Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #53

Background

Last month, Spider-Man overcame the combined power of the Shocker and Hydro-Man. Now this month, the parade of mediocre villains continues with the abominable Boomerang...

Story Details

  Peter Parker: Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #53
Summary: (#151)
Arc: Part 1 of 'The Rules of the Game' (1-2-3)
Editor: Axel Alonso
Writer: Zeb Wells
Pencils: Michael O'Hare
Inker: Wayne Faucher
Cover Art: Francisco Herrera
Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (PPSM) #5

This issue opens on a commercial airplane that has just landed in New York from Australia. Inside the plane Fred Myers is being severely annoyed by a child with an overactive imagination and a boomerang. After somehow clearing customs with a bag full of boomerangs, Myers finds the child again outside and manages to shut him up by borrowing his boomerang to kill a flock of seagulls.

At Midtown High, Peter Parker breaks up a fight between a pair of students, and condemns them to a week's detention. Meanwhile in an office building somewhere, a group of three filthy rich men meet with a fourth, Mr. Hart, who introduces them to his latest hireling, Fred Myers: Boomerang. Hart begins to explain a new plan to make buckets of money which somehow involves battles between super-heroes and villains...

Back at Midtown High, Peter supervises the detention of the two students from earlier. He's disgusted when they explain to him why they were fighting: "because everyone's always wondering which one of us would win." Later that night, Peter dons his Spidey-togs and drops by Flash Thompson's hospital room to read him some Lord of the Flies.

After Spidey leaves Flash, we see him swinging across the city, but we hear a conversation between Hart and his associates concerning the feasibility of their plan. Hart mentions a test audience, which we see filing into an auditorium in front of a giant screen showing a live feed of Spider-Man swinging across the city. Spidey, meanwhile, doesn't react fast enough to his spider-sense warning, and he finds his web-line cut. He tries shooting more webs, but as soon as he shoots one, they're also cut by razor-sharp boomerangs, until Spidey finally falls into a dumpster.

Boomerang finally shows himself, and he launches a flurry of boomerangs at Spidey, who dodges all of them. Boomerang then tries net boomerangs, laser-shooting boomerangs, and exploding boomerangs, none of which give Spidey much trouble. Boomerang retreats to the top of a nearby building, and after embarrassing himself by trying to throw a boomerang, Spidey follows him. Spidey promptly webs up Boomerang's fists, and then tugs on the webs to make Boomerang punch himself in the face. Spidey makes Boomerang pummel himself into unconsciousness, and only when he's webbing his foe up does Spidey notice that there are cameras on the nearby buildings, and also one on the side of Boomerang's head. We cut back to the test audience, who are watching Spidey on the giant screen say, "Just what the heck is going on here?"

General Comments

I really like that Zeb Wells is using these middle-of-the-pack, perennial loser, mercenary-type villains like the Shocker and Hydro-Man in the previous two issues, and Boomerang this issue. I'm not really sure why, but I've always loved that type of villain, and it's always great to see them turn up -- especially Boomerang, who happens to be one of my favourites. It was also good to see Boomerang back in his usual purple and blue uniform, instead of that weird one he was wearing in the Lifeline mini-series. But I did think that Boomerang using so much Australian slang was a little out of character, so I went and checked one of my Spidey resources, which said that Fred Myers was born in Australia but raised in the USA. But I suppose that after just returning from Australia, Boomerang might still be using some of the dialect, so I'll let it slide.

As for the story itself, a bunch of rich guys setting up fights between heroes and villains in order to profit by televising them sounds interesting enough. It's not exactly mind-blowing, though, and for some reason it reminds me of the Great Game.

And in the art department, inker Wayne Faucher has been joined this month by penciler Machael O'Hare. O'Hare's work is clean and clear, although it's a little stiff at times. It's definitely a joy to look at, though, after spending two months trying to decipher what was often a muddled mess from the pencil of Francisco Herrera.

Overall Rating

Decent story + decent art = three webs.