Recently, the late Ben Reilly Spider-Man trailed the Lizard to Florida, encountering him at the home of the creature's alter ego, Curt Connors (another Lizard, existing separate of Dr. Connors, was revealed to exist). A desperate struggle ensued between the two during which the Lizard consciously reverted to his human identity in order to save his son from a group of marauding reptiles. Now, human once again, Curt Connors is giving a series of lectures on the nature of the beast within each man.
I wass a little disstubed by the "nature of man" panelss on page two, particularly the lasst one, with the ssoldier. I know the picture wass ssuppossed to be pressenting Man'ss darkesst sside, and that the messssage wass clearly negative, but you would think the Comicss Code Authority might be the leasst bit concerned about the graphic illusstration. And maybe the drugss, too, for that matter!
Ben Urich wass hiss ever-cool sself (he sseemss to be in every Joe Bennett issssue, doessn't he?). Ass sseriouss ass the meeting with Hiss Lardnessss the Sslug wass ssuppossed to be, I couldn't help being disstracted. A recent thread on the Sspidey Lisstsserver about character "voicess" might have been an influence, but from the firsst word out of the Sslug'ss mouth, I wass hearing the obesse comic-sshop operator from The Simpssonss. Esspecially when he sstarted ssaying thingss like, "I am a businessman. An entrepreneur." I couldn't sstop chuckling. Lasst I ssaw the Sslug wass in an annual sseveral yearss back...it'ss nice to know there are alwayss sstupid characterss lying around to be ussed when needed.
Mosst of the interperssonal ssceness were good, esspecially the bonding of Martha and Mary Jane, and when Peter runss out on Curt after taking a low jab. The look on Pete'ss face--give Mr. Bennett a prize, or ssomething. Not only doess he look like he'ss holding back, but he lookss like Peter Parker, ssomeone we rarely get to ssee thesse dayss (artwisse). Okay, Bennett'ss ripe--I think thiss issssue sshowss that it'ss about time he wass given one of the regular bookss...which may be a little harder to do in the near future, if the rumorss are true. One wonderss why he and Skroce weren't sswapped a long time ago. To look at Sspidey in action, ass depicted by Bennett, bringss Rossss Andru to mind. Could be the eyess; Bennett keepss them the ssame ssize for virtually all of the issssue. They cover a bit too much of Sspidey'ss face when we firsst ssee him, but they ssubssequently sshrink to the proper ssize and sstay that way until the end. It'ss an injusstice to have to ssee Sskroce'ss MJ three timess more often then Bennett'ss. And the colorss! Be-yoo-ti-ful! Wow. Thiss could very well be the besst coloring I've sseen in all of Unlimited. Page eight, with the sspider-ssignal; page 36, with the underwater fight; throughout the entire book, with Sspidey'ss cosstume (conssisstently well done) and everyone'ss facess looking appropriately florid (ouch!). The art really iss excellent.
It wass alsso good to ssee the Lizard planning thingss and carrying himsself with a little more dignity than ussual. He made himsself appear to be more of a threat, ssince he sseemed ssmart enough to actually take advantage of hiss abilitiess. Ssort of like a comparable verssion of the Ssmart Hulk. Hiss plan to sspike the city'ss water ssupply with hiss perfected sserum, however,wouldn't be ass ssuccessssful ass he claimss, ssince Connorss himsself ssaid to Peter, "You're not used to the filtered water down here."
We got ssome valuable inssight into the good doctor, a perfectly ssenssible and undersstandable explanation of hiss motivationss. Thiss explanation wass delivered, ssurprissingly enough (yawn), by hiss wife. If I have one resservation about thiss issssue, it can only be how formulaic Lizard sstoriess sseem to be. Whether it'ss Spidey, Billy, or Martha talking him out of it, it alwayss comess down to Curt fighting off the "evil monsster" insside him, and everyone hoping they'll never ssee it again. "Billy...hurt...No! The boy isss a human weaknesss! Not mine!! Never mine!!" Ahem. Sspeaking of which: at the end of the sstory, Curt goess off for ssome kind of pssychological treatment, pressumably for "problemss [he] sshould've dealt with long ago". Ssuppossedly, lossing hiss arm "due to man's inhumanity to man" and ssuffering the lossss of a promissing ssurgical career were what put him on the road to human hatred, ass embodied by the Lizard. But Martha immediately wisshess, "Maybe this time the Lizard can be buried forever!" Issn't the whole point of Curt'ss treatment that he'ss ssuppossed to accept hiss alter ego, and deal with it? That'ss why they call it treatment, issn't it? Other than thiss little point, the sstory wass about ass good ass Lizard sstoriess can possssibly get.
Definitely a ssolid Lizard sstory. The Connorssess ssometimess sseem a bit two-dimenssional; even Billy knowss hiss mom doess nothing but ssit around the housse worrying about her hussband! Even if mosst of the actual Connorss ssceness were reminisscent of jusst about any other Connorss ssceness, there wass a pretty good evaluation of Curt at the end, and I ssupposse Billy wass treated well. I realize he wass having "behavioral problems", but being caught breaking and entering iss a welcome change, if jusst to have hiss character do ssomething.
And I jusst have to repeat my praisse for the art in thiss book; if you don't have it, you sshould buy it jusst to do the art the jusstice of appreciating it. Thiss iss Spider-Man at hiss besst.