Off the back of the excellent 'Who Killed Jean DeWolf' storyline in Spectacular, 'Have You Seen That Vigilante Man?' is a real improvement for the year-old 'Web' title.
The Jean DeWolf storyline brought up many issues for Spidey about how he should intervene in crimes and what side of the law he was on. Daredevil had given him a real ear-bashing about how he should handle himself and how to put the victim's safety paramount.
We begin with the webbed one breaking up a standard grocery store robbery. But while wisecracking, he accidentally endangers the old couple who were being held. After saving the day he swings off with those thoughts in his head before deciding to do his laundry (the exciting life of a superhero, eh?)
In the laundrette, three thugs try to rape (the word isn't mentioned but the intent is clear) the female attendant. Peter steps in and uses his powers as a type of kung-fu to do some arse-kicking and throws the thugs back onto the streets.
He is declared a hero and the local community decide to start a 'Peter Parker Patrol' scheme where a group of residents will walk the streets to stop trouble bfore it happens.
Joe isn't happy at the Bugle and buries the story but the unwanted attention leads to the thugs targeting Peter. His flat is stink-bombed, rats are put in his fridge and eventually it is trashed completely.
After this final attack, Peter changes to Spidey and chases the thugs down and warns them off. He thinks this is the end of it but, as he returns to his flat with MJ, he sees smoke billowing from his window and there is a note for Peter telling him to fight his own battles.
Issue 11 of 'Web' is easily the best in the title so far. After nearly a year it had been fairly disappointing, although compared to the excellent 'Spectacular', even 'Amazing' had looked weak.
Bob McLeod's art is pretty sharp - you only have to see the first page to see how good his Spidey looks. The plot and script (courtesy of Danny Fingeroth and Bill Mantlo) is strong too.
The story builds nicely and comes off the back of what seems like a slight turn to Spidey's character which hs built through the titles. Our hero had stolen a gold notebook and has been agonising over what to do with it in 'Amazing' and has had the aforementioned lectures from DD in 'Spectacular'. Everything looks to be heading toward a conflict of ethics for Spidey.
It is also nice to have a strong story which doesn't involve any of the lead villains. The biggest storylines recently through the other two titles have dealt with the Hobgoblin, Kingpin and the symbiote costume (which will eventually become Venom).
The sensationalism is given a back seat here and it's quite refreshing to see Pete going through some real issues without it having to do with his relationships or a traditional bad guy.