Spider-Man Unlimited (Vol. 3) #15 (Story 1)

Background

Spider-Man Unlimited seems to focus on stories that aren't important to current continuity, but may (or may not) be worth telling anyway. Written and drawn by guest writers and artists.

Story 'Heroes and Villains'

A group of boys skateboard down the sidewalk in New York City, knocking the grocery bags out of a woman's arms. One of them grinds his board to a halt and bends down to help the lady. In return, she smacks him on the head with a box of spaghetti and tells him he's got spaghetti for brains. After the boy explains that he was just trying to help, the woman says she can take care of herself, picks up her things, and walks off. An onlooking older boy laughs at the boy, whom he calls Ethan, calling him a "do-gooder." He then points out and compliments Ethan's Spider-Man skateboard. Ethan claims that he made it, and that he's a big Spider-Man fan. He invites the older boy to look at his other stuff, and the kid thinks about it briefly before following Ethan home.

Both boys rush past Ethan's mother (and Ethan introduces his friend as "Ethan," curiously enough) and up to Ethan's room. The room is littered with Spider-Man decorations, toys, and various other memorabilia. The two boys begin playing with Ethan's action figures, acting out fight scenes between Spider-Man and various villains, such as the Rhino and Hobgoblin. Ethan's mother comes up to give the boys some sandwiches and remind Ethan to do his homework, as his brother will be coming home soon.

The boys play some more until Ethan's mother hollers up to remind him to do his homework. The elder boy stands up to leave, but Ethan mentions that he met Spider-Man once. The elder stops, then turns around to hear Ethan's story.

Ethan explains that he and his brother had gone to the store to get groceries. As Ethan waited in the car for his brother, he heard a burglar alarm go off, and his brother ran out of the store wearing a mask. Frightened, Ethan locks the car door. His brother yells at him to unlock the door, then runs to the other side of the car. Ethan quickly locks that door as well as his brother curses him, calling him a "do-gooder." In the rear-view mirror, Ethan sees Spider-Man swing onto the scene. After he webs Ethan's brother to the hood of the car, Spidey puts his hand on the window and tells Ethan he's done a good job. As Ethan puts his hand on the window over Spidey's, Spider-Man tells him that he's a hero.

Back in the present, Ethan's mother calls to him from downstairs, informing him that his brother is home. Looking out into the hallway from his room, Ethan sees his brother dressed in the orange jumpsuit of the New York State Prison. When asked if he wants to give his brother a hug, Ethan silently shuts the door to his room and continues playing with his action figures with his friend.

General Comments

I didn't really like this story. It's unfortunate, because the twist--that Ethan helped cause his brother's incarceration--is an intriguing one. However, the dialogue didn't seem convincing. The things the characters said and their actions and reactions just didn't seem natural. I mean, who smacks a kid with spaghetti for trying to help them pick up something they dropped?

I also noticed that all the faces of the adults in the story are obscured in some way, but I fail to see what purpose that serves. Just an observation.

Overall Rating

Two webs. Good concept, but the writing is uninspiring.