Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Back issue showdown: Amazing Spider-man 356

This weeks back issue showdown is the 6 issue story "Round Robin: The sidekicks revenge". I picked up these issues at the Supernova comic convention. I thought I found all the issues of this story but later I found that I was missing issue 354.

These issues came out bi-weekly starting november 1991 (making this story 20 years old- BOY DO I FEEL OLD...)
This story is essentially a team up that only nineties comics can do.
In this story Spider-man teams up with:

  • The Punisher
  • Darkhawk
  • Nova
  • Moon Knight
  • Night Thrasher

So lets dive right into these issues.
Previous issues
Writer: Al Milgrom
Penciller: Mark Bagley
When we last left out heroes they were helping The Punisher out in Moon Knight's Copter plane thingie. The Punisher is tripping balls after being attacked by The Seekers (Who I guess were on their way to Morning Town and just had to kick some arse).
The PUnisher shared his origin and earned some respect from Night Thrasher.
Now I know what everyones been wondering...what about The Secret Empire? Well the Secret empire is in disrepair with Midnight vying for its leadership AND A TUNE UP!
Now onto our story....
Our story opens up in Moon Knights Copter-Plane thingie. The guys are having a conversation about whether to take The Punisher to the hospital like teenagers at a party. You know the ones where one of your friends needs his or her stomach pumped so you leave him or her at the hospital with a letter attached to his or her jumper (I'm not saying that happened to me...). This conversation should have gone like this:
Spider-man: We should take The Punisher to the Hospital
Night Thrasher: But he'll get arrested!
Moon Knight: Who cares he needs help and he's a criminal. Frenchie to the Hospital
Frenchie: Sacre Bleu! 
Also here we find out that Spider-man's tracker is no longer working (Which means IT SERVED NO PURPOSE TO THE PLOT!!!). While this is happening Night Thrasher and Moon Knight. Thrasher accuses Moon Knight of being responsible for Midnight's reign of terror. Spidey mentions how fashionable it is for heroes to fight each other (It is the nineties so I guess that's true). Thrasher mentions that he could pick up Nova through Nova's helmet communicator (WHY THEY DIDN'T TRY THAT BEFORE IS BEYOND ME!!!)
Meanwhile... Thunderball (insert James Bond music) is performing surgery. He leaves the surgery and some random woman informs them that they should continue work on MIdnight (essentially removing the pain sensor). Whose authority??? Well she flashes them, no seriously flash from her face blinds the operating room doctors (because you want your doctors to have welding flash) but they need a diversion, a diversion called...Nova!
Nova is being experimented on to get an analysis of his powers. Thunderball comes in with one hell of a safari suit shirt opened all the way to the naval (good look there). Tghunderball notices that Nova is transmitting and wonders why the Secret Empire didn't jam their transmissions (I guess the pressure of being a secret empire was getting to them) and Frenchie now has a fix on their location!
The whole Secret empire is falling apart so the only thing to do is pack up and move (how do you forward mail in the secret empire?? Care of the water tower on the corner of 14th street and 7th avenue. Knock twice)
And as soon as you can say "Zis ees the area Nova's was coming from" they have found the Secret Empire's secret location (psst its a water tower like last time).
The three heroes get ready to attack and are joined by a limping The Punisher. The guys have "Booties to kick" (Spider-man needs better writers...)
Wait a second here the heroes have to storm a tailor shop, but they were fired upon from the water towers! Multi storey Secret headquarters...swanky!
There's banter a plenty! Here's a sample of Night Thrasher's banter:
Spider-man: We'll get to Midnight soon enough..but right now I'm more worried about Lamont Cranston!
Spider-man: You know...The Shadow
Night Thrasher: I'm too young to remember him Spidey. Wasn't he on the radio?
Night Thrasher: You know those old time radio dramas may've been popular once but if they were on the air today..They'd just bomb!
(And then he throws a bomb...puntastic!)
Lynn, the nurse with the flashing face informs Midnight that the pain enhancer has been removed. Midnight then instead of joining the fight he attacks The Secret Empire! Midnight explains that he will help them if they hand over control of the Empire to him.
He enters the fray and within 3 pages gets his arse kicked and retreats where to they don't know?
Join us next time for "A bagel with Nova" (Seriously that's the title)
Pros: Bagley is killing it on the art! 
Cons: Milgrom's writing. This story seems ill conceived with next to no character development but that's the 90's for you.
Nineties Ad:
Better than ever huh? Looks like someone at the ad agency really liked the Adam West Batman!

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