Writer: Mark Waid with Tom Peyer

Penciler: Paul Azaceta

Inker: Paul Azaceta

Story Title: Scavengers Part 2


Spider-Man and the Vulture: Round Two. Peter gives Jonah a hand. The secret origin of the new Vulture. Peter Parker; unemployed!

The Commentary

More vomiting.

Usually when I read a book I know I am going to be reviewing I look for the first event or line of dialogue that stands out. Writing these things can be frustrating sometimes, especially when you are reviewing the same title month after month or in this case week after week, though given my ability to get these reviews out on a timely basis you could probably argue the week after week thing. In any case I try to find a hook to make the review somewhat entertaining for y’all to read.

With this issue the first thought that stood out was, “More vomiting. Great.”

That is not to say that the issue itself was bad or that I didn’t enjoy what I read. I’m just kind of sick of the vomiting. It’s gross. I know it’s meant to be gross but still…gross.

Despite the yuck factor that come from massive amounts of regurgitated acid I dug the heck out of this issue. The opening action sequence was fantastic. Azaceta gave me the feeling of what a fight that took place hundreds of feet in the air would feel like. The dialogue was spot on here as well. I have always liked Waid’s writing and he has a good handle on who Peter is in and out of the Spider-Man outfit. I loved the quips and I loved the internal musings as well. This is another place the art really shined because even though his face was completely covered you could tell that Peter was bluffing a lot of his bravado through body language. This was a classic Spider-Man scene and I could probably go on about it but there are other aspects of the issue to discuss.

I really dug the origin of the new Vulture. I’m a sucker for the villain that was previously a bad guy that got screwed over by other bad guys. It doesn’t make him sympathetic because he was a scum bag to begin with but it adds a neat dimension to who this guy is and it sort of makes him more dangerous because he doesn’t have all that much to lose. I am undecided whether or not it was worth the wait because I am not a fan of having to wait as long as we have to these days for revelations and origins but at the end of the day it works. Still it would have been nicer to get this information in the story arc where the new Vulture first appeared, but maybe that’s just me.

Then there’s the scene which garnered media attention. Peter getting fired. To be honest when I first heard about this I was wondering what the big deal was. The way Steve Wacker spun it (no pun intended, I assure you) is that we were going to see Peter have to deal with being unemployed and having money troubles and standing in line at the unemployment office and everything that goes into losing your job and on one hand that could be interesting but on the other for about 90% of this character’s life in the comics he’s had money problems. I am working under the assumption that this time he won’t have any money and since unemployment is something that is on the hearts and minds of the readers this is a relevant idea to explore. I have never been comfortable with the line of thinking that states that comics should merely be an escapist form of entertainment and that heavy subjects like drug abuse, death and now unemployment shouldn’t be explored because someone might go to comics to forget about their problems. A writer’s muse takes them where she takes them. On the other hand this one might hit too close to home for a lot of readers, which could be a good thing or a major catastrophe. This is an internal debate that I have just about every time when these stories pop up.

But that’s all me working out my own issues about the idea of Peter getting fired. The matter before me is how he got fired and I have to admit this is the first stupid thing Peter has done since the start of Brand New Day that I can honestly say makes perfect sense to me. Peter felt responsible for not being there sooner to help vindicate Jonah. Again I’m confused as to why Peter cares so much about Jonah but at the same time Peter’s a good guy so it sort of makes sense. So he doctors a photo and once Jonah discovers that the picture had been faked Peter is fired via an extremely public press conference. Peter did the wrong thing for the right reason and he now has to deal with the consequences of his actions.

On one hand I like this idea because if given to the proper writing team this concept could have some serious legs. I can understand why Jonah did what he did because even though he can be the biggest jerk on the planet this version of Jonah seems to have his principles and he couldn’t use false evidence to clear his name even if he is innocent. On the other hand the public firing seem unnecessarily punitive especially since he added the, “No one should hire this guy,” thing right there at the end. Jonah could have very easily revealed that the photos were doctored and fired Peter behind closed doors, but he didn’t. He call a press conference and basically said, “I’m innocent but the evidence was manufactured and now allow me to throw someone I have known for years under the bus so I can look good.” It seems both in character and out of character and thus I am a tad conflicted on the whole thing.

Parting Thoughts

This was a thoroughly entertaining issue from start to finish. To my mind this is some of the best writing Mark Waid has done on this title to date and I am excited to see the other stories he will contribute to down the road. I am still not entirely sold on Peter getting fired but unlike other complications that the creators have thrown his way I am very interested to see if this is going to lead anywhere. If it does we may get one of those sub-plots that not only has a lasting impact but one that we’ll be talking about years down the road.

Or it could all go down in flames. I am hoping for the former over the latter.

It occurs to me here at the end that I have neglected to mention Tom Peyer’s name in both this and the previous review. I have liked Peyer’s work in the past and it is nice to see his name in the credits again. So I hope he hasn’t felt slighted by me leaving his name out when I was heaping the praise on the writing of this issue and the previous one.

Sorry, Tom. I hope there are no hard feelings.

4 out of 5 webheads.

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