“Hobie!! Hobie!! You’re here!! What the hell is happening?!
Yeah, I’m doing these reviews out of order, just to shake it up a bit. To recap though, Prowler has hardly been one of my favourite series’ but as it winds down, I’m hoping we can get something good from this book. With my fingers crossed, here’s Prowler #4.
Writer: Sean Ryan
Artist: Jamal Campbell
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Devin Lewis
Prowler-Plot: After last issue’s cliff-hanger, we cut forward to the events of The Clone Conspiracy #4 – Benackal has made the snap decision to kill Peter and all of his greatest C-list villains are going for him. Prowler switches sides and helps Spidey, believing anyone to be after the wall-crawler to be a bad-guy (really, that’s what swung his decision? Not looking after an army of fully-equipped supervillains?!?).Unfortunately, off-screen, Doc Ock unleashes the signal that kills all clones, which starts to kill Prowler. Cut back to two hours ago, when Julia Carpenter breaks into New U to save Hobie. But even when she does, the two still disagree on Benackal’s methods. Julia storms off, only to hear the voice of the original Madame Webb, who’s embarked on a tablet strike. She gives some suitably ominous advice about the Transatlantic Building and saving Hobie before her surprisingly emotional death. In revenge, Julia announces to Hobie that she is going to go take down Benackal but Prowler doesn’t think he can allow it. He web swings grapple-swings to New U, leading to the events of the opening. Now dying, Prowler decides he must find a way to stop it as all of the supervillains die around him. Hobie comes across Julia and, believing she is behind it all, attacks her. She beats him and leaves him unconscious on the floor, about to die. To be continued…
Prowler-Thoughts: This is the best issue so far! For the first half. The second half was same-old Prowler stuff, which was more than disappointing. But the first-half of this issue really surprised me with how good it was.
For a start, the art was a striking improvement, with some awesome visuals of the events of The Clone Conspiracy. Moments like Prowler joining Spidey against the villains felt awesome and the scene where he realises he’s dying felt a lot more exciting and dangerous than it did in the main book. The shading and lighting on the indoor scenes gave a creepy atmosphere to the events, which focused more on character-building than advancing the mediocre plot.
Madame Webb’s death scene was surprisingly emotional, given how little time we’ve spent with the character. Whilst we go the usual ominous shtick about things that could easily be said normally, I really felt the deep connection between Julia and her predecessor. This meant I felt Julia’s pain when Webb died. I feel that a lot of this was because of the art, which was harsh in depicting the strong visuals of Madame Webb as she decomposed. I got the same sad feeling when all of the supervillains were dying, mainly due to the heart-breaking art. Kudos, Campbell, kudos.
It was also good to see Prowler take a more active role in the main story. Up until now, this series has felt like a twice-removed cousin that nobody wants at the party. Now it’s more related (but I’m still not entirely sure I want it at the party). Tying it all together might make it feel a little more important and relevant when I look back on this series.
But when Hobie started dying again, the issue took a bit of a nosedive. Suddenly we were watching the same problems play out as before. The art became generic again, failing to convey the urgency of Prowler’s predicament. Considering everyone else was in immense pain, he seemed pretty okay. He could still fight – it just looked like he had a migraine.
This issue also suffered from being a tie-in – I know, I know, I said it helped make this feel more relevant. But at the same time, we know Hobie is wrong about Julia being behind it all and he isn’t going to sort this out himself. It’s Pete’s job to save the day and I can’t help but feel like all of these problems are going to be resolved in the main title. Also with the reader knowing Julia isn’t guilty, Hobie comes across as a bit of a d**k and we end up not rooting for our main character. So now Hobie has gone for forgettable to unlikable.
We’re almost at the end now folks – only one more issue to go. This was definitely the best of the lot so far and I’m hoping this continues to give us a half decent conclusion to this mediocre series. But for now, this issue gets a
See you all next time chaps, for the final chapter…