Spider-Man: Black and Blue and Read All Over (Story 1)

Background

Background

A few months ago this issue probably would have seemed a little random. A story about Spider-man considering revealing his identity probably would have been overlooked. However I like to think this is just further ammo for us who believed Spider-man's unmasking was not only a positive move but it was in character. The issue was written by Jim Kreuger, with art by Drew Johnston and Tom Palmer.

For you continuity fans out there it only says it takes place before Civil War and since Spider-man's wearing the blue and red's, mentions wanting to join the Avenger's and has organic web shooters (or so it seems) this probably takes place before Avenger's disassembled.

Story 'Black and Blue and Read All Over'

The story starts off with Peter and Aunt May alone in a diner. Peter looks miserable and I don't think it's because it's raining outside. After Aunt May mentions a recurring dream Peter has been having we're treated to visuals of the said dream. Turns out in this dream Spider-man is looking at his rogues gallery through a cage but the trouble is...he doesn't know which side he's on. He tries climbing up the cars to see but they keep going and going and going.

Turns out Peter has been having this dream since a fight with the Vulture 6 months ago. Apparently after the fight Spider-man couldn't stop the Vulture from getting away because he was exhausted from going toe-to-toe with his old enemy. The Vulture got away even making his way past a security guard who stood idly by. When pressed by Spider-man why the officer let the Vulture get away the officer simply said 'That's your job'. This of course unnerves Peter because it reminds him of when he let a certain Burglar go because he thought it was someone else's problem.

So after Peter's down in the dumps and Aunt May insists that his Uncle would be proud of whom he's become and he shouldn't worry. Peter retorts that the city (thanks in large the Daily Bugle) hates him and Aunt May offers up a simple solution....he reveal his identity and tell his story. At first Peter is hesitant but his Aunt convinces him that his story could provide others with hope and inspiration so that what happened with the Burglar and the Vulture never happens again. Peter seems to think it over and the following day he goes to see everyone's favourite publisher J. Jonah Jameson.

After their usual exchange of banter Spider-man makes Jonah a deal: Spider-man wants the first 3 pages of the Wednesday edition of the Bugle and in exchange Spider-man will unmask on the Bugle's doorstep. Jonah is hesitant at first but Spider-man argues that if he goes back on the deal, he'll only prove Jonah right and they shake on it.

The next day the paper hits stands and this might be the best part of the issue so I'll not spoil it. In short it is an inspiring message that gets across what Spider-man is all about and what it'll always come down to, 6 words: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility. Still feeling anxious and despite a pep talk from his wife Peter finds he can't sleep and gets ready for the unmasking. With Jonah smiling like a panther that's about to make a kill Spider-man goes to unmask when suddenly...another Spider-man appears and another and another and so on. Aunt May even makes a humorous cameo claiming to be Spider-man finally Peter takes off his mask and keeps his promise but Jonah is none the wiser. Then to his surprise the officer that let the Vulture go unmasks as Spider-man and Peter realises that maybe his story did make a difference. The following night Peter gets a good night's sleep seemingly putting his demons to rest for the moment.

Then we're treated to a reprint of the classic Amazing Spider-man 12 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko an excellent story entitled: 'Unmasked By Doctor Octopus!' The issue has already been reviewed on the site but hey it's worth the cover price alone.

General Comments

So there we are. A decent story that's not dull but not exactly mind blowing either. Even though it's set wayyyyyyyyy before Civil War it's probably smart of Marvel to print it now due to people having doubts over Spider-man's actions at the end of Civil War 2. The issue has some nice art (MJ wears some very unique pyjama's) and features the MK Spider-man design of the rogue's gallery that we may never see again (apart from Norman and Venom) so that's a nice treat. Also always nice to see a Lee/Ditko story reprinted.

Overall Rating

3 webs for the main story that I didn't think was too bad, fitted in well with what's going on in Civil War and had some nice art. Also half a web is thrown on because of the reprint, would have been worth the full web of course if it hadn't been reprinted hundred's of times before.