Well, we’re back to 1991. Back to the birth of the speculator boom. Back to the era where flashy, artist-driven new #1s were driving sales of millions of copies for the first time since World War II. Only in 1991, 5 million copies sold meant some far smaller number of people bought 3, 5, 15 copies expecting to retire on them, apparently unaware of concepts like “supply and demand.” And back to Adjectiveless Spider-Man for another grim slog through Todd McFarlane’s idea of a cool comic. Wherein, despite Spider-Man 6 & 7’s thrilling tale of Hobgoblin murdering a child’s mom and disfiguring him, we’ll learn Todd has not yet begun to portray child abuse in his Spider-Man comics. Strap in for fun! Ugh. I’ll say this, tho: This cover’s background is cool. He’s pretty effectively conjuring the image of a dense forest without actually drawing much detail. That kind of abstraction is something I’m so bad at, personally, and I find it really interesting when done well. No idea why Spider-Man has folded his leg over that branch, tho. Gregory Wright still has the no doubt lucrative job of inking this series. An as-yet-unseen narrator says he came to Canada to cover a conflict between loggers and environmentalists over various establishing shots of a forest at night, and then shots of a dead hand poking out of the dirt, and then something pulling that hand…
The Wendigo. Not to be confused with the Wendigo in the recently viewed ASM 277. Loosely based on a real legend, the Marvel Wendigo began life as a Hulk villain, and was fighting The Hulk when Wolverine made his first appearance in Hulk 181. There’s apparently a curse in the wilderness whereby any human who eats the flesh of another human turns into a Wendigo, a big monster. People who are bitten by a Wendigo and survive can also become one, and Marvel’s had a few. I think this guy was still the only one at the time of this comic, tho. So our cannibal monster-man has dug up a corpse. How lovely. Our narrator encountered the creature driving late at night as it stepped out into the road too fast for the car to stop.
Yes, the shadowed corpse Wendigo was carrying around for a few pages was that of a nude child. We having fun yet? Everybody having a good time with this superhero comic? Over a montage of newspaper headlines, Anna tells us how people began killing all kinds of wildlife by mistake, that hysteria spread about the case, and that another child disappeared, as all of this snowballed out of control. So, what’s that to do with our hero?
There is no way that guys fingers wouldn’t snap like twigs in this situation, come on. I have come to think of Briand Michael Bendis as having really popularized parenthetical asides like that, but look who got there first? Spider-Man says he wants a confession, or when the web dissolves, this guy will fall into the trash below. But it turns out, it’s been about an hour, so he falls immediately. Are we meant to think Spider-Man has been sitting on this guy for an hour? Seeing the guy fall, Spider-Man is delighted.
What a cool guy, our hero. There is some long and unnecessary business about him being worried MJ will be mad about how late it is when he gets home, but she doesn’t wake when he comes in, so that went nowhere. The next day, JJJ calls to say Peter has 25 minutes to get to The Bugle to be sent up north to cover the bigfoot story. Soon, Spider-Man arrives at The Bugle with a suitcase, letting us know MJ promised to tape The Simpsons and Twin Peaks for him while he’s gone. This sent me off on a tangent of trying to determine where Twin Peaks was at this time, and if I’m right, the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer has juuuuust been resolved over the protests of the show’s creators, and Peter is not missing anything as the show immediately devolves into directionless self-parody as said creators move on to other things. But maybe I’m getting off track. We learn Peter has been teamed with heretofore unseen Bugle reporter Melvin Gooner for this assignment. Yes. Melvin Gooner. In Canada, Anna Brooks continues her reporting, expressing some guilt for being tied up in the story and causing a panic, but doing her best to see it through. She wonders what’s happened to the 2nd boy to disappear, Bill Rice, over panels of Wendigo eating a carcass.
Another parade of headlines is followed by a really badly written phone call between Pete & MJ, Pete in his Spidey suit, about to “step out for some fresh air” after the horrors of the story have been getting to him. Anna Brooks continues her narration on day 9, saying things have only gotten more out of control, and the hysteria is rising and so on and so forth.
And to this day, whether I like it or not, I still draw Wolverine with that same kinda broken-looking-nose, because that’s how McFarlane did it. Bad habits. Bad story! Can it get worse? There’s 4 more issues of this, of course it can!