Sunday, October 29, 2006

SpiderFan Totally Rules!

As many of you are sure to already know, not only am I a Spider-Man fan, but I am a staff reviewer and the Sr. Title Coordinator for SpiderFan.org. Well, just recently I reviewed Marvel Team Up (Vol. 2) #7 Spider-Man and Blade, the Vampire Hunter. Only, after I had finished writing the review, I went to post it and discovered that someone else had already posted a review of that issue. So, instead of just tossing my own review out, I decided to post it here.

Enjoy!

Marvel Team-Up V2 #7
TITLE: Sun-Walkers

BACKGROUND:

Day-Walker Blade (the vampire hunter who, even though he himself is afflicted with the blood-borne disease, can nonetheless walk during the day) is tracking a specific vampire named Henry Sage, who has been injected with a formula that will finally allow the undead to also walk again by day. Blade has tracked him to NYC from New Orleans, where they both cross paths with the amazing Spider-Man.

DETAIL:
Dawn at Empire State University finds Blade outside the building, looking to break into the building. He is talking to someone on the phone. Inside, is Peter Parker, who has fallen asleep inside one of the labs while studying for an exam. Peter is awaken by Jose, the janitor, who is killed moments later when he walks in on a vampire (whom we later learn is Sage).


Sage is injecting himself with a serum that will transform him into a Day-Walker like Blade. When Peter hears Jose’s death scream he changes into his Spider-togs and heads out to help. He discovers Sage hovering over Jose’s dead body, draining the old man’s blood. Spidey chases the vampire out of the building and fights him on the University’s grounds, as Blade watches.


Spidey manages to beat the vampire, and then webs him up, leaving him for the cops, who retrieve him and bring him to Riker’s Island. Blade follows his quarry to the jail, and then, with the help of a sympathetic cop, manages to secure Sage, and transport him out of the facility. Once he has the vampire outside, Blade stakes him out in the noonday sun and interrogates him about his ability to walk in daylight, and about the Day-Walker formula.


Next, we watch as Peter and Mary Jane attend Jose’s funeral along with his family. Later that night, Pete and MJ are watching TV when they see a report on Sage “escaping” from Riker’s with the “help” of Blade. Vowing to avenge Jose, Peter (knowing that Blade is from New Orleans) webs up and heads down to the Big Easy by hitching a ride on a box truck with Louisiana plates.


As it turns out, Blade is in fact, heading back to his base of operations in New Orleans with his captive. Once he arrives in the city, Spidey begins looking for Blade and Sage. Inside, Sage is strapped to a table while a team of scientists run tests on him. As this is going on, Sage relates his feelings about his dead wife (who was slain by vampires over 205 years ago) to Blade. For his part, Blade is having a difficult time believing that this vampire has any feelings for the formerly alive.


At this point, Spidey breaks in and attacks Blade. During their fight, Sage escapes, and Blade convinces Spidey that they need to team up to go after the escaped vampire. They track him to a cemetery where another fight breaks out and Blade kills Sage, who thanks the vampire killer. It his then that Blade realizes that while the Day-Walker formula allowed the night beast to come out during the day, it is what also resurrected his feelings for his departed wife, and eventually proved his undoing.

GENERAL
Given that this story is written by someone of the unarguable stature and ability of Marv Wolfman, it is surprising that it is so badly written. By this time, Spider-Man has already fought Dracula, and other vampires, including Morbius (not to mention the Frankenstein Monster, werewolves, demons, aliens mystical threats, and other non-scientific villains, that he can’t seem to get his head around that Sage is a vampire is something of a puzzle. Then Blade, in full regalia (complete with his swords and knives) is not only allowed on Riker’s, but is then allowed to enter a prisoner’s cell (alone) and then cart him away.


Spidey, rather than buy a plane ticket (ask for transportation from one of the many heroes he knows with such transport, or even buy a plane, bus, or train ticket) hops on top of a box truck and rides on the outside of the truck for the 20+ hour trip. Not to mention that no time frame is given for how soon after he was killed than Jose was buried (a day, a week?). The event is presented as if it happened that evening, which is stretching the bounds of storytelling I would say.

RATING: 1.5 WEBS

RATING EXPLANATION:
While I’m as big a fan as any of superhero team-ups (especially ones containing Spidey as part of the team) it is always something of a stretch to get Spidey, a home-town hero synonymous with the new York, to travel outside the city limits to hook up with outer heroes. And while it is fun to have unusual tram-ups, they really should work, this one, this time out, simply doesn’t.

FOOTNOTE:
I’m not a big Blade fan, nor do vampires do much to turn me on either. Still, this story seems to me little more than an exercise in allowing writer Marv Wolfman (creator of Blade, and former scribe on both Marvel’s Dracula and Spider-Man titles) to put two of his favorite characters together.

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