The comic itself boasts on the cover that this is the 1st in a series of all-new team-ups featuring your favorite Marvel heroes! On the inside fold-out cover we are told: Though a loner by nature, there are times when even the amazing Spider-Man finds himself faced with a menace which he cannot overcome on his own! On those occasions, the web-slinger relies on the assistance of the best and brightest the Marvel Universe has to offer!
However, we quickly notice that this is a slight exaggeration when the web slinger is going to battle the forces of evil this issue with those renowned Marvel heroes Skin, Chamber and Husk of Generation X.
This new series is beginning by launching a multi-part story about a mysterious villain named the Authority who is operating from a hidden computer lab. The Authority is going to send old webhead around the world by placing ads in The Daily Bugle that draw his attention. The first ad reads:
Spider-Man, South Central Los Angeles, Tomorrow, Millions Will Die.
Spidey goes to L.A. and joins forces with Skin, Chamber and Husk of Generation X. Skin is a mutant with about six feet of extra skin that he can stretch, Chamber has telekenetic energy and other mind powers and Husk can shed her skin at will to reveal a new body made up of a number of possible substances. The three mutants plus Spidey stop a small pseudo-military group (named with tongue-in-cheek D.E.A.D. which stands for Direct Euthanasia Action Division) led by a rich young hippie (I''m not kidding here!) from destroying a poor neighborhood.
Then they thwart a plot to give away poisoned money to the destitute residents of the same neighborhood. Next month the Authority threatens Crete, Greece. Spidey teams up with Hercules. Do we care? Not if its as easily forgettable as this story.
This is definitely a comic aimed at trendy young readers. We witness Skin and Husk argue about which one of them understands oppression more. We also are pained by a very unfunny Spider-Man making references to his viewmaster, Kevin Costner movies and karaoke. I felt like a super-villain, because I wanted to tell webhead to shut up! Spidey even manages to say, "I can dig that".
I actually felt old and out-of-touch while reading this comic. It was obviously geared to the MTV crowd. Generation X are three cool heroes saving the poor and oppressed from the powers that be while brooding about life's unfairness. I'm just not interested, but then again I'm not interested in MTV's The Real World either.
Nothing about this book worked. J. Jonah Jameson's tirade was boorish, Mary Jane's concerned wife act was tired and Peter's great responsibility speech seem forced. Pat Olliffe makes Spider-Man look a little too scrawny, almost like Spidey's still sixteen years old in Untold Tales. My major problem though with the look of the book was the colors. The coloring is simply not diverse enough. Too many things on the same page are the same color, and the colors are too stark. There isn't enough subtlety or blending in the coloration.
One web. On the other hand this comic is not meant for me, because I am not a teenager who barely knows comics and listens to No Doubt. This comic is geared towards the very young and the very trendy who will only enjoy it by not knowing what a comic book published before 1990 was like.
...And on top of that, let me just mention how blatently contrived the "Mysterious figure uses newspaper ads to send hero all over the world in for mysterious purpose" concept is. Just the kind of thing you would use in order to avoid having to think of a motive for having people fight each other. Hmm... a bit like the "Great Game" from the Scarlet Spider years, or that equally pointless game the Hellfire Club used to play.
Yes Sireee, Bob. If anything clearly predicts the downward (if such is possible) slide of this book - it would have to be fatuous underlying premise that Mr Tom Peyer, writer unextrordinaire, has so limply dropped in our laps with this patently flawed first issue. The first issue of a title which promised so little, and delivered much less.