Gauntlet Origins: Electro
Writing: Fred Van Lente
Art: Barry Kitson
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: VC’s Joe Carmanga
THEN (a short time after a certain lineman gets electrocuted by a lightning strike). On rain covered night on the Goeth Bridge on the Jersey side, a Stark Industries delivery truck runs over something electric that drains the battery. Behind them, conveniently, a van pulls up. The driver’s partner pulls a plasma rifle on the man getting out of the vehicle, dressed in a slicker, who’s offering to help. The driver himself warns him it’s a risk on account of the rash of thefts that’s occurred on this route over the past month. But before they can decide, the individual – Max Dillon aka Electro - takes off his glove and electrocutes him, telling them it’s been “six”, not four. He picks up the gun and fires at the driver. Max feels weakened as he always does after electrostatic discharge.
Later at Arden Heights, Max hauls his box of stolen transistors into a basement, where he’s building an apparatus to amplify his powers via siphoning it from New York’s main grid. Wearing his electromagnetic harness, he steps between the conductors and turns on the power. However, the process is interrupted by a green blur which Max notices and attacks. The electrified figure on the ground is Quicksilver, and is quickly joined by his father, Magneto and sister, the Scarlet Witch. He explains he sensed a disturbence in the locak electromagnetic field and assumes he’s it. Enraged at these trespassers, Max tries to attack but Magneto uses his powers to use Dillon’s own equipment to bind him.
Dragging the truth about the origins of his powers, Magneto rejects it, telling him that the lightning could not have given him these abilities…but rather awakened a mutant gene. That only makes Max angrier. Magneto corrects himself but reiterates that is what they will call him, but feels survival is within both their grasps if they work together. Dillon flat out rejects the offer; his life has been filled with people who sought to dominate his destiny, and considers the lightning strike as “karma” telling him he doesn’t have to follow that path any longer. Magneto accepts his decision and leaves with his children, noting that Xavier won’t take notice of him. He adds insult to injury by noting that fate is a comedienne to put so much power into a “little, little man.”
The next day, in Woodside, Queens, Max comes home to find his apartment’s been ransacked and the man responsible, Johnny Pro, demanding his money for the electrical equipment he had shipped to the house – also provided by him – in Staten Island. Max tells him to be patient but Johnny will hear none of it. He then takes out Max’s new costume and insults him some more. telling him he’s small-time and prepares to draw his gun on him. In reaction, and in anger, Max electrocutes Johnny to death. To himself he swears he’s not small-time and that he’s finally ready.
The Spectacular Spider-Girl in “Like a Fury Scorned!”
Script: Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz
Art: Sal Buscema
Colorist: Bruno Hang of Impacto Studios
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Peter and MJ catch Mayday sneaking in her window at 2 AM demanding to know where she’s been. May, however, is more concerned as to April’s whereabouts.
Elsewhere, April is held in a sonic chamber as Fury, The Goblin Queen, reveals that she is responsible for the murder of “Gwen Reilly”…really a girl named Connie Frederickson (maybe Norman Osborn’s daughter) duped by her into playing a role in this deception, even going so far as to having plastic surgery to resemble Gwen Stacy. She then points out to April – still disguised as Mayday – that she knows that she’s really the clone, hence the sonic chamber. She psychologically tortures her with the knowledge that the Parkers will never accept a fake as their daugther…as well as pointing out she blurted out Peter’s secret the first time they met.
At Don Silvio’s estate, he reacts badly to the news of Guido and Nunzio having been arrested. The Black Tarantula examines one of Silvio’s sculptures as he proposes in order to survive the gang war they join forces, with him in control and Silvio as one of his chief lieutenants. Silvio flat out rejects the offer, and Tarantula provides incentive to accept by shattering the statue in his hands.
The next morning, May feels refreshed, but realizes she’s still pretty banged up and needs to cover up her facial injuries with a lot of makeup. After that she makes it downstairs in time for Peter to get off the phone with Phil who tells him that Tombstone – the same Tombstone who almost killed her – was found dead. May dreads the idea that April may have been responsible. She doesn’t let on and heads out the door to school, still debating whether it was April and where she could be.
Back at Fury’s lab, the villainness switches strategies and starts to play on their “familial” connections. The argument: since they’re both “the true daughters of the original Green Goblin,” and both who’ve been rejected by the Goblin cult, it would only be natural that they team up. She leaves to run an errand and leaves April to think about it.
At Midtown, Mayday is with Davida and Courtney. They both note that May’s choice to play basketball again off the courts wasn’t a good move because – despite the coverage – she looks like she’d been mugged and she’s limping. Wes runs up to her, mortifying May by calling her “Angel.” He said that last night was fantastic and that he had problems calling her because her numbers are all unlisted. He gave her his number, as May is dreading what else April did while as her while she was incapacitated.
Across town, Darkdevil and Kaine stalk a Goblin cult member in the limousine by rooftop when they’re both ambused by the broomstick-riding Fury’s Taser bats, noting that Rene DeSantos is going to learn the hazards of an established routine.
At Midtown, May tries to explain what Wes was going on about when her spider-sense goes off. Fury’s in view, and Rene’s limo, dropping off his daughter – and Eugene Thompson’s girlfriend – Simone is in front of the school. May tells her friends to bolt as she runs off to “find a cop.” Fury attacks with pumpkin bombs, but is surprised to learn that the limo’s been fortified against Goblin attacks. Rene orders his driver to head off before Simone is caught in the middle of this. This does no good as Fury grabs the car and tosses it over her head to Simone’s horror.
Despite her damaged ankle, Mayday, as Spider-Girl, catches the limo and sets it down. When Fury scolds the misinformation April fed her about Mayday’s fate, that puts two and two together for the web-stunner. Due to the fact she has no web-shooters, all she can do is dodge the pumpkin bomb assault, and that’s also hindered by her injury. She ducks into a travel store, but Fury demolishes it with her bombs. Simone fights with Eugene as she tries to get to her father, but instead is abducted by Fury. Wes, while Eugene’s indecisive as to what to do, grabs Simone’s foot and is dragged into the sky along with them. As May tries to dig herself out of the rubble, Wes loses his grip and starts to fall from a seven story height.
TO BE CONTINUED…
“The Irritable J. Jonah Jameson”
Writer: Tom Peyer
Artist: Javier Roderiguez
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Mayor J. Jonah Jameson walks out of the office towards his limo furious over the press conference questions despite the positive conclusion. He also decides to forget about meeting with the Board of Education’ budget meeting and orders Phillips to run it because he can’t be bothered. Phillips says he can’t and is told he’s fired if that’s the case, as is anyone else who wants him for the rest of the day. His driver bids him a good afternoon, but as usual JJJ scoffs back. The driver then turns a nob…and the backseat is filled with knockout gas.
The “driver” wakes Jonah up in a dark room, tied to a chair. He says his name is Emil Mason and – as he flips on the switch and reveals a room covered wall-to-wall with Daily Bugle anti-Spider-Man headlines – that he’s his hero. Jonah’s not impressed, only more confused. He proposes they join forces to beat Spider-Man. As to how, Emil reveals he’s bought old supervillain weapons on Ebay, such as the Beetle’s suction glove. Jonah calls him insane and Emil believes that he’s been duped all these years, as has the people who have bought his newspapers. Jonah clutches his chest and the chair falls over. Realizing he still has a bad heart, Emil quickly unties him…only for Jonah to grab the glove, nab a section of the wall behind him, and give Mason a hell of an uppercut. He begins to dial his cel…then closes it. He nails Mason against the wall and tells him that after the press conference today he started to hate newspapers…until he showed up. He believes it’s what he needed: to be reminded of what he thinks. He then asks him if he owns a suit.
The next day, Phillips is stopped by Jonah as he’s clearing out his stuff. Jonah tells him he’s not fired and that he intends to do it every Tuesday and Thursday because it felt good. He’s putting Mason – whose name he screws up – under Phillips watchful eye as Jonah’s “new advisor, or gofer, or something.” He says Mason thought he kidnapped him, but he had it backwards.
- Mayday’s not dead
- JJJ’s victimization by one of his biggest fans
- JMS-esque insight on Dillon’s abilities
- Fury – need I say more?
- bad art for the Jameson story
- Electro origin should have been a full issue
I deeply apologize again for the lateness of this issue. I’ll get to a decision I’ve thought long and hard about later on. But for now let’s go in sequence.
Van Lente is really making an effort to add further dimension to classic villains and throw in ideas that had not been entertained before. In short, he’s trying to pull a Straczynski with Electro much in the same vein as “The Other.” The parameters are similar: an occurrence that was never questioned back in the sixties suddenly has an unexamined possibility. How many people survive lightning strikes and claim they’ve become human conduits? What, no one put their hands up? No surprise there. Van Lente is trying to reestablish the realism of Spider-Man comics to acertain extent. In his opinion, there is no chance Dillon could have developed his powers like he did by a simple lightning strike. I just didn’t expect a visit from Magneto and kids, but then again we didn’t expect an old man clinging to walls to explain the spider or the egg motif to Peter either. All in all it was a good introspective look at Dillon’s insecurities that drive him, as well as the fact he stole smart. You can get better equipment than from Stark even in that period of Marvel History. Its only drawback though is that it should have been an issue-long storyline. From accident, to hospital stay, to this story. Oh well.
The Spider-Girl story got off to a great start: MAYDAY LIVES!!! For a while I thought we were going to be following the adventures of psycho Spider-Clone girl. My one complaint is the main villain. If there’s one thing I hate is a cheap Green Goblin knockoff and Fury fits the bill. I buy into the gangwar, but never was a fan of the European power base Norman built while on hiatus from villainy. And I really don’t think that having one more person in on May’s secret would be a bad thing, but I was hoping it would’ve been Davida rather than Wes (if he knows I mean). Good cliffhanger as well, but in this I find another cliffhanger: if Wes lives, May still has to deal with the possibility of his knowing her secret and what he’ll do with that information.
Ugh, if there was ever one rotten-egg in this issue, it was the JJJ story. The writing would have worked better if the artist was different. While I applaud the karma – Jonah getting kidnapped and terrorized by one of his own fans – I really feel this story was unnecessary. Good cheap laughs but ultimately a waste of time.
Now on to the real reason for my delays. I’ve recently gone back to university for the summer, and therefore coursework and essay assignment have taken up a good amount of my time. That being the case, I would like to announce that this is my final review for Web of Spider-Man. I would like to apologize to Brad Douglas for failing to meet my deadlines and still grateful for the opportunity. Perhaps when I have more time I will manage the responsibility better, but I have to be realistic. You will still see me on Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, but as far as Web goes, I wish my successor the best of luck.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Webs
COVER: 2 out of 5 Webs
As usual very deceptive to the reader who have never picked up a Web issue before. While it’s an iconic pose, you’re expecting a 23-page devoted backstory to one of Spidey’s classic villains, which was very much the same problem as last issue.