Web of Spider-Man Annual #8

Background

Part three of the hero killers, followed on from other Spider-man annuals and continued in New Warriors annual 2

Story 'The Dark At The End Of The Tunnel!'

Ok so the issue starts with a nice double page spread of Spider-man and Silhouette (who?) fighting Bombshell (who?), Stiletto (who?), and Rhino (oh good, I know who that is). There are a few text boxes, indicating who's who. Over the page we find Spider-man telling us basically what's going on. He tells us that he and Silhouette are in an underground complex, that heroes are disappearing left right and centre, and that he and Silhouette were separated from the New Warriors a while back.

Silhouette seemingly gets blown up by a couple of grenades tossed at her from Bombshell. Bombshell tough talks Spider-man while Silhouette comes up behind her and whacks her with what appears to be a golden bracelet on a stick. New Warriors fans will get it I suppose, just take comfort in knowing that Silhouette can meld with shadows and that's how she got out of that one

Now we go over to Night Thrasher (cool name I guess... bit of a dumb costume though). Anyway, he's clashing with Boomerang and Backlash. Boomerang sticks a boomerang (what else) in Thrasher's back pack. Thrasher manages to knock a second boomerang away; it explodes next to Boomerang himself.

Backlash then butts in and whips Thrasher into a wall. It looks like he's beaten... until he throws some spiky balls at the villains. They fall over as he makes his escape. I gotta say... Night Thrasher was pretty lame. Ah well, back to Spidey who's clashing with all three of his villains. A web-eyed Stiletto whacks Rhino in the back. Spidey kicks Stiletto in the back, knocking him out. Rhino manages to tag Silhouette on the back, bad news for Spidey.

Then we cut to Nova and Namorita (female Namor's the obvious guess). These two are fighting The Beetle, Speed Demon and Discus (who? What's with all these crappy unknown characters?). Discus takes a wonky shot and tags Beetle in the back. He and Speed demon make a break for it. After interrogating Beatle, Nova finds that Speedball is around somewhere (he gets captured in an earlier annual).

And now back to Spider-man, holding his own against the two villains (Stiletto's down and out for the count still) with Silhouette out cold. Rhino makes a break for it, Silhouette over his shoulder. Bombshell distracts Spidey. She's quickly dealt with however.

Now onto Firestar, who's giving Hydro-man and Constrictor her best shot (finally! I actually know all three of these characters!). Firestar turns the room into a steam room by blasting Hydro-man, then makes her escape after a quick tangle with Constrictor. In the next room she finds none other that Auric (no, I'm not going to pretend I know who that is). But-good lord! He's dead!

Next is a quick scene in a boardroom. Justin Hammer's there, telling a mysterious figure that the "preparations" for Speedball are complete. Back to Spidey and he's been spotted by two guards who he makes short work of. The clever guy's been tracking Silhouette on a Spider-tracer. He manages to find a couple of computers and starts tapping away.

A little way off, Night Thrasher runs into Firestar. But-uh oh! Rhino, Spped Demon, Bombshell, Discus and Stiletto have found them! And now back to Spidey, who's managed to gather no information from the computers, except for some interesting financial files regarding Justin Hammer. He hears sounds of a battle behind him, yet his Spider-tracer is leading him forward. Decision time.

But before we find out what he's going to do, we cut to Nova and Namorita. The two have found some sort of lab, where they discover a Kinetic Energy Dampener, which is what was used against Speedball when he was captured. From this they figure out that these other devices must be gizmos that can be used against other heroes too.

Exiting the room, Constrictor and Hydro-man ambush them. Hydro-man washes them down the hall until they find Firestar and Night Thrasher in combat with the same villains that attacked them earlier. They immediately start to get their rear ends kicked up and down the place until Spidey shows up to lend a hand. The sudden turn of events causes the villains to flee.

Smashing through a door that Night Thrasher is convinced is where they need to go, they find... Auric's sister! (goes by the name of Silver... no I don't know who this is either). She gives them directions towards Speedball. They wonder into a dark room... only (surprise surprise) to be ambushed.

It seems they're encased in a giant bubble. The floor disappears to complete the spherical object. That's when Namorita spots Speedball also in a container. Silhouette is also there, strapped down. A mystery villain, covered by shadows stands next to her. He steps forward and-oh my gosh! It's the SPHINX! (Seriously... who the hell?)

So with our mystery villains revealed, there's only one thing left for him to do... do something evil. And, with the touch of a button, he activates Speedball's powers... only he sucks them out of the container and into the bubble! We leave our heroes bounding round the bubble, The Sphinx convinced they only have seconds until they're bloody meat bags.

General Comments

Okay seriously... how many millions of unkown characters were in this? Like half the New Warriors I'd never even heard of and don't even get me started on The Sphinx.

Having said that, this was an enjoyable issue. It was pretty much action packed with some good villains in there. Art wasn't bad either, nothing too special, but nothing to get worked up over.

Overall Rating

Decent enough