Webspinners Tales of Spider-Man #5

Background

In a story arc that is attempting to solve the decades-old riddle of Silver Surfer's truncated rampage, Spidey just had the red and blue snot kicked out of him by Silver Surfer, who is in turn being controlled by the evil and fashion-impaired Psycho Man for reasons unknown. Makes perfect sense now, right?

Story 'Broken'

  Webspinners Tales of Spider-Man #5
Summary: Silver Surfer, Psycho Man
Arc: Part 2 of 'Out Of The Blue' (1-2-3)

Before the Silver Surfer can violently end of the life of Spider-Man, he is interrupted by a few armored men who swear that "the wall-crawler's done his best, the rest is up to us!" S.H.I.E.L.D.? NYPD? No one really says, but they present little challenge to the Silver Surfer, who swats them away like gnats. But something breaks through to him, as he suddenly realizes what he has done and flies away in anguish. It seems that Psycho Man has decided to free the Surfer from the control of his psycho ray, and also leaves the scene, boasting about the ease of breaking the Surfer's will. Meanwhile, Spider-Man has come to and, despite the urging of both paramedics and Captain Stacy (he gets around) Spider-Man swings off to find the Surfer, as he has figured out not only the man he saw was an alien but that he was controlling the Surfer's emotions. I'm not quite sure how, but hey, that's why he wears the pajamas and not me.

While the Surfer agonizes over what he has done and fends off a S.H.I.E.L.D. attack, Peter goes home to regroup and put on his spare costume. Also regrouping is Psycho Man, who returns to a somewhat familiar run-down old hotel and gets ambushed by a pair of funky-looking alien drones called "insectivorids." Realizing that he's running out of time, he sets out to find the Surfer and nearly runs over Spider-Man with his flying ship. The wall-crawler had just about given up hope of finding the surfer by that point, but has better luck finding another swarm of the insectivorid things. Things look bleak, but...

The Silver Surfer has also taken to the skies, nearly getting clobbered by a S.H.I.E.L.D. "Sonic Shark" missile in that attack alluded to earlier. Desperately hoping for a way to atone for his earlier rampage, the Surfer comes across Spider-Man and his insectivorid pals and quickly pulls his fat out of the fire. Hoping for an answer--finally--Spider-Man asks the Surfer to explain his behavior but is interrupted by the reappearance of Psycho Man, who's pulled a quick U-turn and blasting them both with his emotion-altering psycho ray. Surprisingly, the surviving insectivorids come to Spider-Man's rescue, a fact not unnoticed by Psycho Man. He manuevers the Surfer into rendering both Spidey and the drones unconscious, then appeals to the confused cosmic avenger. Offering to give the Surfer sanctuary in his homeworld of Sub-Atomica (a universe too small to be seen under the highest-power microscope), he asks for help in dispatching a horde of insectivorids that have conquered it. The Surfer agrees and the two depart, Psycho Man bringing Spider-Man along to discover the reason for the link between him and the drones. But they do not go unnoticed, as the whole exchange has been observed by a shadowy figure. Who is it? Only the next issue knows...

(Well, you could just read the "Next Issue" box and find out it's Annihilus, but where's the fun in that???)

General Comments

Somebody call Marvel, my copy of Webspinners: Tales of the Silver Surfer has a typo on the cover.

Seriously, whose book is this anyway? The tail is seriously wagging the dog on this one; Spider is merely going along for the ride while the Surfer is carrying this story arc. If Stephenson was so focused on telling the story of what happened to the Silver Surfer, why not put it in a one-shot rather than take what is ostensibly a Spider-Man book and push him off to the sidelines? Other than a brief scene with Harry Osborn, this is is not a Spider-Man story. He's guest starring in his own title. Very, very annoying.

I'm not really digging on Psycho Man, Annihilus (way to blow that one, Marvel, who writes those "Next Issue" boxes anyway?) and these "insectivorid" things, but if Spidey can actually play a legitimate role in the third and final issue of this arc it would help immensely.

Overall Rating

I don't know about cowbell, but we need more Spider-Man! One and one-half webs.