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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 265

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 comics posted so far!

Today we look at Web of Spider-Man #8-10, a nifty recent storyline by Fred Van Lente where Spider-Man faces off with a new villain with somewhat…familiar views.


Fred Van Lente’s recent Web of Spider-Man issues are almost sad in a weird way. You see, the series had been introduced as a sort of “support” book for Amazing Spider-Man. For an extended period, each issue would feature a lead story by Van Lente detailing the origins of whichever villain was being featured in Amazing Spider-Man that month. Van Lente did a good job, but the format wasn’t exactly ideal. And recently, they announced that they were ending Web of Spider-Man. So with about five issues left to go, they revamped the format and just gave the book to Van Lente to use the lead stories as he wished, and he responded with some really strong Spider-Man stories (stories that might as well have been in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man).

The one I’m looking at today basically boils down to “What if Spider-Man fought a super-villain version of an Objectivist?” (and I’m sure we all know a famous Spider-Man related Objectivist, now don’t we?)

It began in Web of Spider-Man #8 and ended in #10. The artwork was done by Javier Rodriguez and Nick Dragotta (splitting the 3-parter pretty evenly with Rodriguez doing the first half and Dragotta the second, with Pat Olliffe contributing a two-page flashback in the middle of the story).

Here’s the impressive introduction of the Extremist…

After he kills that guy, we later see one of his manifestos…

Spider-Man decides to draw the Extremist out by publicly making himself, as Peter Parker, look to be contemptible by starting a new website using the Spider-Man photos he never sold over the years because they made Spider-Man look bad…

A very funny plan by Van Lente.

Naturally, it does, in fact, draw out the Extremist…

But after Spider-Man “shows up” to save Parker, the Extremist decides that Spider-Man is actually not the perfect hero he thinks of him. He has gray areas, and that can not be allowed!!

He also turns his attention to J. Jonah Jameson, who is basically the perfect example of the kind of people that Objectivists HATE…

It all sets up for a very interesting conclusion (plus, Spider-Man learns more about who the Extremist actually is).

This was an extremely clever three-parter with great art (particularly when you take into account that it had two different main artists but it seemed to flow naturally between the two).

This is yet another one of the reasons I wish we could get some more Spider-Man work from Van Lente (not that Slott won’t do a very nice job solo, of course – I don’t know why, but I always fear praising Van Lente is somehow seen as a slight against Slott, so that’s why I keep pointing out that that is not my intent).


I’ll bite…who is the famous Objectivist?

Javier Rodriguez has worked with Marcos Martin, hasn’t he? As a colorist? I ask because that art is almost indistinguishable from Martin. Which is to say, it’s pretty good.

Also, Brian, while you’re featuring unbalanced zealots who go around killing people, why not spotlight Steve Gerber’s Foolkiller miniseries? That’s a great comic.

thinking down the road to the Marvel Visionaries books that will collect Van Lente and Slott stories…phew! Those will be neat… and far enough away from Quesada that I can buy them and not compromise my morals…

Brutally killing some public figure you don’t like in fiction? Real classy.

hate this type of story. easy to write, but stupid.

Enjoy the vicarious murder-porn, Beck haters! This one’s for you.

I’ve never seen you spotlight something this recent. You can still find this one on the stands, at least in some stores. You don’t think this is too early?

I did like this one, but I thought the third chapter was kind of weak. I still don’t understand why he’s invisible to some people but not others. What determines who can see him? (My original thought was that he was only visible to the victims, and that the first cliffhanger was purposely misleading and he was actually after Michele. But that turned out not to be the case. And why did he become visible to Spider-Man after Peter changed his suit?)
I had no idea he was meant to be an Objectivist. I still don’t have that clear an idea what Objectivist philosophy preaches. I’ve never read any Ayn Rand. I do know that Libertarians are always getting blamed for what her fans believe, even though Rand herself insisted that her philosophy didn’t have that much in common with Libertrarianism.

In any event, Web Of Spider-Man became much better once this story began. The first seven issues with the villain flashbacks were pretty disappointing.

I guess it’s funnier if you understand just how silly Objectivism is.

Also of note is that the guy The Extremist attacked in the opening is reminiscent of another Ditko creation, Jack Ryder AKA The Creeper.

Who’s the public figure in this? Is theer anyone in this story who isn’t fictional?

I liked this story! It wasn’t the only tale in the recent Web Of title, but it was good! It was the little twists in the plot that made it fun.

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