By Chad Nevett
You choose the comic from a spinner rack because it has the Punisher shooting at Spider-Man on the cover and that seems cool. Above the WEB OF SPIDER-MAN logo, there’s another logo identifying this as part 2 of 6 of something called “Maximum Clonage.” You don’t know what that means and you don’t care because it’s got the Punisher shooting at Spider-Man and that seems cool.
You take the comic home and read about Spider-Man (who is a clone of himself) maybe becoming a bad guy with someone named the Jackal (who makes the clones of Spider-Man) but only if he can avoid getting arrested and save the Jackal from the Punisher (who kills bad guys). There’s also some stuff about Spider-Man’s wife and a weird guy named Kaine who has visions of her being killed. You don’t get everything going on, but you fill in the gaps a bit and the basic story of Spider-Man saving a bad guy he doesn’t quite trust while avoiding the police is pretty basic. The story is entertaining, the dialogue and captions keep you engrossed, and the art is decent.
It’s a solid use of your $2.05 (plus tax) and your 12-year old self is satisfied.
Explaining to an adult comic reader in 2022 that you were once perfectly happy picking up a random comic that was part two of six without reading part one or the previous month’s books or having any clue what’s going on beyond what’s on the cover seems like a ludicrous activity. I spent most of my youth buying random comics during the early to mid ‘90s where you never knew which version of the titular hero you would be getting: original, clone, cyborg, ultra-violent replacement, alternate reality version…
Everything seemed to be on the table. While this issue resolves the central conflict with Spider-Man and the Jackal escaping so the latter can be put in some sort of healing machine, until that very moment, there seemed to be no limits: the Punisher could have killed the Jackal; Spider-Man could have snapped and beaten the Punisher to a bloody pulp; the Jackal could have revealed that his latest clone body heals wounds in seconds; Spider-Man could have stopped the Punisher, but left the Jackal for the police; the Scarlet Spider (revealed as the real Peter Parker) could have arrived and made the conflict escalate more. Even more Spider-Man clones could have arrived to help push the amount of ‘Clonage’ towards ‘Maximum!’
Turn the page and be surprised was the name of the game – and it was glorious. Weird crap with cool art. What I understood, I dug; what I didn’t understand fueled my imagination and desire for more.
Web of Spider-Man #127 “The Last Temptation of Peter Parker”
Written by Todd DeZago
Drawn by Steven Butler
Inked by Randy Emberlin
Coloured by Kevin Tinsley
Lettered by Steve Dutro
Chad Nevett is a writer and critic who once wrote a book about Avengers Vs X-Men. When not pitting Marvel’s top characters into battle, you can find Chad on Twitter here!
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