Monday, September 17, 2012

Retro Review: Web of Scarlet Spider #4

Our story so far is that FBI Agent Joe Wade has been infected with a nanite virus, a sorta techno symbiote, that forces him to become an evil version of the Scarlet Spider. He's now at a local TV station with several hostages, among them Speedball's mom. The New Warriors and Ben Reilly, who had recently taken up the mantle of Spider-man, are heading out to confront him. If you haven't already, check out my reviews for parts one and two.

So here we see Techno-Scarlet with his hostages. He's babbling on some bullcrap that's suppose to be funny but really isn't. Hard to top that 'Get off' line from part one I guess. This artwork is pretty sloppy, I wish I could tell you that's a small little panel I blew up, but it's the bottom half of a splash page. Anyways Speedball shows up and distracts Scarlet long enough for the hostages to get away. Then the New Warriors and Spider-Ben show up and fight Scarlet to a standstill. Then Joe Wade's partner shows up and talks him down enough for him to take control over the techno-symbiote long enough for the feds to tranq him and get him hauled off for treatment. The heroes want an explanation but asshole FBI guy #2 decides to be a dick to the civilians who did what is technically his job.

He says Joe will get the help he needs and his partner vows to see to it that promise is kept. And that's the last we ever see of Agent Joe Wade or the techno-symbiote. It's kind of a shame. I'd like to know what happened to him. There really isn't much more to the story then that, parts one and two were build up and part three is just the fight. I'm not sure I buy that Techno-Scarlet really should have been able to fight the New Warriors AND Spider-Ben to a standstill like this but he did.

Also as I mentioned before the art is kinda sloppy. I mean it's not awful, and some parts of it are pretty solid, but then some panels seem really rushed. Take the splash page at the end.

His left arm is kinda fucked up looking, its hard to tell whats going on with his left hand and it looks like the webbing is coming out of the end of his thumb, a good inch away from where it should be coming out. And that's the focal point of a splash page. Also you know how some artists show Spider-man's eyes on his mask changing shape to reflect his mood or expressions? I've never been a fan of that but for the most part it doesn't bother me. I figure it's like the squiggly lines over Spider-man's head when his spider sense is going off. It's not that those lines actually appear, its just to show the reader what is happening. I always figured that's how it was with Spidey's eyes on his mask. But then this panel happened.

No. No. No. Fuck no. You did not just have Spider-man wink his mask eye at someone. At this point Firestar has figured out that Spider-Ben used to be Scarlet Spider and Ben knows she knows so the two are sharing an inside joke. This panel would have worked just fine without this stupid thing. It's one thing to use it as an artistic thing to communicate something to the reader, it's another thing when it's used to communicate something to another character. Fuck that's just stupid.

So how does Nightmare in Scarlet stand up as a whole? Well the first part is by far the strongest of the three. Parts two and three feel like they could have, and should have been folded together into one issue. Also each part as a different artist and it's a shame to have the weakest of the three artist handle the climax issue. All and all though it was a fun read and was definitely one of the more enjoyable stories from Ben's time as Spider-man.

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