Webspinners Tales of Spider-Man #4

Background

Way back before clones, relaunchings, and pointless resurrections, the Silver Surfer was poised to launch a crippling attack on mankind. He never did. Why? The answer will be revealed here.

Story 'Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)'

  Webspinners Tales of Spider-Man #4
Summary: Spidey vs. Silver Surfer
Arc: Part 1 of 'Out Of The Blue' (1-2-3)
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Writer: Eric Stephenson
Pencils: Keith Giffen
Inker: Andy Smith
Cover Art: Keith Giffen
Articles: George Stacy

Spider-Man sets out to investigate a series of disappearances in a old run-down hotel, but fails to turn up anything more than a few sub-par pictures that J. Jonah Jameson refuses to buy. He leaves discouraged (Jonah is his usual lovable self) but no more so than three members of the Inhumans, Medusa, Gorgon, and Black Bolt, who are meeting with Nick Fury and other S.H.I.E.L.D. higher-ups onboard their helicarrier. Speaking for the group, Medusa begs Fury to help prevent the Silver Surfer, who has already attacked the Inhumans' sanctuary, from continuing his rampage. Their fears are justified, as minutes later the Surfer descends into New York City and starts to blow it to bits.

Naturally, he happens to pick at spot less than thirty feet from the dejected Peter Parker, who was meeting Gwen Stacy and her father for lunch. Knowing that he is light-years out of his league, he nonetheless costumes up and swings off after the Surfer, trying to figure out what has happened. Appalled by the carnage, he manages to save the Captain and Gwen from a falling sign and finally catches up to Silver Surfer, who promptly flattens him. Realizing that the Surfer has opted "not to blow up any more buildings because he's going to fry my spindly butt instead," Spidey gamely fights on. Even after getting in a few good licks, it's obvious that the Surfer is just too powerful, and by the time the two battling avengers land in Central Park Spider-Man is already tiring. He tries to illicit some sort of explanation, but the Surfer is too enraged and continues to pound Spider-Man until he falls.

Out of the corner of his eye Spider-Man notices someone watching their fight, but cannot identify the stranger before he crumples to the ground. This man holds the key to the Surfer's rampage, for he is none other than Psycho Man! Manipulating the Silver Surfer's emotions for whatever reason, he has driven the wielder of the Power Cosmic to attack the very race he had long tried to understand. And as Spider-Man lies defenseless before the murderous Surfer, why would Psycho Man see fit to stop him now...?

General Comments

Okay, so you've got an unfinished story from back in the Silver Age of Marvel Comics. Why not use a Spider-Man lookback series to finally tell the story of what happened?

Good theory, but how does it actually work? So far we're off to a decent start, but the point of this issue was mostly to set the stage for the real story. We have the rampage, we get Spider-Man involved, and he gets his "spindly butt" kicked. Okay, mission accomplished. About the only surprise in store is the appearance of Psycho Man, who probably has earned lifetime membership in the "Hey, it's That Guy!" wing of supervillains who just never hit it big. What are his nefarious purposes here? Wait until next issue. I hope.

Some nice touches in this one, notably the art which fits the 60s era feel of the story (though it would have worked better if the lettering had also been done by hand.) Peter's anxiety about Gwen not only is spot on but also anchors it firmly in Spider-Man's timeline.

Let's see what we have in store for next month.

Overall Rating

I'll start off with three webs as it's really too soon to tell where this one is heading.