Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man Tie-In (Issue #35)

A story in which the X-Men meet Spider-Man?! Could I have planned this any better, since there is currently a movie in theaters which includes that character?! No! The answer is no! This coincidence will get my blog an extra dozen clicks, over the next year or so! Thank you Spider Gods above (and below) and all involved with the movie (above and below). I shall retire on the extra pay-per-click advertising revenue ... if ... if only I'd signed up for that. DAMN YOU SPIDER GODS and your lack of pay-per-click advertising programs!

The Banshee has located the hide-out of Factor Three. [The evil global organization bent on the destruction of the X-Men. Also: They kidnapped Professor X - cleverly abducting him while he was unconscious and while the X-Men were out taking care of more important business (more important than caring for an old man in a coma?! What HAS mutant health care come to?! Death Panels.)] Anyway, the location of F3 (as I shall call Factor Three, despite their name having only two "f"s in it - I'm playing on the factor math joke) is in a mountain and protected by a giant robot spider.

It's humming because it doesn't know the words...
or it's equipped with a DEATH RAY. Either or.

The metalo-arachnid (that's Latin! [Well... Latin-esque (which is French! [well... French-esque. Esquire.])]) ZOTS (blasts) Banshee with a ZOT-O-RAY and almost paralyzes him. Luckily, he escapes by toppling off the cliff. But he has JUST enough energy left to save himself from becoming a stain on the rocks below ... then fly back to his headquarters ... then place a long-distance call to X-Men headquarters. As he's making the call (arguably the least strenuous part of his ordeal), THAT'S when he truly runs out of steam and passes out, but not before delivering a half-message of, "Beware of the spider!"

The fact that Spider-Man is on the cover tells me that we are heading towards a misunderstanding of Lucille-Ballian proportions. ["Wah! Why won't Ricky put the giant spider in the show? WHA!" "Oh, giant spider! Sometimes you make me SO MAD!") Meh.

Obviously Banshee skipped out the day his journalism class learned about the inverted pyramid. Or he didn't attend journalism school at all. But, honestly, maybe he should have started with something a little more helpful? like a location? Or something IMMEDIATELY important. Though, I guess we're lucky he didn't begin, "My dearest X-Men. How does this day find you ..."

So, Banshee passes out and is captured / possibly killed by Factor Three.

Meanwhile some unimportant kid named Peter Parker is out for a joyride in Westchester when a flying saucer lands and spits out a giant metal spider who immediately attacks him. Also: Peter Parker is Spider-Man. [Sorry, didn't mean to ruin the new movie for anyone!]

A Day-Trip Ex Machina, eh?
Also: Isn't a "lost weekend" what alcoholics have?

Now, let's rejoin the X-Men as they jump to conclusions! They get a warning from Cerebro about some new threat on New York soil and head out to investigate. BUT, by the time the X-Men arrive on the scene, Spider-Man has taken care of the spider robot. (And, in the way that all giant metal spiders do, it self-destructed, leaving nothing - not a trace! - behind. At least Factor Three uses clean, green technology. (Take only lives, leave only spider footprints.) Now! Lest the audience forget, Angel has kindly reminded us during the drive out to investigate, that Banshee CLEARLY mumbled something incomplete about "Beware of the spider." Remember? Good, because that's the reason why: FIGHTFIGHTFIGHT!

"Hey guys! What's up?" Spidey says, before he sees the murderous intent in the X-Men 's eyes and wisely goes on the defensive-maneuvers. Despite Spider-Guy continually asking, "What's this about?!" they keep attacking! Then Cyclops gets the brilliant idea that he could unleash a particularly nasty eye-beam that would kill Spider-Man. "Whoa!" says the poindexter side of him, maybe we should talk it out? So he stops and the do what they should have done - what mother has always told you is the first stage in conflict negotiations - sat down and talked it out. (Making sure there were ample dye-packs in the stacks of bills.)

Meanwhile, back at X-quarters, Marvel Girl's been left behind, presumably to do some laundry and "tidy the place up while the men folk are out working, eh, toots?" Good thing she's eager to fill that stereotypical roll, because while cleaning, she finds a post it note from Professor X.

From the brain of Professor X: Ha! That cracks me up EVERY
TIME. Anyway, must remember to tell the X-Men about the secret
communicator I put in Banshee's headband when he wasn't looking.
Do this before I get kidnapped or something silly like that. Lol.

So she tries to raise Banshee on the headband-o-phone, but he doesn't answer. This is not surprising to us, the audience, since we know he's unconscious and in a cell in the Alps. "ALPS"! Now THERE'S a terse one-word message that Banshee could have sent, instead of "Beware of the spider..." Whatever. This issue sickens me with it's all-too-convenient misunderstandings, mcguffins, and Egg McGuffins [McDonalds's new breakfast sammich that is just a BIT too convenient, if you ask me].

Also revealed by Stay-At-Home-Jean: IMMEDIATELY after the X-others left, Cerebro quieted down and went to sleep. So either Jean has the woman's touch that can calm a colic Cerebro or Spider-Man isn't the person they should be worried about. Also, what kind of dolts just blindly follow the word of a computer?! Even back in the 60s we were afraid of the computers taking over, yet here is a group of youngsters following whatever a machine says. These are the same type who would follow their GPS into a lake, then tell the cops, "I vas just followink orders!" Whoa, I'm mixing all sorts of metaphors, now. Better wrap this up.

She decided to pass this valuable information along (after enough time has passed to give the audience a thrilling couple of pages of hot Man-on-Spider-Man action, natch) and they all have a good laugh about it. Not really. What really happens is that the X-men try to apologize and Spidey tells 'em to get stuffed. And good for him! Then he swings off back to his own comic where only bad guys are trying to kill him. 

Don't give Spider-Man a handout ... give him a handUP.
[NYC Subway anti-homeless poster from the 90s.]

The only important thing to come from these many pages is that Marvel Girl has located where Prof X is (using the headband of Banshee to triangulate... or something). Turns out, they're being held in a "central European mountain range". So it's Vaguestan again!

OH! I guess the other important thing revealed in this issue is that X-Men sales were starting to flag, so they gave their monthly totals a boost by injecting the Spider-Dude in there for some lucrative crossover dollars!

God! What another waste of an issue. I'm starting to doubt my life choices. But I know the three of you who are reading would be absolutely CRUSHED if I stopped. So I must soldier on! It's all for YOU, Damien! [Also: I assume all of my followers names are "Damien".]

Added to my auto correct dictionary: Spidey

Wanna read the source materials? It's covered in:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men - Volume 4