With the slumping sales of the Spider-Man titles, Marvel has decided to restart the series with a new history by John Byrne. When we last saw our hero, he had given up being Spider-Man, opting to live a normal life, while Mary Jane began modeling again. Since then, a new Spider-Man has arrived on the scene.
|Pencils:||John Byrne, Rafael Kayanan|
|Inker:||Jimmy Palmiotti, John Byrne, Scott Hanna|
|Cover Art:||John Byrne|
The Human Torch, distressed at the disappearance of Spider-Man, decides to call him out of hiding. The torch writes "Where R U, Spider-Man?" (hence the issue's title, with poor spelling no less) in flames in the sky. Since Marvel is hoping the reader has not read the Final Chapter, the Torch gives a recap of the events leading to Spidey's disappearance. After waiting for several minutes (the torch isn't very patient), Johnny returns home empty handed.
Watching from the balcony of his fancy-schmancy new apartment, Peter thinks about how his days as Spider-Man are over. Going back inside, he is annoyingly doted on by Aunt May ("You're still so skinny, a boy your age should be putting on some muscle", "Just goes to show you what the world has come to. It's all that awful rap music is what I think." I swear those are her exact words!). Mary Jane calls from her modeling assignment (showing some unnecessary skin in the process) and makes Peter promise AGAIN to stop being Spider-Man.
Meanwhile, we got more unnecessary cameos of heroes wondering where Spidey is. Do you get the feeling they are trying to add some pages to a thin story? The scene shifts to the new Daily Bugle building where 35 years of character development is being thrown out the window as JJJ is putting out headlines calling Spider-Man a coward for quitting. Betty asks Peter (who is inexplicably still interested in crime photography) to photograph Scorpion tearing up downtown. Peter can't make it, he has a job interview.
The Scorpion, in a corny new costume, is out destroying a street, claiming he needs to find someone. Trying to get some photographs, Betty is about to be toasted by Scorpion, when, out of the blue, comes Spider-Man! After a cheesy fight, Spidey is buried under some rubble, and Scorpion walks off.
A short time later, Peter is showing up for his job interview at the Tri Corp Research Foundation. Peter meets the team he will be working with if he gets the job, and after some lame dialogue is exchanged, Scorpion bursts in! Scorpion is using a bio-tracking device, and its target is in the room. Peter attempts to move the others out of there, when Scorpion's device shows that Peter is the one he is after. All seems lost when Spider-Man jumps in. Unfortunately (or it could be fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Spidey is getting whupped. Using some made-up doohickey he finds in the lab, Peter knocks Scorpion out.
Peter returns home to reveal to Aunt May that he got the job. Aunt May tells Peter in a "touching" (they brought her back for THIS?) scene that Uncle Ben would have been proud of him.
But wait! The fun isn't over! You still have 2 more stories! That's right, you're only one-third of the way though. Oh wait, the other 2 stories are only 4 pages each. Sorry. These bonus stories serve to recap Spidey's origin, and tell the origin of the new look of the Scorpion. Yee-ha.
Ummmmmmmm, well, nothing happens. I can't really hate this story because nothing happens in it. We see a new Spider-Man, Peter gets a new job. Whoop-de-do. All this in only 48 pages! The art isn't bad, despite what people say, I have always like John Byrne's art. The dialogue on the other hand, is horrendous. Who talks like that?! All in all, not a terribly promising start.
Two Webs (I'm in a generous mood).