Sensational Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #9

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Gary Miller


Fritz Von Meyer was a world expert on toxic poisons, apiculturist, and expatriate Nazi who hid in South America for years after the war. He came upon a massive hive of bees and found it the result of an unusual meteorite bombardment that, he reasoned, left them mutated -- their intelligence multiplied one thousandfold by the radiation. Working to reawaken their killer instincts so that the bees may serve him, he fashioned a controller device to change them.

When exposed to the device's rays, the bees indeed were no longer passive, but neither under Von Meyer's control. Instead, they attacked his body, stinging through his protective garb. As he felt his life fleeting, he reached out and seized the queen bee. With her in Von Meyer's power, the swarm would be his to control ... except Von Meyer had become something different: an aggregate man, an embodiment of the bees, called Swarm! Their relationship is a symbiotic one -- through him, the bees create and think, while through them he lives to conquer.

In past battles, he encountered the now-disbanded super-group called the Champions (see CHAMPIONS #14-15) as well as the amazing Spider- Man (Peter parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #36-37 and later The Lethal Foes of Spider-Man #1-4) and the Secret Defenders (Secret Defenders #19-20). In the first instances, his schemes involved conquering the world through use of his mutated giant queen bee and its mutated offspring, and the bees were bound to the skeleton of Von Meyer. However, of late he has rid himself of his skeletal body, and decided to allow humankind to kill off itself. He has been waiting in seclusion, formulating another scheme ... until now.

Story 'Swarmed!'

Due to the psionic storm which occurred during Onslaught (see X-MEN #55), the telepathic bond between Swarm and the mutant bee colony has been severed. Swarm has been drawn to the origin of the storm, which is New York, and must re-establish that link or face the dire consequences. He intends to do this through instructing the research team of the Institute of Seismoharmonic Research to adjust the vibratory field and thus restore his power.

On the other end of things, Ben Reilly arrives to work late, and Desiree Winthrop quite bluntly asks him out to see "Rent," the hottest musical on Broadway. And so after the work day is ended, Ben goes home only to find Jimmy Six in his apartment, in the bathtub with a woman named Harleen. After ordering them out, Ben readies himself and meets Desiree, albeit a little late. But en route to the show, when Ben sees clouds of bees over the city, he excuses himself "for a few minutes" and changes to Spider-Man to combat the swarm. After having to save some people from situations caused by the bees' arrival, he decides at last to follow the bees and see where they lead -- which is, inevitably, the Seismoharmonic Research Institute, covered partially by a hive -- and partically by the virtual globe of bees which is now Swarm...

In other developments, Peter and Mary Jane's child will be a girl!

General Comments

This issue wasn't bad at all. With Todd Dezago's writing blending perfectly with 'Ringo's quirky art, the book is one of my favorites. I wasn't disappointed by anything in this issue; however, it just wasn't as good as a single-part story. I do like Swarm (although his speech pattern has changed since last I saw him in PPTSSM -- I guess I should pick up LFOSM and SD #19-20, eh?) and as wacky as such a character may be, it makes for an enjoyable romp by the creative team. Thanks, gang!

Overall Rating

I can never complain with this team, and I'm being honest. Four webs.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Gary Miller