Spider-Man chases Screwball, a parkour expert who makes viral videos out of her crimes, until she surrenders, convinced that Spider-Man wants to kill her. Dexter Bennet rejects Peter’s photos of the ordeal, but he recognizes the young man’s skill at shooting from crazy angles. Bennett assigns Peter to the paparazzi beat, offering five figures for any embarrassing photo of Hollywood bad boy Bobby Carr and two million bucks for a shot of Carr making out with his rumored celebrity girlfriend.
Peter’s powers make him a successful paparazzo, but Robbie, Harry, and May all seem disappointed in him. Meanwhile, a demented Goth chick named Paper Doll, with the power to flatten herself against any surface, stalks Bobby Carr. She adds one of Peter’s photos to a room coated in clippings.
I’m not pleased that Dan Slott made the worst aspect of Peter Parker’s brand new characterization into the focus of a story arc. Yeah, Pete occasionally makes bad choices, and him dealing with the consequences of his mistakes makes for an iconic story template, but Slott doesn’t write it convincingly.
I buy that Peter might sell out for the chance at two million smackers, but I think he has enough of a moral compass to be more consciously conflicted about it, especially after seeing his loved ones’ reactions. Instead, Peter thinks about how “sweet” his new gig is, and he rationalizes away everyone’s concerns. He can’t possibly believe his own words, so his insincerity irks me even more than his flexible ethics. I assume that Peter will learn his lesson during this arc, but he sure looks like a scumbag in the meantime.
I love the way Marcos Martin drew the opening chase scene, and he has some cool panel compositions throughout the issue, but his bug-eyed faces look hideous and he couldn’t pull off the complicated effect that the last panel called for. Also, he draws Lily Hollister like a trashy plastic hooker. It’s not sexy; it’s disgusting, and Peter going all wide-eyed and slack-jawed over her makes him look disgusting too. Actually, he has almost the same expression when he hears about the $2,000,000 prize. This is a Peter Parker who goes gaga over the gilded things in life.
2.5 webheads out of 5. This issue has its moments. Paper Doll seems very cool and creepy and Jonah doing Tai Chi is priceless. But the core premise is rotten. It would make more sense if Peter reluctantly took paparazzi shots to help someone like Aunt May instead of cheerfully doing it to pay off his own debts. Anyway, I’ll give this one some leeway for being only the first part of three.
REVIEWED BY: CrazyChris