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A Year of Cool Comics – Day 54

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso’s Severance Package (from Tangled Web #4)

Enjoy!

It’s hard to read a comic like Severance Package now and appreciate just how unique it was at the time of its release in 2001. Nowadays, Marvel is releasing one-shots that are similar to Severance Package pretty much every other week, by other notable authors like Gregg Hurwitz, Mike Benson and Victor Gischler (to just name a few of Marvels more recent additions to the fold).

But at the time of its release as the fourth issue of Marvel’s brand-new Tangled Web series (after an initial story arc by Garth Ennis and John McRea – Garth Ennis doing Spider-Man? Yeah, it was about as weird as you would think it would be), “Severance Package” by Greg Rucka and Eduardo Risso stood out in a big way. SUCH a big way that Marvel reprinted the story like, right after it came out, in one of those Must Haves reprint collections that they used to do a lot (they still do them today, just much much less frequently).

And it’s funny, because the basic set-up is so simple.

Spider-Man foils a plot of the Kingpin to steal something (I forget what, exactly), and later that night, Tom Cochrane is watching the news with his wife when he learns of Spider-Man’s victory.

Tom knows that Spidey’s win means death for him, as he was in charge of that mission, and even though he was not actually there, it is his responsibility, so he’s effectively a dead man walking. His wife tries to get him to run, but he won’t – he made a deal with the Kingpin, and he must live up to his end.

The set-up of his departure is beautiful….

He is brought to the Kingpin by a driver named Ritchie, and the two discuss things for awhile, before Tom changes the play…

What will happen, then, when he sees the Kingpin?

Well, I shouldn’t spoil that here (although I did spoil it back in October).

Suffice it to say that Rucka handles it very well, and boy, is Risso’s art amazing or what?

While nowadays this story would still be treated as a good story (because it is), at the time, this really stood out as a cool comic book.

The book is collected in the first volume of Tangled Web (I don’t know if it is still in print, though).

15 Comments

Garth Ennis and Spider-Man? Really?! I used to think about that as a joke.

Without spoiling it too much, can you say what the story was about,please?

I had this weird feeling of deja vu reading this. It was really strange, because I know I’ve never read a Tangled Web before. I don’t know why it took me so long to realise you had featured this before.

The Dude, the entire issue was about the guy taking responsibility for letting Spider-Man ruin his heist. It showed the other side of Spidey’s victories over criminals. Spidey strings up a few thugs, cracks wise and swings away to fight another day. The guy who set up the heist, though…let’s just say Kingpin is nothing if not thorough.

Great story, like most of the Tangled Web issues.

The Ennis story was entitled “The Thousand,” and it was basically another story about the “Great power, great responsibility” motif using a very horror-influenced villain. Without giving away too much, it’s basically about the relationship between Peter Parker and one of the bullies he went to school with, and how it plays out again between them years down the line.

It’s actually one of the better stories to come out of Tangled Web, as Ennis seemed to have a solid grasp on Spider-Man and his personality despite the fact that he probably wasn’t much of a fan of the character. McCrea’s art is the right balance of cartoony and grotesque, and the script hits all the right beats. It’s funny when it should be funny, gross when it’s dealing with the villain and his rather disturbing powers, and ultimately rather touching in its portrayal of the relationship between Peter and Aunt May.

This is a classic.

They don’t write/draw Spider-man stories like this anymore. :-(

Tsk Tsk. No wonder I don’t read SM these days.

Really nice. I once bought Flowers for Rhino, Pt. 1 when it came out, but I never got back to find the 2nd issue. I really want to read this series, but I’ll wait till Marvel comes out with an omnibus or something.

Ennis handled Spider-Man pretty well in his few Punisher appearances. I’ll have to look for the Tangled Web collection.

The panels of Tom visiting his kids before he leaves are heartbreaking. I want to rage against what’s coming. This is a really emotionally resonant story.

i’m really glad that the Kingpin kills this guy, especially as this guy kills the driver guy. Also, the wife is a nag. Didn’t she know what she was getting into marrying this guy? It’s unfortunate that the Kingpin leaves any of them alive. i wish that the Kingpin would kill every other lackey who works for him and their families as well. Less work for law enforcement.
DFTBA

The Thousand was Ennis? Wow. I loved that story. Tangled Web still stands as one of my favorite series to come out of the big two.

No one draws like Risso! Beautiful stuff. Has he done anything since Wednesday Comics?

Brian, what are the chances of you listing the next top storylines in the Top 100 list, like the Top 200?

damn…great stuff…I used to have most of these…and this issue was a great analysis of the Kingpin’s way of working without getting “blood” on his hands….

LITERALLY…

Yeah – the Tangled Web TPBs are well worth seeking.

Books like Tangled Web are why I forgive Bill Jemas for some of his cock-ups.

I got lucky and got the first two Tangled Web trades for $1 each at my LCS a couple years ago. They had them on sale as part of the Free Comic Book Day specials.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Without spoiling it too much, can you say what the story was about,please?

A guy who once made Peter eat dog poo, comes back and tries to make him eat spiders.

Really nice. I once bought Flowers for Rhino, Pt. 1 when it came out, but I never got back to find the 2nd issue. I really want to read this series, but I’ll wait till Marvel comes out with an omnibus or something.

At the shop I go to the trades are in a sale bin, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for the omnibus.

Worth hunting down though.

I got lucky and got the first two Tangled Web trades for $1 each at my LCS a couple years ago.

That’s a hell of a deal!

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