel he ate was rabid, he couldn't digest it, and he had to improvise.

Later at the mayor's office, Gargan is being chewed out by Jonah for not doing more to stop the crime spree. Gargan threatens to leave and let Jonah's approval rating drop even more and Jonah backs down. He then orders Gargan to come to a planning meeting for the Big Apple Festival.

During the meeting, Gargan hangs from the ceiling drawing pictures of Jameson having a heart attack. Just as Jameson tells him to leave, Chief Ibanez arrives and informs them that they have received a bomb threat. The bomb will be detonated if anyone but Spider-Man comes near the designated building.

"Spider-Man" arrives at the pre-arranged location and is confronted by the mastermind behind the bomb: Dr. Gundersen (The Redeemer). He has his team assembled and his demands prepared. Spider-Man will issue a public apology to his victims. He will participate in an anger management class. Finally he will perform 1000 hours of charity work.

At this point Gargan is annoyed and want to just turn this over to the police. Eleven won't allow it and attacks him. She is devoured first. Doctor Everything seals his mouth with a metal plate he creates out of thin air. When Dementoid attacks, he learns that the symbiote has more than one mouth as another a much larger one appears on Gargan's back. The secondary mouth holds Dementoid while Gargan knocks out Hippo and General Wolfram. He then uses Dementiod to knock out Doctor Everything. When Spider-Man emerges from the building, he turns Doctor Everything over to the police and claims he's working alone. He then tells them that there were no bombs.

Redeemer, Dementoid, and General Wolfram meet once again after their wounds have healed. The now-armless Redeemer states that Spider-Man ate Hippo as well as Eleven. Despite the protests of Dementoid, Redeemer/Gunderen decides to go to Plan B to rehabilitate Spider-Man.

Later on an envelope makes its way to the Mayor's office. Jonah opens the envelope and finds pictures of Spider-Man meeting with the various gang members. He smiles at the gift that has just been dropped into his lap.

General Comments

Remember when the Brock incarnation of Venom used to run around wanting to eat brains? I guess having Gargan consuming his enemies is a natural evolution from that. Eating whatever is in sight is amusing in some instances (the squirrel). The short fight with The Redeemer and his squad was a little bit much. This has become his M.O. but they should keep that to a minimum.

I will admit that the type of pranks that Gargan pulls on both Jameson and Bennett have a certain appeal to me. The dead squirrel gag made me laugh (obviously). Having Gargan hanging off the ceiling like his predecessor and mock Jameson during his meeting was also amusing. In many instances the Gargan/Jameson interaction has the feel of the Peter/Jameson sparing session, just with dark humor.

Gargan alternates between being a low-rent thug that starts a city-wide gang war and an amateur comedian, well-equipped to spout some decent one-liners to Jameson. This just shows that even thugs have a sense of humor. On that note, I think this is the most any writer has ever done with Gargan. Normally he's a very simple smash-and-grab character. So far in this series, they have shown him to be something of a schemer with an out-of-control libido and appetite. He's a creep, but he's at least a three-dimensional creep.

Overall Rating

3 webs. The pace picked up a bit, which was needed after last issue.

Disalvo's pencil work was used for the majority of the issue. His pencils were clean and had a cartoon feel to them. This worked well in all instances.

In contrast, Bachalo's artwork fell a bit short here. The fight sequence was broken down well, but the panel composition in certain places made it difficult to see what was going on. This was an important scene that didn't live up to it's potential. It's acceptable, but it's missing a higher degree of clarity that is needed for a relatively short fight.