10 Cent Comics: Spider-Man #16

Last time, I read an old issue of Spider-Man from the 80’s that was pretty cool. This time, I read an old issue of Spider-Man from the 90’s that was just.... just awful. So let’s just dive into this right away: First of all, this is the last issue of Todd McFarlane’s stint as writer/artist of (No Adjective) Spider-Man. If you want a quick history on (No Adjective) Spider-Man, read the first three paragraph’s under Volume One in this wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Man_%28comic%29 I’m too lazy to actually explain it, so moving on.

If you’re wondering what’s up with the cover, it’s sideways in a landscape format, and so is the rest of the entire book, because of course it is, it’s 1991. The title says that this crossover with the recently started X-Force book is “Sabotage X-Over Part 1” but by the first sentence of page 1 it’s obvious that shit went down in the last issue of X-Force that set all this up. And we’ll get to the plot in a moment, but first I want to talk about Todd McFarlane.

I’m not a fan, and I’ve always been honest about it. I have to admit, he draws one hell of a Spider-Man, and it’s no surprise that even 20 years later, many Spidey artists are still following (to some extent) in his footsteps. The thing is, while I like the way he draws Spider-Man, I hate the way he draws EVERYTHING ELSE. And I’d try to forgive that, but in this 22 page comic with the title “Spider-Man”, Spidey appears on 12 pages. 4 of those 12 are double page splashes, of which 1 of those 2 Spidey is just a tiny figure in the background. And 5 of the remaining 8 pages have him as a tiny figure in the background in just 1 panel. That leaves an additional 3 pages where Spidey is sort of important in HIS book.

However, X-Force, who as you remember, are not the main characters here, appear in 17 pages, including a double splash page of Cable rushing into action right at the reader (this 22 page book has 3 double splash pages and 2 more regular splash pages, which means over a third of this book is freaking splash pages). Oh, and before I actually get to the plot, can I just say Cable is in the most ridiculous outfit I’ve ever seen him in, and that’s saying something. To prove how awful the costume is, here’s the cover of X-Force #4, the second part of this “X-Over”:

Why the spikes going into his face? Why the gun longer than he is tall? Why the massive shoulder pads? The only answer is “the 90’s.” And believe me, it’s going to get worse when we get to the plot.

So, the book opens right after B-list X-villain Black Tom Cassidy has... ugh... detonated a bomb on the roof of the World Trade Center. Now, I’m trying to avoid looking at this from today’s perspective, since this was released two years before the first WTC bombing, and 10 years before 9/11, but.... ouch. Not winning any favors with that one. Also, Juggernaut is already on the ground fighting some of X-Force, and Spidey swings by to help say their loser asses. X-Force may be the most nineties-rific book Marvel produced, and lord do they look it. They get their asses handed to them for several pages, and Juggernaut shows us all 50 of his teeth (yes, I counted). I didn’t know the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak gave you extra teeth, but then again, I’m not Todd McFarlane.

Anyway, Spidey tries to reason with Juggernaut, having fought him before, while the X-Force kids down on the street lick their wounds. Meanwhile, on top of the ruined roof of the South Tower (ugh), the rest of X-Force are bitching at Cable for being a terrible leader (which, at this point, I’m with them there), instead of helping rescue survivors. Also, Black Tom is missing. He doesn’t actually appear in this book. Spidey continues to sort of talk down Juggernaut, until Shatterstar (who’s just as stupid as his outfit makes him look) decides the best course of action right now is to stab Juggernaut in the eye.

This enrages Juggernaut, who knocks over ANOTHER building (double-ugh). He drops a skyscraper on Spidey and the X-Kids, then laughs like an idiot until Spidey and the crew dig themselves out of the wreckage, and--

And that’s it. That’s how it ends. To be continued, in a book I hope never to read. And this comic is seriously way worse than it sounds. This was a shitty comic, and if you ever find a copy, buy it and set it on fire if you must, but DO NOT read it. Because if you do, you can never UN-READ IT. Life is just too cruel to let you.


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