Spider-Man & The Secret Wars #3 (of 4) Review

“Galactus A-Go-Go…”

Writer: Paul Tobin
Penciler: Patrick Scherberger
Inker: Terry Pallot

The Situation So Far…

The third issue of Tobin & Scherberger’s ‘Spider-Man & the Secret Wars’ revisits Secret Wars #9, where Galactus makes his move towards “eating” the Beyonder’s battleworld and the Marvel heroes try an all-out assault to stop him.

This third issue goes off-the-chart on the Getting-It-Wrong-O-Meter.  The first two issues were at least passable in regards to the original story.  Here, however, Tobin just starts making stuff up out of nowhere.  Suddenly Spidey’s not black and white, someone’s taking hallucinogenic love drugs and Starbuck and Boomer are chicks.

Wait, what?  Spoilers below…

The Good

It’s well-drawn?

Seriously the art is about the only thing that gets it close-to-right here.  It’s pretty, it flows well and it gives Scherberger a chance to delve into the mainstay characters of Spider-Man’s past – as out of place as it all is.  There’s a few gaffes (see below) but overall the art’s the most stable thing in this issue.

The Bad

There’s so much bad here it’s hard to know where to start.

It’s hard to find the people who are actually ‘in character’ here.  Spider-Man hasn’t really been ‘in character’ (not for this particular chain of events) in three issues.  But here we’ve got Reed Richards coming across more as Nick Fury and that’s a massive distraction.  At the beginning I even expected Reed to yell “nut up!” to the heroes as they rush off to deal with Galactus.  Yes, it’s that out of place.  Meanwhile Spidey’s throwing out dialogue better suited for Captain America who is in the fight.  This was actually groan-worthy.  There’s Cap, right there, and Spider-Man’s screaming out tactical battle orders.  Ugh.

But here’s the kicker.  I can’t tell if that’s before or after Galactus starts up his illusion and reality altering powers against the heroes so it might be moot.  Yes, you read that right. Suddenly Galactus works like Nightmare, Mysterio or any number of magical, mystical or mental Marvel baddies.  Reality shifts around the heroes, creating hallucinations and giving Tobin a chance to show us Gwen falling off the bridge for the 9,724th time.  Luckily Spidey’s got help dealing with it as his own subconscious mind manifests as the Enchantress to steer him around Galactus’s big acid trip.  Why the Enchantress?  Enh, who the Hell knows.  The Germans are bombing Pearl Harbor at this point and it’s best just to go with it and not ask questions.

Adding more to this hot mess is where, suddenly, the idea for Spider-Man’s black and white costume comes from.  You see in the original Secret Wars Spider-Man was already in his black and white suit at the start of this particular fight.  He’d just gotten the symbiote costume in issue #8 and the black and white pattern just manifested in his mind because it’s what the Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman was wearing.  Here, however, that’s all thrown out.  Spidey starts the issue in red & blue and then while Galactus is morphing reality and the time/space continuum (because apparently that’s just how Galactus rolls) our hero sees himself in the future (which originally should be the past) getting the black & white suit after seeing Hulk and Thor using the costume machine at the hero base.  If this review had a wall I’d be banging my head against it.

The Ugly

There were many contenders for ‘the Ugly.’  Like Scherberger forgetting Storm’s mohawk phase.  But the grand prize winner is Galactus trying to step on Spider-Man.  In the original Galactus almost stepped on Spider-Man accidentally after getting blasted by the heroes during the assault.  It wasn’t intentional because it’s Galactus; had it been intentional that would have been like Dr. Doom telling a “Yo mama!” joke.

Anyway, here we see Galactus deliberately trying to step on Spider-Man.  It’s facepalm-worthy, goofy and out of place.

Bottom Line It For Me, Berryman!

Ask Brad Douglas or any of the Crawl Space crew.  No one wanted to love this months ago as I did.  But this has been a sad progression of getting-it-wrong.  The next issue will be morbid curiosity and little else.

1.5 out of 5 Webheads

–George Berryman!