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Marvel Knights Spider-Man #22

Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2006
By: Kelvin Green



"Spider-Man: The Other: Evolve or Die, Part Eleven: Destinyís Child"

Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Art: Pat Lee & Dream Engine

Publisher: Marvel Knights


ďSpidey fights that bug colony thing for the whole issue, Pat. You hardly even see anyone else, and Spideyís in costume most of the time, so you wonít have to embarrass yourself by drawing those emaciated scarecrow people again. Even you canít cock this one up, Pat.Ē

Ha ha ha, silly Marvel editors! You reckoned without Pat Leeís astounding dedication to producing the worst artwork possible. The big fight sequence isnít strictly the worst Iíve ever seen, although itís more of a chase, as Lee tellingly avoids showing any interaction between Spidey and his quarry. One also has to wonder about the way Spideyís enemy mysteriously changed from a vaguely humanoid swarm of spiders, as depicted in the previous chapter, into the alien sex fiend from the Species movies. However, this bizarre cameo by Sil isnít the most grotesque thing in the issue, as Leeís terrifying Legion of the Scarecrow People make a return visit, all gangly limbs and tiny round heads perched like desiccated turnips on top of stick-like necks. Leeís artistic triumph, however, is an utterly atrocious sequence in which Doctor Strange attempts to demonstrate Platoís concept of perceptual relativism apparently through inducing a stroke in himself. Truly, Pat Lee doesnít so much push the envelope of bad comic art as violently and repeatedly abuse the envelope, before leaving it whimpering and alone in the dark.

Thatís not to say that Lee achieves all this alone. While the art is certainly the worst aspect of the comic, the writing too is woefully inept, although that said, the mark of the cackhanded editor is all over this comic. Hudlin seems to have picked up Peter Davidís new habit of having Spidey offer a running commentary on his own actions, 60s style, which is either a sign of editorial idiocy or evidence that Bad Writing is the kind of contagious disease you can pick up at writerís retreats, especially if you donít wash your hands before using the salad bar. Given that one of those easily-removed-for-the-trade-paperback black recap/credits pages appears immediately before a big splash page (complete with credits) on which Spidey recaps the events of the previous issue (to himself of course), itís clear that the editorial staff arenít exactly at the top of their game.

Similarly, this comicís place in the storyline, if the editors were paying attention, would seem to dictate a certain kind of storytelling. At this point, we should be ramping up to a finale, or even be neck deep in finale-type shenanigans, with the last few threads to be tied up in the final chapter. Instead, we get more vague mutterings about the meaning of Spider-Manís recent experiences, ranging from mystic gobbledigook (and random facial paralysis) from Doctor Strange to generic tough guy ďthis ainít overĒ grunting from Wolverine. We wish it were, Logan, believe me.

If nothing else, "The Udder" has, by matching up writers and artists in a number of varied ways, given us a fascinating insight into many different flavours of dreadfulness, with Pat Lee and Reginal Hudlinís collaborations standing out as the worst. Even so, this issue is particularly egregious, even when compared to the rest of their shameful oeuvre.



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