My original copy of this one was another library sale pickup, and especially trashed. Though I’d started buying ASM for myself, that didn’t mean I could always find it. This was before I’d ever seen a comic shop, so I was reduced to just hoping to see them in drug stores and grocery stores. I imagine I picked up all the library issues in this run at the same time. But now I got this shiny new one, so let’s look at it. This month’s colorist is credited as “Don T. Ask.” I shant! But there’s something else going on here that really bothered me as a kid. An uncredited someone or other is inking a lot of this issue, and not very well. Observe, as Spider-Man, now in Symkaria, joins Silver Sable and her Wild Pack in busting into a place…
Pretty normal. But on the next page…
Not normal at all! I suspect McFarlane had a friend pitching in. Maybe Terry Fitzgerald, who did get an assist credit once upon a time during this run. With the twice monthly schedule, something’s gotta give, I’m sure. It’s almost every other page, actually, that the inking gets simple and amateurish. Spidey and Silver ride back to her spot, Spider-Man complaining about how callous she is and whatnot, her jabbing back that he’s only here for money. Back at the castle, Spidey is impressed by the celebration of the King’s Jubilee. Silver says the people are honoring the king, and also his engagement to a bride-to-be.
What a deft public speaker!
I included that page mostly just for the pin up shot down there. It’s weird to have such strong nostalgia for work I don’t actually think is too great anymore. Now, I know you’re not going to believe this,but once he’s out of sight of Silver and Spidey, Prime Minister Limka meets with a foreign terrorist who’s plotting to kill the King! I know! Who could’ve seen that coming?? It’s Major Weil, a member of Ultimatum. Ultimatum is a very strange organization to me. They’ve fought Captain America in the past. They wear pretty snazzy outfits complete with berets and ski goggles. And their deal is they want to destroy national borders to bring the human race together. And, like… As a youth and as an ancient man, I still kinda go, “Well, good for you, then.” Of course, they somehow think they can do this by, like, killing people and sowing fear, which I don’t approve of, but what’s wrong with the idea of human unity? We’ll need it if we’re gonna make it. I dunno. Weird. Anyway, here’s Major Weil to talk about their goals…
Yes, guy whose goal is to destroy all nations, including mine, I am sure glad to partner with you so I can rule my nation! Don’t think too hard about that one, Mr. Limka. Spider-Man, meanwhile, has gone into the city to call Aunt May from a pay phone. He hopes to catch MJ, but she’s gone out to audition for the soap opera part mentioned last issue. Here she is now:
Even as a child who thought Todd McFarlane could do no wrong, it struck me how MJ looks nothing like herself in that bottom close-up. Very inconsistent. Even her hair color changed. This idea, though, I like. MJ wanted to be an actress as a kid, and now she’s actually trying to get a foot in the door of that world. Meanwhile, in Symkaria, The Jubilee Gala is rolling, and Spider-Man is wearing a tux over his Spidey suit. Feeling awkward and out of place, he spots Silver heading outside and follows, but she’s not looking for a break from the crowd, she’s looking for trouble. She talks about how much is at stake, and asks Spidey if he’s willing to die for his country. He says he’s never really thought about it. I shall blame my general ambivalence toward patriotism on reading this as a child. The next day, the actual Royal Jubilee begins. Spidey & Sable are on high alert, but then the air show portion of the festivities rains Ultimatum goons on the crowd below.
Weird text placement. Hey, guess what?
Aw, slatch! Why kill a figurehead when you can kill the prime minister? Makes a lot more sense. Too bad that guy was as smart as he looked.
Aw, that’s sad. Spidey and Sable easily route the remaining soldiers, but it doesn’t matter. Vivian is dead, and the heroes soon learn the PM is dead, too. Torn to shreds. Slatch and all. Was it Wolverine? It was not. Look at this rushed inking:
Goodness. Hey, Captain America is coming! That’ll be fun. Elsewhere, the letter page has a surprising missive:
Well, how ‘bout that? Always nice to get approval from the man himself. Stan probably got a kick out of Peter moving back home. Next post, we’re still in Symkaria, with new characters and more mystery as the Assassin Nation Plot continues. Why must every Michelinie title be some weird wordplay?