December 1984: Web of Spider-Man 1 – Or, it turns out Peter is a tighty-whity y-fronts kinda guy

Synopsis: Web of Spider-Man 1, Til Death Do Us Part was written by Louise Simonson with art by Greg LaRoque and Jim Moony and opens with Peter Parker fishing in his wardrobe for his Spider-Man costume. which is next to a shapeless and shadowy creature that looks like his previous black costume. On the roof of Peter’s apartment building, models Bambi and Randi are trying to sunbath in autumn. The black shape changes into an exact duplicate of the more familiar red and blue Spider-Man costume, so Peter grabs it by mistake and puts it on. Internally he goes over a brief history of the alien costume, based on his concern that it has escaped the custody of Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, knowing that there have been rumours of a black shape temporarily possessing random people. Peter decides to go and see Reed at the Baxter Building to ask about the costume only to realise he is wearing it.

Elsewhere, three criminals with the names Gripes, Sugar-Face and Pigeon are mugging an old lady on pension day, before heading off to meet their leader, Honcho. Honcho once spent time with Adrian ‘The Vulture’ Toombs in prison and learned the secrets of the Vulture flying harness and has kitted the gang out as the flying Vulturions. The Vulturions go out on a scouting mission to test the harnesses again and Honcho instructs them not to engage with  Spider-Man if they see him.

We have a cut scene with Aunt May and Mary Jane who discuss Peter and his recent decision to drop his Bio-Physics studies in favour of his photography career, we also learn that May is having money troubles.

Back to the Vulturions. Gripes finds Spider-Man, still trying to get to the Baxter Building, whilst having an intense one-sided conversation with his living alien costume. Gripes attacks the confused Spider-Man, who is ranting at his costume still. The other Vulturions arrive and find themselves battle Spider-Man and the costume and they don’t do so well. One by one they are defeated and the last one is steered by Spider-Man in the direction of the Baxter Building, though he is no longer confident in his ability to get there. He steers the Vulturion towards a nearby church and the extremely loud bells on it, knowing the costume’s vunerability to sound.


The sound of the bells is painful to all, the Vulturion escapes but the bells cripple Spider-Man and the costume, which at the cost of it’s life pulls Peter to safety.


Notes: This was the third ongoing series to feature Spider-Man (4th if you count Marvel Team Up, but I mostly don’t) and it starts of strong. Mooney’s inks over LaRoque loses some detail, but the panel layouts and character poses are excellent. Peter’s reaction to everything going on is the frantic and anxious thought processes that drive this neurotic mess of a hero and are a credit to Louise Simonson who delivers a quintessential Spider-Man story. The villains are on the cartoony and ridiculous side, but the idea of a team of Vultures is quite a fun one. The subplot of May and MJ is unobtrusive and forwards the ongoing plots with a minimum of pointless exposition. This is a great issue of Spider-Man, maybe not an issue 1, but it has all of the hallmarks of a great Spider-Man story and the last couple of pages are poignantly beautiful.

From this comic came the menagerie of symbiote characters from Venom onwards and deservers it’s place in history, but unlike a lot of the ‘historic’ issues, this is a fun little read in it’s own right. Worth tracking down and giving a read.

Next Time: We’re halfway through the 1980’s, second half starts with An Avengers Invervention

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