Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The next time you hear "Web of lies," you'll think Peter Parker:

Over the weekend, I also picked up a new copy of Web of Spider-Man Annual #2, which is probably best remembered for the lead story with Art Adams art and guest-starring the New Mutants' Warlock. But I like the second story better: "You're Lying, Peter Parker!" Written by Ann Nocenti, pencils by Mike Mignola, inks by Geof Isherwood.

The story ties in really well with then-current Spidey continuity: the Hobgoblin was the preeminent Spider-Man villain of the time, so we open with Hobby smashing into Peter Parker's room. At the time, Peter believed Flash Thompson was the Hobgoblin, and Hobby gloats that now he can torture Spidey while Flash tortures Peter. Pete tries to deny being Spidey, claiming his costume is a joke pair of pajamas, then gets him to wait while he covers with Aunt May: "Don't you have a mother or somebody you have to hide your identity from?"

Downstairs, the completely oblivious Aunt May doesn't notice the explosion upstairs, or that Peter's shadow is really the alien black costume; as Pete stumbles through increasingly lame explanations. Next, the Kingpin arrives at the door, armed with the knowledge of Peter's double life, he plans to force him into becoming one of his boys. When Aunt May asks who Peter's guest is, he claims the Kingpin is one of his professors (even though I don't think Pete had been going to school for some time then) and the Kingpin immediately starts hitting on May. There's a mental image for you.
Next, Peter spies the Black Fox outside: he was an aged jewel-thief, who convinced Spidey to let him go since he was far too old to survive prison; but it did raise an uncomfortable similarity to the burglar that killed Uncle Ben. Running with a bloody knife, the Fox calls Spidey "a liberal sucker" who let him go because he's just as guilty.

While the Kingpin and Aunt May are enjoying a pleasant tea, and the costume's still trying to envelop Peter; J. Jonah Jameson shows up. May and JJJ compare notes, not unlike with children trying to claim they're at each other's parents' house, and Pete is so busted. By the time the Black Cat smashes through a window, Pete is still trying to deny everything...and wakes up to the phone.

An angry Mary Jane asks Pete why he missed their date, and then says the lies will never stop with him. (Nocenti doesn't seem too convinced that Pete and MJ are the greatest love in the history of ever.) She might have a point, since Pete calls up Aunt May, Flash Thompson's house, and JJJ, to re-lie to all of them. Feeling better, he suits up in his non-living black costume, wondering why he couldn't remember his dream, but at least that's one less thing to worry about.

I don't know if Mignola did any other Spider-Man work, but I know Nocenti did some other stories for Spectacular Spider-Man. This one's still a favorite though, since she nails that no matter the reasons...Pete lies a helluva lot, to the point that it's almost second-nature to him.


CalvinPitt said...

She did another story in Spider-Man where he dies trying to save a kid. Once dead he realizes he really should have taken more time to enjoy life. Then Thanos shows up, then Pete tries to fight Thanos to get the little girl brought back to life, Death is feeling generous and lets them both live. . . and Pete swings off having promptly forgotten the bit about enjoying life (he's wrapped up in worrying about the bottle of BBQ sauce he was bringing to May's that broke).

So Pete lies a lot, and he never learns.

googum said...

"You will believe a man can die!" Ah, yes! Pretty sure Pete's more excited to see Gwen in heaven than sad he's leaving MJ, too.

Nocenti wasn't perfect across the board, but there were some points she just nailed...

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