Sensational Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #8

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Gary Miller


Does anyone remember Norton G. Fester, the famed super-villian known as the Looter? Sure--he was a scientist who was given super-strength when he accidentally inhaled fumes from a meteor, way back in Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's run, in Amazing Spider-Man #36.

When he showed up next he took up a less silly (some may even say moreso) name in that of the Meteor Man. After many misadventures (Marvel Team-Up #33-34, Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #41, and Web of Spider-Man #39) he finally decided to take back his former alias when released from prison in Amazing Scarlet Spider #1 (Actually it may have come from the fact that Marvel had created another character in a movie, also called the Meteor Man, and didn't want to cause confusion). He was cybernetically enhanced by the new Doc Ock and set loose after the Scarlet Spider in a " Cyber-War ", and thereafter defeated.

Which brings us up to date. Fester no longer has those cybernetic doo- dads and is once more garbed in the traditional purple-and-white of the past. Why? That's one question to which we hope the answer lies here.

Also, it doesn't hurt that the penciler who premieres this issue, Mike Wieringo, has always had a soft spot for the wackiest of villains, the Looter....

Story 'The Usual Suspects'

Ben Reilly, the sensational Spider-Man, swings over the rooftops, looking for the Lizard-like creature he recently fought (see Spectacular Spider-Man #237) and pondering the recent burglaries which were supposedly perpetrated by four known super-villains. He wonders if, due to the fact that any one of the villains would likely spring a crime spree and not single crimes, that possibly this is all the work of one man...

No sooner does Spidey come to this conclusion than do we see Norton G. Fester, the Looter, in a lavishly-decorated estate overlooking the Hudson River. Having broken into Iron Rock, storage facility for super- villain weaponry, while Spider-Man was involved in a fight with Will-o'- the-Wisp and Dragon Man (see Spectacular Spider-Man #236), he has stolen and since used the weapons of the Shocker (see Sensational #7), the Ringer (see Amazing #414), the Trapster (see Spider- Man #71), Stilt-Man (see Spectacular #237), the Mauler and the Unicorn to use in a series of robberies so that he may purchase "the final component" in his master plan. And once he has that, he will loot no more....

Ben goes to the hospital to see Peter and Mary Jane, and he and Peter talk about the robbery spree. Mary Jane asks Ben if they should have a sonogram done to determine the baby's sex. After seeing that the method the robber uses for choosing his next victim may be as simple as an advertisement in the Daily Bugle in each edition which one of his crimes is reported, Peter wants to help catch the thief, but Mary Jane orders him to stay in the hospital until the doctor says otherwise.

That evening, Spidey goes to Koybayashi Imports in hopes of finding the culprit behind the robberies. What he finds is--the Unicorn?!? He tries to fight the villain but is knocked unconscious by a blast from the " Unicorn " 's head.

Next thing we know Spidey awakens to the sight of the Looter, whom he immediately recognizes. He is webbed up (and has been for about an hour, note) and realizes that Fester is indeed in possession of his web- shooters, as well as the rest of the arsenal from Iron Rock. Fester shows Spidey his new device, the Meteorator 300, which allows him to tap into the power of the meteor which gave him his strength, as well as its missing twin--which he has recently located. When Fester says that he will buy the meteor, Spidey suggests that it would be easier if, were that the Looter were the greatest looter there ever was, he simply stole the meteor instead. Fester replies he never thought of that. Spidey replies to this by breaking free, as his webbing dissolves within an hour (yes, it really is that simple), and soundly defeats the Looter, erstwhile disabling all his other weapons and destroying his Meteorator device. Thereafter members of S.H.I.E.L.D. come onto the premises and take the meteor which gave Fester his powers " for further study ".

Upon arriving back in Manhattan, Spidey is confronted on a rooftop by an army of flying Sentinels. The Onslaught has arrived... See Amazing Spider-Man #415.

General Comments

Perhaps it's me, but the story harkened back to classic Lee & Ditko moments. The Looter was different here and didn't use his superhuman strength as much as he did his new accoutrements, but his personality was the same, and you can't help but love the character, if for nothing else than his wackiness. Of course, Spidey wasn't bad either...

Mike Wieringo made an impressive debut on this Spider-book, showing he's got what it takes to continue the book into the fun era which Dan Jurgens and Klaus Janson left a bit too soon.

Overall Rating

Do I really have to say this? Impressive story by Dezago, even more impressive art by Wieringo and Case.

Regular price, five webs, five webs!!!

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Gary Miller