Current Reviews


Alias #16

Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2002
By: Michael Deeley

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Gaydos

Publisher: Marvel MAX

It's the return of the character nobody liked! Mattie Franklin, the newest Spider-Woman breaks into Jessica Jones' apartment one night. When she realizes she's in the wrong place, she flies out, literally. Jessica calls Scott Lang, her just-starting-to-be-the new-boyfriend, and sleeps at his place. She calls her friend in S.H.I.E.L.D. to research this new Spider-Woman, and they send her Mattie's complete file. The next day, Jessica visits J. Jonah Jameson. She says it's about "Mattie". Jonah panics.

First a little history: When the old Spider-Man comics were being cancelled and re-launched, they ended with a story called "The Gathering of the Five". Five people, including Mattie and Norman Osborn, brought together five pieces of an ancient relic. Each person risked getting one of three gifts, or one of two curses. Osborn got madness. Mattie got power. The new Spider-Man comics started with Peter giving up the costume, (again), and Mattie flying around as Spider-Man. Peter came back to the webs, and Mattie became Spider-Woman. Her brief costumed career was told in the last 'Spider-Woman' comic by John Byrne. Supporting cast included the first two Spider-Women and the psychic Madame Web. Sales on 'Spider-Woman' were almost as low as the fans' opinion of Mattie.

The first Spider-Woman was a private investigator named Jessica Drew. Rumor was she was supposed to be the star of 'Alias', but Marvel axed that idea. Now it seems Bendis is getting a chance to play with his (possibly) first character choice. It also seems like Bendis is forging a new connection between Mattie and Jameson. As this is going to be a 6-part story, we should settle in for some long exposition and strange plot twists.

The issue opens with Jessica stopping a robber, only to have the clerk turn out to be a real asshole. It reminds Jessica why she quit being a hero. Some people just aren't worth saving, and she just can't care about them. It's a great way to show the reader who Jessica is and why she's not a hero.

My favorite part involved her conversation with her contact at S.H.I.E.L.D. It makes the covert spy group seem more like a Big Brother organization. There's a moment that's both funny and scary. Read it for yourself.

Final Word:
It's Bendis. That alone gets . But if the story depends on us liking Mattie Franklin, it'll be an uphill battle. Personally, I never read 'Spider-Woman', so I can go either way.

Folks, the first person to e-mail me and correctly identify what comic strip inspired the first line of this review will win a reprint of 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'. You like Hero Clix? I'll send you some Marvel Hero Clix instead. Just name the strip that used the line "The Return of the Character Nobody Liked". It's available on the web. Need a hint? It's Canadian. Need another? It originally referred to Story Guy…

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