Spider-Man Tangled Web #19

Background

Your name is the Grizzly. You're an ex-con, live next to the Rhino, and are trying desperately to get a date. Today is the worst day of your life.

Story 'Call of the Wild'

The Grizzly is fresh out of prison and looking for LOVE! Putting an ad onto an internet personal page before he leaves, Griz wants nothing more than to walk the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, dealing with other ex-cons would be a violation of his parole. So naturally his next-door neighbor at the run-down hotel where he is staying turns out to be the Rhino. Rhino recognizes him, and immmediately suggests a return to crime. Grizzly blows him off, locking himself out of his room in the process.

Every parolee needs a job. Grizzly tries to get one at a construction site, boasting about his exoskeleton-enhanced strength. No dice. He does, however, run into the Rhino, who has just knocked over the wrong building. "That one was scheduled from renovation, not demolition!" Nobody has responded to Grizzly's personal ad, either.

Next stop? The fertility clinic. Where Grizzly and Rhino end up having to share the same room for their... production. Still no response.

The bathroom at the villains' bar we first saw in Tangled Web #13? Rhino steals Grizzly's TP. The two of them finally have it out, running into Spider-Man in the process. After the brief fight, the two make peace while they're webbed to the same lightpost.

Finally, someone responds to Griz's personal ad. He and Rhino, who also admits that he's seeing someone--don't get ahead of me, here--talk about their respective dates. Griz's finally agrees to meet him at the zoo, and a nervous bear-wearing soul finds himself waiting by the giant giraffe for his mystery lover. After seeing a few women go by, Grizzly notices the approach of "Ben Grimm's baby sister." Panicking, he flees into one of the habitats and promptly gets shot with a tranquilizer dart.

Later that evening, Grizzly pens a frantic message to his mystery lover, who agrees to meet him again. He arrives, sees a shadowy figure duck behind a tree, and finds himself in a liplock with... the Rhino. "You stood me up," Rhino growls. Grizzly sighs, and plans to return to crime. "Real life's WAY too hard to handle."

General Comments

I've tried to be patient. I've tried to be understanding. Now I'm mad.

Forget the plot, which was entirely predictable and not very funny. Forget the artwork, which flat-out sucked. What I'm tired of is the constant stream of re-written characters in this book. We saw it with Alyosha Kravinov, who has now been completely "Zimmmermaned," we saw it with Typeface, and now we're seeing it again with the Grizzly. Last time I checked, Grizzly HAD gone straight. He and the Gibbon were fighting crime the way only they could do, remember? Spectacular Spider-Man? White Rabbit? Back before the relaunch? Now all of a sudden he's back to being a hapless villain instead of a hapless hero. It wouldn't bother me so much if this book specifically took place prior to Grizzly's reformation, but I'd be willing to bet Robbie Morrison didn't even know about it.

The problem with Tangled Web lately isn't the infusion of new blood--although I never want to see Jim Mahfood draw another Spider-Man story again--it's that the new blood is doing whatever it wants, ignoring established continuity. Alyosha "Al" Kravinov is suddenly a jet-setting playboy. The Spot gets killed for no reason. Typeface is now a vigilante hero. Grizzly's not a good guy anymore. No reason other than these guys wanted it that way for their stories. That's cheap.

My other ongoing gripe is that each of the last few stories has tried to be quirkier than the last one. We had Typeface and Spellcheck, now we have the adventures of the lovesick losers. Note to future Tangled Wed writers: stop trying so hard to be offbeat and tell a good story for once! How about a serious story about Grizzly trying to make it on the outside? What's wrong with that? The quirky thing has been done to death lately. Let it rest for a while and get back to the stuff that made this book great.

BTW, Zimmerman's "Villain's Bar" has also been done to death. Cool idea, but overused. Can we leave it alone for awhile? (And why doesn't S.H.I.E.L.D. or some outfit ever raid the place?)

Very, very disappointing. This was one time when you could tell the book by its cover; Grizzly and Rhino in the can speaks for itself.

Overall Rating

I'll give it one web and it's awfully lucky to get that much. Give me a GOOD story! Please! That's all I ask!