Last issue, this new Spidey was revealed to be a 15 year-old girl, who had received the gift of power from the ritual of the Five. Fighting an incredibly powerful being named Shadrac (who looks like a flaming skeleton), she proved too inexperienced to face such a powerful foe. Peter had to save her life, and decided to reclaim his title and fight Shadrac.
|Cover Art:||John Byrne|
Although Spidey pursues Shadrac, the fiery fiend is able to make his escape into the alleys, where he is confronted by the diabolical Dolman, the owner of one of the five relics before it was stolen by Osborn. The secret of Shadrac is revealed -- that he was Dr. Gregory Herd (also known as the supervillain called Override), who received the gift of death during the Gathering ritual, and is controlled by Dolman until he is finally consumed by the torturous fire that burns from inside him. Dolman plans to use Shadrac to reclaim his artifact, and use its power for evil and nastiness.
Spidey stops off at the office just long enough to confront an egocentric co-worker and blow off the rest of his colleagues. From there, he follows the trail of police cars straight to Shadrac, and enlists Iceman's help to try to subdue the tormented spectre. Will they succeed? If you want to find out, you'd better get ready to cough up another $2 (or more, if you're paying in Cana-pesos) for Peter Parker: Spider-Man #3.
I'm not sure what the goal was in relaunching the Spidey titles after a run of more than 30 years, but I guess it's not to start the saga over fresh. Now that Spidey's in the webs, it's like he never left. Bring in the ultimately-powerful villains. Bring in the gratuitous guest heroes. And please, whatever you do, take care to ensure that every storyline run for at least half a year, until the plot becomes so convoluted that nobody cares if the resolution make sense or not. This is Spidey at his best folks -- or so we're told.
Truth is, I cared more for Override in the pre-Gathering books than I do now. He was a desperate villain trying to provide for his dying wife. There's not nearly as much interest or tension once he's become a hopeless spectre who's being manipulated through his last days on earth. Shadrac has become a fairly uninteresting character.
This is too typical of the whole book, which hints at some interesting character possibilities, and strays away from realizing them. Peter's confrontation with Javier at Tricorp serves no real purpose but to provide our boy with a new workplace rival. Peter's own internal struggle with becoming Spider-Man against MJ's wishes has been done to death more times than Aunt May. And, as an extra bonus, Bobby Drake glides into the action with all the heroic charisma of a glacier.
But, at least it's not drawn by John Romita Jr.
Two webs. Maybe that's too generous? Skip this and you won't miss anything.