I really didn’t like the first issue of Prowler – it was quite boring and nothing really made me want to read on. The fact it is a tie-in to an event I’m not a huge fan of only made it worse. But, much like the Jackal, I’m willing to give people a second chance. With that in mind, what did I think of Prowler #2?
Writer: Sean Ryan
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Devin Lewis
Prowler-Plot: We fade into Hobie Brown, recovering from being knocked unconscious by giving a suitably ominous monologue (oh, not this again!). He discovers his captor to be Julia Carpenter, AKA Madame Webb, who also seems to be investigating New U. It turns out that she was the hacker that Benackal sent Hobie to investigate (thanks for the reminder, I had genuinely forgot this was the plot). Prowler sabotages Carpenter’s tech, which unsurprisingly doesn’t go down too well. She leaps at him and… we cut to a fight between Massacre and the Kangaroo over Vegemite. Brilliant. With Prowler gone, Benackal has no one to sort out any Vegemite-related conflicts, so he sends the new Electro to hunt his enforcer down. She goes to Madame Webb (no, the older one) for answers, but she refuses to help and Electro tortures her. This causes Julia Carpenter to cease her attack on our hero, now worried that New U has resurrected, and are harming, her predecessor. Prowler won’t let her escape, but she uses the Batman-technique of disappearing in a cloud of smoke to get away. It is in this moment that Hobie realises he hasn’t taken his medication and he collapses on the floor, dying. He then repeats the monologue from the start of the issue (aww, I knew that would happen!) as Electro reveals herself, looking like a zombie and ready to kill him.
Prowler-Thoughts: On one hand, this is an improvement on the first issue. On the other hand, it just isn’t. Whilst the plot does get a bit more interesting, it is just bogged down in poor writing and art decisions that this really becomes a chore to read.
Let’s start with the positives! This issue does get a little more interesting. That is to say, more interesting than the generic mystery hacker plot of the first issue (seriously, even Arrow comes up with greater threats than that). The introduction of Julia Carpenter did actually take me by surprise, seeing as she has kind of been cast to the side since Superior Spider-Man. It also gives a feeling of this ‘Conspiracy’ going a bit deeper, with characters from all over the spider-verse getting involved. I’m hoping that she will play a part in bringing Prowler back to the light side.
Another positive with this issue is the new Electro, who once again brings a campy menace to the proceedings. I really get the sense that she is insane in this issue, going as far as to torture Madame Webb so she can have a crack at Prowler. The sheer joy you can see in her face in this scene is brilliant and I hope she is one of the few clones to survive this event.
That’s about as far as the positives go. The biggest problem I had with this issue was one I had with the first– Prowler is just not an engaging character. I don’t think it’s impossible for this to be done; just look at Spencer’s Superior Foes, which managed to make the audience care about a bunch of nobody Spider-characters. The problem is the same as I mentioned last time – Prowler doesn’t have an aim, or know what he’s doing, and if he’s like this, why should the audience care? He doesn’t have any goals or wants in life. He just mopes around, moaning about how inconsequential he is and this is not fun to read. I’m not even entirely sure why he’s working for Benackal and I’m pretty sure he isn’t either. Ryan better give him some better characterisation before this series ends or it will slip into the abyss of forgotten books.
Then I just have some niggling little negatives about the book that hindered my enjoyment. First off, I hope that Ryan isn’t going to do the whole ‘symmetrical monologue’ thing every issue, because it feels lazy. It’s like he’s trying to say something but he uses such forgettable and meaningless phrases so it just isn’t thought-provoking. Also, the art kind of took a dip this issue. This isn’t too much of a problem, as it remains decent for most of the story, but the odd character looks a bit disproportional or is pulling a comically expressive face that takes you out of the story. The weirdest artistic choice that I thought was made was Electro at the end, who inexplicably looked a bit rabid and zombie-like. Maybe this has something to do with her encounter with Webb, but this wasn’t made very clear.
Overall, this issue was a bit more enticing but was so mediocre and inconsistent that I don’t think I can change my grade from lost time. So sorry Prowler, but I’m going to have to give this issue a
See you next time Prowler-folks! Together, we can get through this…