Writers: Mark Waid and James Robinson
Painted Art: Gabriele Dell’Otto
Pencils: Werther Dell’Edera
Editors: Ellie Pyle, Tom Brennan, and Stephen Wacker
After foiling a laundry detergent peddling scheme (I swear I’m not making that up) as Spider-Man and failing to pay his light bill, Peter Parker gets abducted by some armed men. He escapes, but is picked up by his supposedly long-lost sister, Teresa. While escaping the armed men, Teresa tells Peter that someone is looking for the “son and daughter of Richard and Mary Parker”. They travel to Monte Carlo to meet up with a contact. Unfortunately, the duo is attacked by some mobsters and by the supervillian Cyclone. Peter switches to Spidey and takes them all out, but fails to get any info from Cyclone. Peter and Teresa then travel to meet an old friend of their parents. Along the way, Peter finds out that Teresa learned about her parents while she was investigating a big case that involves “the son of Richard Parker”. They meet their parents’ friend and find out that Richard and Mary hid about a billion dollars worth of Nazi gold in the sands outside of Cairo and guarded it using a “sleeper”, a huge robot that can only be deactivated either by Richard or by someone with Parker DNA, The crooks that are looking for Peter want him to deactivate the robot so they can get the gold (of course). Fortunately, Richard had a safe house in Switzerland. Peter and Teresa go there and discover where the Nazi gold is hidden. The crooks on their trail blow the house up. Literally. Peter saves Teresa’s life, but exposes his secret identity in the process. Peter (decked out in his classic black costume) and Teresa go to where the gold is, where it’s revealed that Teresa isn’t really Peter’s sister. It was all a ruse created by…wait for it….the Kingpin to get Peter to reveal where the gold is hidden and deactivate the sleeper (the Kingpin has a telepath, Mentallo, warping Peter and Teresa’s sense of reality to make them think that she’s his sister). Kingy has also discovered that Peter is really Spider-Man. Peter tries deactivating the robot, fails, and winds up having to destroy it to keep it from destroying Cairo while Teresa, a real life CIA agent, takes out the Kingpin’s goons and Mentallo. Long story short, Peter and Teresa wind up beating on the Kingpin, but it’s Mentallo who finally takes him down for the count, wiping the secret of Spidey’s secret i.d. from everyone’s minds in the process. Peter goes back to New York and Teresa goes back to secret spying, convinced that she isn’t his sister. Or is she?My thoughts
Okay, first, I’m sorry this review is so late. I just started a new job teaching first graders and it’s been eating up the majority of my time. Anywho, let’s get to the review.
Peter Parker’s parents generally aren’t the subject of a lot of stories. The only ones that I can recall are Amazing Spidey Annual #5, the “Peter’s parents return and are revealed to be robots” storyline from the 90’s, and one story written by Howard Mackie toward the end of his run on Amazing. Stories about Peter’s parents and few and far between, and with the exception of Annual #5, don’t really get Peter involved in the “secret agent” side of their lives. I’ve never been 100% down with the idea of Pete’s parents being spies. The whole idea of Spidey’s appeal is that he’s a normal guy when he’s not web-slinging. How many “normal guys” have parents who worked for the CIA (or who are geniuses, or date supermodels, or climb on walls)? Fortunately, Waid and Robinson have made a story that makes the idea seem that much cooler.
For the first time in awhile, Peter gets involved in the secret agent side of his parents’ lives. This story has a “James Bond meets Marvel” feel to it. It takes Peter (and the reader) into a world that we don’t get to see that often in a Spider-Man comic. While it would feel wrong to get stories like this often (considering the hero), it feels like a welcome change of pace when we get them every once in a while like today.
The big part of the story is whether or not Peter has a sister. Waid and Robinson settled it, but left things vague enough to where Teresa could really be Peter’s sister. It’s an unexplored avenue that another writer could fill (if he could answer the questions about where she’s been all this time).
From interviews that I’ve read, this story takes place post-Superior, but there’s no real hint as to where it falls in Spider-Man continuity, which is something that I do like. Spidey doesn’t have enough stories like that. Plus, it’s perfect for fans who want to get into Spidey, but don’t want to get too bogged down with continuity.
My only complaint with the story was how in the beginning, we got another example of “Peter Parker, loser”. He forgot to pay his electric bill, he got soap on himself while stopping some crooks. It’s not as bad as it could be, and I get that Pete screwing up is part of his charm, but it does get annoying after awhile.
The art looked fantastic here. I wasn’t worried about Dell’Otto because his art’s usually great, but Dell’Edera was a wild card for me. Fortunately, there was no need to worry. The art came out great here.
Overall, I’d have to give this story an
Great story, great art. A worthy edition to any Spider-fan’s collection.
Till Next Time!