“Shed, Part Four”

Writer: Zeb Wells

Penciler: Chris Bachalo and Emma Rios

Inker: Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba, Mark Irwin, Chris Bachalo, and Emma Rios

Colorist: Antonio Fabela

Cover Art: Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend

Variant Cover Art: Mike McKone and Jeromy Cox

Be warned – there are SPOILERS ahead!

The Plot

The Lizard continues to cause people to go bananas.  Spider-Man, with the aid of Connors’ serum, protects himself from the Lizard’s mind control and uses a bit of it to try to turn the Lizard back to humanity.  The Lizard saves Spidey from death by mob.  After a brief moment of clarity, the Lizard runs away.  Peter and Aunt May patch things up.

The Good

Finally!  Not only does this seemingly interminable arc end, but we also knock out the Negative Aunt May story too!



The Bad

Not surprisingly, the conclusion to this arc was as poorly-written and nearly as poorly-illustrated as the first three parts.  While not quite as sickeningly awful, it’s still a pile of dog doo.

Right off the bat in the opening scene, we get another rape.  My God, did we really need this?  This is pretty much the rapingest Spider-Man story already, even before this issue hit.  My God.  And before the sycophants tee off on me with cries of “it was consensual!” you should chew on this: it’s considered rape if the victim is deemed of unclear mind due to drugs, alcohol, etc.  The law doesn’t quite cover having your brain commandeered by a human-sized, cloak-wearing, reptilian supervillain with mind-control abilities, but I’m willing to bet the court would probably consider this one in the “not of sound mind” category.

Spider-Man’s “plan,” if you can even call it that, involves trying to turn the Lizard back to humanity through a combination of Connors’ formula (the one the Doc was using to suppress his transformation at the start of the arc) and an appeal to his human side.  Spidey’s plan for protecting himself from the Lizard’s mind control is to use the formula on himself – because, as he says in the issue, “If it works on him, it has to work on me, right?”  I … just … wow.  Isn’t Peter supposed to be an intelligent guy?  You know what, nevermind – that’s too dumb to even dignify with a discussion, so let’s just move on.

Spider-Man gets jumped by a mob of Lizard-controlled Manhattanites, and Spidey doesn’t fight back because he’s afraid of hurting someone.  Now, I live in New York City.  If a mob of people jumped me with bad intentions (probably rape … I mean, there’s not enough of it in this story already, right?), mind control or not, I’m going to go down swinging.  What’s worse, causing minor injury to a bunch of people trying to kill you dead or getting murdered by a ravenous mob because you’re too much of a weeping sissy to defend yourself?  Forget about whether or not this makes sense in the context of the story, this doesn’t even make sense in any context on this planet.  Punch those bastards!

At the end of the issue, we finally get resolution to the Negative Aunt May subplot that’s been brewing for far too long.  Peter talks to May, who slips in and out of her negative persona, and she finally snaps back to the real May permanently.  Wait, what?  Since when was Aunt May swapping back and forth?  In all the previous appearances, she was permanently stuck in her negative persona.  That doesn’t make a lick of goddamn sense.

Then again, none of this issue does …

The art shows flashes of competence for a change, but overall it’s still a very poor effort by Bachalo.  I couldn’t even tell what species Spider-Man was supposed to be half the time because his head kept changing shape so drastically.  In one panel, his head looks like a deformed, oblong watermelon.  Amazingly, despite two pencilers and a whopping SIX inkers, the book still shipped late.  If Bachalo spent time drawing things like proper human anatomy and backgrounds, I might understand … but drawing a bunch of amorphous shapes and calling them Spider-Man doesn’t cut it.

Hey, wait a second – didn’t Wells promise that this would be a big Black Cat arc?  Where the hell was she?  Outside of a cameo at the start of issue 630, she didn’t feature in this arc at all …

The Ugly

This really doesn’t relate to the issue specifically, but this is a good spot for me to get it off of my chest: this might be the worst Spider-Man arc that I’ve ever read.

It’s bad enough that they’ve managed to completely and utterly ruin a classic Lee/Ditko villain, but they did it in one of the ugliest, most ploddingly-paced travesties of a story arc that has ever been printed.  Rape, murder, an illogical plotline, rape, bad art, decompression, and rape – a winning combination!

The Bottom Line

This issue isn’t as bad as the two previous ones, but that’s like saying that the best way to be executed is via lethal injection – it still really, really sucks.  1 out of 5 webheads.

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