Slingers #4

Background

After Hornet was rescued by Dusk, he and Ricochet were confronted by Spider-Man. The two panicked and caused an accident on the expressway with a tanker truck. Between Spider-Man, Hornet and Ricochet they saved the day but not before Spidey chewed them out for being reckless.

Dan Lyons, the Black Marvel, was watching "The Black Marvel Strikes" yet again. Despite being an old man, he was shown to be very agile when he scared a couple of kids exploring the abandoned industrial site.

Eddie was doing research on the history of the building being built by the Maggia and found the name of the site had once been the Grande Royale Hotel. It had been the scene of a fire were several people were killed. After he left the library he accidentally ran into Susan, the girl that he had saved from her boyfriend as Hornet. Said boyfriend, Bryan, dragged her away and called Eddie a gimp.

After getting back to his dorm room, Eddie was met by Dusk, whom he didn't know was a spirit. She wanted him to know she was "alive" and didnt want him to be afraid of her. Eddie was shocked, and Dusk retreated to the dorm's rooftop.

Johnny was visited at his job by his girlfriend, Kathy, who suspected he was Ricochet. She was disappointed to find a copy of "The Black Marvel Strikes" in his backpack instead of a superhero costume. She left after the apologized.

Prodigy visited The Black Marvel, who was becoming more impressed with his trainee. Prodigy's heart was hardening, which Marvel deemed necessary to be a vigilante. Black Marvel knew Prodigy would be the one to get the glory and fame, and Prodigy thought they were trying to fight crime. Marvel reluctantly agreed, before telling him to leave.

Story 'The Black Marvel Strikes'

  Slingers #4
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Editor: Ruben Diaz
Writer: Joseph Harris
Pencils: Oscar Jimenez
Inker: Eduardo Alpuente

Johnny's father went into his son's room to shut the window that he had left open and noticed a copy of "The Black Marvel Strikes" on his desk. Mr. Gallo had watched the movie as a kid, and remembered it as one of his favorites. He told his absent son that he was a good kid and went to watch the film.

Meanwhile it was opening night at the new Grande Royale Hotel and two Maggia goons were keeping watch over the crowded lobby. One was telling the other that the hotel was meant to be synonymous with class and sophistication, something that would make it untouchable. As they talked, Dan Lyons walked past them.

Outside, Prodigy was keeping watch on the rooftop, eager to show off his power. He impatiently radioed Lyons to say he was ready to go inside but was told to wait for the darkest hour in order to be born. At that moment, Ricochet was riding on Hornet's back as they flew to the hotel. Ricochet was repeating to himself what Hornet had told him: Dan Lyons had pulled them from obscurity and made them into superheroes and was a liar. Hornet told him that the Black Marvel had tried to save lives at the original hotel's fire and failed, becoming obsessed with his failure. Hornet was suspicious of Lyon's motivations and wanted them to go to the new hotel's grand opening to see what happened.

At the same time, Dusk was standing over the spot in the alley where she fallen to her death. No one had seen her fall, no one had noticed. People were certainly watching now, as she realized Spider-Man was clinging to a wall behind her. He started to say that it isn't usually the victim that returns to the scene of the crime, when she teleported next to him. She wanted to know why he was following her and why he cared. He had seen her body and wanted to know how she was back. She said that people die and sometimes they come back. "You don't know the half of it," he tells her.

She could tell that he was a good person but wanted him to trust that they could learn about consequences, responsibility and power. He wanted to know how they had gotten their costumes but couldn't tell her why. She teleported away, saying they both had secrets.

Inside the new Grande Royale Hotel, Lyons was watching a couple in a coat closet flirt and he thought how sad it was that they wouldn't survive. On the roof, Prodigy was confronted by Ricochet and Hornet, the first time they had seen each other since he had left them for dead. He knocked Hornet to the ground quickly and easily deflected Ricochet's disks. Ricochet tried to tell him about the Black Marvel but made the mistake of calling him Ritchie. Prodigy punched the concrete wall on either side of Ricochet's head, shattering it before grabbing him by the throat. Gasping for air, Ricochet asked him if he needed a hug...and again called him Ritchie.

Hornet tried to pull himself together but realized that his power pack was damaged. Despite this, he ran into Prodigy as he was about to toss Ricochet from the top of the hotel. The collision made Prodigy drop Ricochet. Hornet tried to fly after him but was grabbed by Prodigy and tossed into a large window.

The two Maggia watchmen from before heard a report that superheroes were upstairs and decided to take care of the problem themselves. They didn't want the boss to hear any more about vigilantes. They were watched by Lyons, who was setting up small devices to walls around the building.

Ricochet was still falling to the ground and was met by Dusk, who casually said they hadn't seen each other for a while. She teleported them away, leaving concrete debris fall onto a Mercedes Benz. Back at the top of the building, Hornet's wings were out of commission as he was approached by the silent Prodigy. He mocked Prodigy's intelligence and told him he was wasting his time at the top, when the real action was in the basement. In the basement, the Maggia boss was suspicious of a sound and was skeptical of the hotel business and considered going back to larceny.

In the lobby, Kathy and her friends arrived and they wondered why she would think Johnny was in such a fancy place. She awkwardly said that the hotel reminded her of a movie she had seen.

In the kitchen, a group of goons showed up with tommy guns (interesting choice of weapon for 1990's gangsters to have) and started shooting at Hornet and Prodigy. Hornet hid behind a support pillar, while Prodigy took the initial barrage of bullets. He then took a wooden table and threw it at the goons, then grabbed one of them. Holding him up by the throat, Prodigy wanted to know what was happening in the basement. The goon could hardly talk and Prodigy was hit by a surprise blast from Hornet. Prodigy scoffed that Hornet couldn't hurt him and Hornet replied that he didn't even know what he was doing there and where the Black Marvel was hiding. He sarcastically called him Prodigy the entire time. He suddenly thought of the basement and smashed through the floor to reach it. In the hallway, the Maggia goons noticed that there was a strange beeping coming from a nearby wall.

Prodigy arrived in the basement, making two goons pull their guns to protect their boss. He told them to stop before a bullet could puncture one of the barrels and explode. Meanwhile, Prodigy realized that the Black Marvel was nowhere in sight. At the top of the building, Ricochet found Hornet and said they needed to talk, with Dusk right behind him. At that moment, the Black Marvel detonated the bombs he had planted around the building. He arrived just as the crowd of people ran for their lives. He had waited forever and a day to be a hero once more, and he just gave himself that chance.

General Comments

There was a new artist for this issue, a surprise since the cover was still done by the regular, Chriscross. Oscar Jimenez and Eduardo Alpuente took over and they do have a different style. Where Chriscross has a colorful and slightly cartoon look, Jimenez's art has a grittier feel. The inking is lighter than previous issues making the images seem almost like sketches. It's not bad, and even fits the tone of the story but at times seems rushed. Other times, I like the emotion conveyed. The anger, fear and pain on the heroes faces is palpable.

I liked the confrontation between Prodigy and the team mates he betrayed, they clearly had a lot of violence to purge. What I didn't like was how Hornet's suit seemed to be functional or useless from moment to moment. Eddie says the power pack is out of whack, then flies into Prodigy. After he crashes through the window and into the dining room, he says his wings are clipped...then blasts Prodigy a short while later. It's just not consistent.

The darker tone of the art was fitting for Prodigy, he was in full brooding psychopath mode. The problem was that he seemed to have taken a hit to his IQ. He was always all about his raw strength and wasn't necessarily the talkative type, but he seemed like a lunkhead here. Some of his dialog was monosyllabic and he moved to the basement by smashing a hole through the various floors of the hotel. It felt like Hulk-level brute force. For someone that wants to do justice, he seemed awfully thoughtless about potential harm to bystanders.

I liked the interaction between Dusk and Spidey. The fact that he didn't know who the Slingers are or how they got their costumes was clearly gnawing at him. I enjoyed him saying that she didn't know the half of it when it came to people coming back from the dead. Norman Osborn and Roderick Kingsley had made their comeback at the time. It doesn't get any less common, Spidey. Sorry.

Kathy showing up at the hotel just as things started going bad was a little too coincidental for me, but I guess that is typical comic book storytelling. Black Marvel was setting up the hotel and team to fail, risking the lives of thousands. There's a twist.

Overall Rating

This was a good issue but sometimes seemed a little sloppy or rushed. The character interaction was great.