Countless times we've seen Spider-Man and/or the enemy he's fighting smashing through windows, walls, and through seemingly every building in New York City. Ever wonder what it's like for the people living there?
Two boys are sitting at home in their New York City apartment. The younger brother Kasey is watching "Insectman," his favorite cartoon. Jack, the older brother, is talking on the phone with a girl who promptly turns him down. Their mother calls to them from the bedroom, and Jack remarks how she's out of her medicine. "She's been crying," Kasey says. Still angry, Jack asks Kasey why he bothers with cartoon shows and comic books. "In real life, there are no heroes. Just big, selfish freaks who do what they want and when they want!" "Spider-Man's not a freak!" Kasey replies. The two begin to scuffle, then suddenly the wall explodes.
The dust settles while the two boys look our their new window. They turn around to find Spider-Man lying against the far wall, too groggy to move. Kasey runs to help, when Electro shows up. Jack pulls Kasey behind the couch as Electro prepares to fry Spider-Man, but Kasey throws his Insectman action figure at his head and steps between them. Electro promptly zaps him, spurring Jack into action. Much to Electro's amusement. "Well, big brother to the rescue. A real live hero." Slowly, Electro aims his finger at Jack's face. But before he can fire, a strand of webbing snares that finger, yanking Electro back to face a fully recovered Spider-Man, who promptly thrashes him.
The menace dealt with, Spider-Man turns to the two boys. He takes pulls out a wad of cash--his own rent money--to get the wall fixed and repairs Kasey's toy. Spidey turns to leave, but is stopped by a furious Jack, demanding to know if $500 is supposed to make up for the damage, not to mention nearly getting them killed. "No," Spider-Man replies, "It's not. Sorry, kid, but the good guy can't always save the world. Sometimes he just does what he can, eats his broccoli, and hopes everything works out." With that, he leaves. Kasey picks the TV set back up and turns it on again. Insectman is talking about how great power brings with it great responsibility (gee, where'd he hear that from?) Jack snidely wonders what comes with no power. "You're responsible for me, aren't you Jack?" Kasey says. Jack thinks for a minute, then sits down beside his brother. "You bet I am."
Nice story. We've seen these characters before--the young, idealistic boy and the already-jaded teenager who doesn't have anything left to believe it--but Kaare Andrews does a good enough job with the story that it's not a distraction. Jack was well done; you could tell that he honestly loved his brother, but also resents having the responsibility of keeping house while his mother lies sick and his father is gone. Fortunately for Kasey, Spider-Man came crashing through their wall before Jack convinced him that hero is a four-letter word.
The story was fine, but the real draw for this issue was the art. You've probably noticed Andrews' work on recent covers for Amazing Spider-Man, and he excels here. The Insectman cartoon is flat and, well, cartoony, but the rest of the story is painted, and the contrast between the two makes the real world look more, well, real. The best touch was seeing everything from the kids' perspective. We never really get a good look at Spidey, and Electro towers over them. Making Electro truly frightening is a hard task anymore, but he had me worried here. My only complaint was that you hardly see any of the rest of the apartment. Most of the backgrounds--especially early in the story--are simply black, making the apartment look like a black hole. It's a little distracting.
Overall, another good story spun from Spidey's Tangled Web.
A nice, harmless story that looks at Spider-Man through the eyes of two total strangers. Kaare Andrews' awesome artwork bumps it up an extra notch. Four webs.