It's back to high school for everyone's favorite wall-crawler! Specifically, the senior prom, and Peter's decided to live it up for a change. But despite an appearance by the sinister Sandman, it's not the super-villain that manages to screw up young Parker's life this time. Intrigued? Read on...
It's morning in America, and for Peter Parker and his peers, that means it's time for school. There are a few exceptions. Betty Brant has to go to work, and Sandman, well, he was still a bad guy back then, so we can only imagine. But most of Peter's acquaintances and tormentors are piling through the corridors of Midtown High, hassling Pete and discussing the upcoming prom. Liz Allan, however, tired of people considering her the future "Mrs. Flash Thompson," just wants to study with Peter, but a football thrown from the jealous Flash Thompson interrupts their conversation. Peter, taking great pains to conceal his secret identity (great responsibility, and all that) takes it smack in the head.
Schoolwork isn't going too well for Peter, either. After all, he's busting his tail trying to scoring a grant to E.S.U. and guys like his classmate Blake can just sit back and let their rich fathers hire a first year engineer to do their experiments for them. Blake upsets him so much that he later mouths off to Betty Brant and gets promptly left at the curb. And then there's the prom. As Peter puts it, "I'd rather crawl three miles through broken glass than spend a hundred plus dollars to watch the jerks who made fun of me for four years dance, drink, and be merry." Testy, testy. But mostly, Peter's tired of having to live up to his overdeveloped sense of responsibility while getting the shaft all the time. Coming back to school the next day and finding Blake showing off the virtual reality (grrrrr) machine he "built" and hearing the teacher practically promise him the economic grant doesn't help much. But the two buckets of water in his locker were the last straw, and he storms out of school in a rage.
"I bust my hump every day, no questions asked, just to be blown away by a cheesy weasel like Blake and humiliated by a bunch of morons?!?" Still carrying the chemicals he had planned to use in his grant experiment, Spider-Man is swinging over New York where he runs into the Sandman. It seems Sandy's trying to move up in the world and has taken a job as a mercenary for the "Sang du Mort Brotherhood," who apparently just wanted him to smash up a city block. It's obvious that Spidey's heart isn't into his work, leading the NYPD to suspect collusion. Not wanting to waste the effort, Spider-Man throws the chemicals into the Sandman's face, gumming up his works and leaving him easy pickings. Swinging away, Spidey vows that he's working "for one person... himself!"
The next day at school it's obvious that Peter's a different position. He's blowing off his lab appointment, flirting a little, and even accepts an offer to take Liz Allan to the prom (this time intercepting the football thrown his way.) All's well, right? Except those chemicals Spidey dumped on Sandman are doing some really nasty stuff to his bodily composition. To be continued...
If the first issue is any indication, this is the Webspinners tale I've been waiting for. Something uniquely Spider-Man, fun, and well put together. Makes me realize how much I miss Untold Tales. The art was good. Everyone looks appropriately high school aged, and I can see why Liz was the most popular girl in Midtown High.
Joe Kelly does a great job of framing Peter's normal dose of teenage angst along with his hyperresponsibility. Peter had a rough time in high school, and you'd have to think he would get sick of holding back and toeing the line at least once! And here he does, and you just KNOW everything is going to go straight to Hell as a result (as Sandman's final appearance makes perfectly clear.) Speaking of Sandy, how funny was it to see him hire himself out as a mercenary? Great stuff.
One big gripe: ENOUGH WITH VIRTUAL REALITY!!! Especially in high school, for crying out loud. Especially in a story that takes place when Peter Parker was in high school. VR and the Living Brain should not exist under the same roof in the same time period. So knock it off!
Other than that, brilliance.
Four and one half webs. It would have earned a full five were it not for, well, you can probably guess.