Spider-Man Unlimited #13

Background

J. Jonah Jameson has been kidnaped from his office at The Bugle. Luke Cage (Power Man) and Danny Rand (Iron Fist) have been loitering in that place unused characters go. The Scorpion got yet another new suit.

Story 'The Sting Of Conscience!'

In this issue, we find out that the person responsible for kidnaping J. Jonah Jameson is Mac Gargan, the Scorpion. At second glance, the writing is fairly good. This Felder guy seems to know his supporting characters, of which there are many. The size of the supporting cast, however, is not excessive given the length of the story (this _is_ an unlimited, after all). The dialogue is appropriate for each character, and Spidey's snappy patter is as healthy as ever. Felder has a flair for last panels, making this issue a real page-turner.

One thing that confuses me is the relative strengths of Spider-Man, Luke Cage, and the Scorpion. I always thought Spidey was stronger than the Scorpion; in this issue, Cage says, "I'm stronger than Spider-Man", and the Scorpion later says to Cage, "I'm stronger than you". This implies that the Scorpion is stronger than Spider-Man. Of course, the Scorpion's new suit might account for the discrepancy.

The Good: Every single panel is rectangular, just like in the old days. A good mix of angles and close-ups. Scorpion looks sufficiently crazy. Consistent renderings across pages, such as when Spidey loses his left glove.

The Bad: Spidey's costume--the left eye of his mask "cracks", both eyes constantly dilate, and the webs on his costume are left out about twenty-two times. Although the panels are rectangular, they do not quite mesh with the art, which looks constrained within the panels because of the sharp angles.

General Comments

Despite the good writing and decent art, I found I didn't like the issue very much. I chalk this up to the fact that Spidey loses a lot of the spotlight to Cage, Iron Fist, the Scorpion, Marla Madison, and Misty Knight. Granted, I'm not the biggest fan of "Power Man and Iron Fist", but there _was_ a reason their book got cancelled :) . Oh, yeah--there's also a five-page back-up story by Felder and penciler Robert Brown. It's a preview of the two-issue Iron Fist limited series, featuring the freak show from page seventeen.

Overall Rating

I'll reluctantly give this issue a rating of three whole webs.

Footnote

Jonathan says...

I would have to give Unlimited #13 an extra half-web just for bringing Scorpion back again - madder than ever. Spectacular #216/#217 just about painted Mac Gargan out of the Spider-Verse, and for a while we had "Scorpia" (who had her own charms) filling his spot.

Still, Scorpion is a classic villain, and there's few enough good ones of those around already that we can't really afford to lose too many more. Despite the weaknesses Rick points out, Scorpie is returned as the venomous vindictive maniac he deserves to be. Even Eddie Brock would blink before taking him on.