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Spectacular Spider-Man #23

Writer: Samm Barnes
Artist: Scot Eaton
Letters: Corey Petit
Ink: Cam Smith
Publisher: Marvel Comics

 4.30 out of 5 Stars

Reviewed by J. W. De Bolt Jr.


A secret affair between Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy produced twin offspring raised by Osborn in France—Sarah and Gabriel. Inheriting their fatherís unique blood chemistry, they aged prematurely fast and are now adults. But they also have their fatherís enhanced strength.

Working from a plotline developed by J. Michael Straczynski and Axel Alonso in sister title The Amazing Spider-Man, Barnes brings Sarah out from hiding. She calls Peter Parker from Paris, France, and asks for help. Since his wife Mary Jane has known Spider-Man is Peter for a time now, one would think they could work as a team in something so personal. But Peter wants to go alone. Mary Jane is supportive but dejected and probably, deep down, jealous of Peterís never-ending love for Gwen. By leaving Mary Jane behind, Peter is preventing her from keeping him out of trouble—which is good for the story—but also tacitly confirming that his love for Gwen must take precedence.

By the way, what ever happened to the money problems Parker used to have? Isnít the Parker household bankrupt (see Marvel Knights Spider-Man #8)? How can they afford a last minute flight to Paris? And what about Parkerís teaching job? And where is Aunt May? She had been kidnapped, the last I heard. Peter and Mary Jane donít seem too concerned. Am I getting to persnickety here? The writer could have dropped in a couple of words to cover all his bases and tie in the other titles. Perhaps Marvel laid off their continuity editor.

Back to the story: A humorous plane ride brings Peter to the hospital from which Sarah is about to leave. She is throwing a fit and the hospital personnel want her out. As they leave, Peter tries to get to know Sarah, while a mysterious party is following them. Sarah has her own problems that stem from her special body chemistry. Of course, there is more going on here than Peter knows and we are going to find out soon.

All in all, it's a good first chapter—unless you like fight scenes (but the one mini-fight scene is excellent and different)—with well-balanced drama and humor. The interior mystery is introduced while the unanswered questions about the whole twins revelation urges readers on. Talk on the Web is divided over messing with Spider-Manís legacy. Some say, ďWho cares,Ē but others say that writers should not challenge the sanctity of the charactersí history. But speaking of legacy, the Marvel Universe distinguished itself from DC in the sixties and seventies by not keeping everything static. People have grown and changed and learned. And they are doing so still.


Quote of the Week: ďItís the sound of a boat thatís surrounded by ice and is slowly having the life crushed out of it. Thatís what I hear every minute of every day because of my condition.Ē





Cover image used without explicit permission in accordance with the "Fair Use" provision of US copyright law.


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