Hey, it's Manga. It's got to be good, right?
Seems there's a good Shadown Clan (a ninja society), and a bad ninja clan lead by the evil Venom. Benjamin-Sensei was the leader of the Spider-Clan, but he was murdered by Venom (natch). But that's OK, 'cos he can speak to Peter in dreams.
Enough, let's look at this offering.
Peter's having bad dreams. Related to the amulet he picked up, I reckon.
He's in class. Doc Ock is his teacher. Doc Ock is short, weird looking, and comes across as a holistic healer with anger management issues. Flash hassle's Peter, and gets smacked in the head. Doc Ock says that Flash doesn't need a fist fight, he needs a hug. Dunno what kind of school you're allowed to punch your fellow students during class and get away with it.
Harry turns up. He's late. All-night rave, ya know. Seriously.
Daredevil gets a page now. He failed to save his love, Elektra, from being killed by daemons, when he gave her the amulet (that Peter now wears) as a present. Now he's a demon-hunter. OK.
Osborn Sr. turns up at school. He brings Ock another octopus. Weird. Ock fawns and panders to Osborn.
Felicity, who we saw sliced in half last issue, is in a machine type thing, perfect for creating super-beings, if you're not familiar with them. She's being offerd another life, in a new form. I thought from the fact that she took out Spidey last issue that she already was a super-hero. Or was she a daemon?
Peter's out and about. He saves a woman from being run over. Spider-Man, street patrol hero! He goes home and sleeps. Ben visits him in a dream, and tells Peter that his biggest test is coming up.
Morning, May makes some tea for Peter, and sees his amulet. She goes to touch it, but Peter goes nuts with anger and fear. OK.
Osborn residence. Harry and his dad scrap. The usual stuff. You don't love me dad. Not now son, I'm busy. One of them is crying, but the art is too poor to tell who.
Green Goblin. i.e. Norman. He and Venom seem to be in the same cult of bad ninja. Venom warns Osborn to be careful of his dark powers, as they will consume him. But Osborn needs to get his wife back from the dead, 'cos Harry needs him.
Back to Felicity. "Are you ready to hunt the Spider", asks her mysterious saviours. "Yes".
Daredevil turns up at May's house. She called him, it seems, to help save Peter.
Peter is on the top of a train. He throws up... apparantly that's how his Spider-Sense works in this book. Some ninjas are here. Bad ones, Norman's techno-mage-ninja. His black costume oozes out of his amulet. He kicks butt, rips, tears, and starts talking in blood-dripping words.
He slices, he dices, he wins. In fact, he smashes the train. Don't know if anybody was on it. The driver probably died. No big deal, it seems.
But who's this. Now there's a bunch of Spider-Ninja arrived, looking like Peter. The biggest one introduces himself, he is "Baal, father to the Shadow Clan. Welcome Home." Apparently, Peter is their champion-to-be.
For the record. This comic bears no similarity to Spider-Man as we know it. Nothing at all. The names and faces match, but that's irrelevent to the identity of a story, when all is said and done.
This is basically a chance to take two hot marketing angles... Spidey, and Manga, and turn a quick buck or ten.
One of the noticable features of this story is that the whole comic was made up of one and two page story-segments, with continual scene changes. The longest single continuous scene was three pages. I think, basically the goal is to achieve some sort of slight-of-hand trick. Well, I say to you... "Do not mistake movement for action".
Sure, there are characters, and stuff is happening. But... it's all like some sort of day-time super-hero soap opera. The lines are uttered with great emotion. There's death and violence, and easy-to-understand stero-typed characters. Even the dark, moody and mysterious characters are clearly defined and easy to understand, even if you don't understand them.
There's no danger of anything original happening in this comic. The book just marks time, and fills a marketing void. If you want to read hip and exciting Spidey, I recommend Ultimate Spidey. If you want to see some Manga, then go rent "Ghost In The Shell". Leave this book on the shelf, and save your $2.25 for something more fulfilling, eh?
One and a half webs. Formulaic cross-genre effort, does nothing more than either by itself. Plot happens, but with not much flair.