Monday, May 5, 2003

Peter Parker: Spider-Man #55 - A Review

Written by: Zeb Wells
Penciled by: Khary Randolph
Inked by: Wayne Faucher
Colored by: Studio F
Lettered by: Randy Gentile
Editor: John Miesegaes
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The adage of “don’t judge a book by its’ cover” proves very appropriate with PP. For the last few months the covers have been done by Fransisco Herrera, whose art gives a new meaning to the term “stylized.” Take this month’s cover, for example. It looks as if the Spider-Man’s body was designed by making a “thumbs up” and then tracing it. Use your thumb for the head and try it, kids!

Thankfully, the interior art (done by Khary Randolph in this final chapter) is much better and displays a basic grasp of human anatomy that Herrera lacks. He has a cartoony style similar to that of Mike Wieringo, but with a stronger Manga influence. Aside from a Johnny Storm with a receding hairline, I can’t think of anything in the artwork which really stood out, good or bad.

Sadly, Wells is still writing and still dragging out the same concept that has fueled the last two issues. That is, a group of rich men with way too much money are funding a privately televised “fight club” where they pit their super-villains for hire against Spidey and take bets on the fights. The whole concept has been played for laughs as Spidey has faced off against Grade Z reject Boomerang and much abused B-list regular Scorpion, as well as a robot called the XP 2000.
And now, the Hollywood director in the group has unveiled his fighter. The proverbial secret weapon. And his name is… Rocket Racer?

Yes. Freaking Rocket Racer. In a new costume. With nipples.

Okay, ashamed as I am to admit it I did laugh at this. But only because I despise Batman and Robin with such a passion that I couldn’t help but laugh as this director (mental note: find picture of Joel Schumacher and see how it matches up) explains that he is going for a campy angle in hiring on one of the lamest, most fad-driven villains in all of history.

What didn’t have me laughing though is the portrayal of Peter here. While I like the idea of his disguising himself to go undercover, I can’t believe he would be as incompetent as is shown here. Think about it: it’s been shown he knows how to use make-up to cover-up bruises, so the disguise he has here is not unbelievable. Heck, with all the times he’s nearly had his secret identity discovered he’s proved he’s pretty good at improvising and no mean actor himself, not to mention what he probably picked up from MJ. So couldn’t he think of something better than “I love drugs and all sorts of illegal stuff!” when trying to establish himself? And I’m not even going to touch the fact that he lets himself get beaten up in order to protect his cover. You’re in disguise, Peter! Just don’t stick to the walls and they’ll just think you’re one more tough but fast wiry guy.

All in all, my opinion of this book remains unchanged. It should have stopped at the excellent issue 50 and then gone into the new Spectacular Spider-Man book, rather than subject us to six months of cheesy stories with no point.

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