"With great success, comes endless Knockoffs" (with apologies to Stan Lee).
In 2004 Marvel expanded its localized franchise of its corporate logo (Spider- Man) created an India version of Peter Parker's alter ego. Making the jump with our favorite wall crawler are all of the major characters, including: Peter Paker as Pavitr Prabhakar; Mary Jane as Meera Jain; Uncle Ben as Uncle Bhim; Aunt May as Aunt Maya; Norman Osburn as Nalin Oberoi; and Flash Thompson as Britisher, Flash Thompson.
|Plot:||Jeevan J. Kang, Sharad Devarajan, Suresh Seetharaman|
|Script/Art:||Gotham Studios Asia, Jeevan J. Kang|
In the first two issues we've witnessed the re-emergence of the Spider-Man legend, Indian style, as Pavitr Prabhakar learns the curse/blessing of the "with great power..." mantra. Meanwhile local businessman Nalin Oberoi (Norman Osborn) acquires a mysterious talisman and morphs into a Green Goblin- like creature. Pavitr's Uncle Bhim dies and Pavitr meets up with a demonic Dr. Octopus-like creature (a henchman of Oberoi who is also morphed by the power of the talisman).
As the third issue starts, Pavitr and his friends Flash and Meera Jain are in downtown Mumbai going to see a local band, Peddar Road, playing. Just as the gig starts, the mystical Doc Ock bursts upon the scene, demanding Spider-Man appear. In true Spidey tradition, Pavitr ditches his friends, and changes into his alter ego. The pair go mano-a-mano for a couple of pages in a set of very spectacular fight sequence, with Spidey heckling Doc Ock the way we here in the U.S. have become accustomed to it.
Trounced, Ock scurries back to Oberoi, and Pavitr heads home to make excuses to Aunt Maya. In a confrontation with his new master, Ock begins to understand the madness of Oberoi who kidnaps Aunt Maya from her home, and leaves his calling card (his initials burnt in green flame in the Prabhakar's wall) for Pavitr to find. This is how the issue ends, leaving a huge cliffhanger for the final issue of the series.
I'm still enjoying the series, especially the local references to Indian culture (each issue offers a glossary of terms on a text page at the close of the story). Plus -and I didn't mention this in my reviews of the earlier issues - I also kind of enjoy the way the artist (Jeevan Kang) redesigned Spidey's costume to account for local culture. His hands are not gloved, and he is wearing white "bloomer" pants (my apologies, as I don't know the Indian name for this style of pants) that only reach his mid-calves, and red Spider- slippers. Also, there is a long sash depending from his shirt (and under his belt) that gives a real Indian flair to the costume.
Doc Ock's extra arms seem to be mystical in nature, but expand and retrack pretty much the way his U.S. counter-part's arms extend. Plus, he has a set of horns, marking his more demonic nature. I noted in issue #1 that Meera Jain was to be a brunette, but that now appears to have been a coloring error, as she has appeared with her flowing red locks in issues 2 & 3 (although she does bear a bindi, the symbol for the mind's eye, in the middle of her forehead) which helps as a visual reference for the topical reference.
Yep, this is still working out well for me. The changes reflect a respect for the source material, but allowing for updates and alterations based on the change in both time and locale. I'm personally hoping that this version is granted a sequel (both there and here) and we get to see where they are allowed to go from this point. Also, I'd be remiss if I missed the chance to point out that the release of this Spider-Man taking place in India, and the recent disaster there. I can only wonder if Marvel will pledge some of the revenues of this series to help out with disaster relief. Personally I plan on writing to the powers that be over at Marvel and suggest that. I humble suggest that others do so as well (strength in numbers, and all that).