July 9, 2011

Ye Olde School Café: Spider-Man: Birth of Venom pt 1

Hey everybody, welcome to another exciting week in Ye Olde School Café! This week, we’ll be looking at the Tpb (trade paperback) Birth of Venom (1984 – ASM). I must admit that my first superhero crush was Spidey. I used to watch reruns of the 60s TV show, the live-action show from the 70s, followed by Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends in the early 80s. Spidey is the reason I started buying comics. ‘Nuff said. In this story we will see everything – Peter get a new suit, Mary Jane’s return, and a man that hates Spidey worse than any other person, Eddie Brock! Sit back, relax, and get ready to enjoy the show, because this wild ride starts in space!

During the epic story Secret Wars, we saw a few heroes use a machine in the Beyonder’s base to augment or just plain fix their costumes. Spidey’s costume was ripped from an earlier brawl with the villains, so he didn’t have time (or the tools) to fix it. He jumped in the machine to give himself an upgrade, but before he could, a little black sphere fell into his lap. He would soon realize the power this object had and use it to his advantage in space. This black sphere quickly spread all over Spidey and the “black costume” was born.

Upon returning to Earth, Spidey talks with Doc Connors about the experience in space and they, along with Reed Richards, agree to keep quiet about the adventure. Spidey heads for home and thinks about getting into some different clothes. Immediately, the black suit changes into street clothes and Peter is at a loss for words at the sheer possibilities of this new found power. He then takes off, but then the Black Cat comes to his apartment through a secret entrance. She sees he’s not home and starts to worry about where he’s been for the last few days. In that time, Spidey’s new love interest, the Black Cat, has undergone some changes as well. She has had an upgrade to her powers from one of Spider-Man’s greatest enemies, the Kingpin!

As Peter returns with a pizza for supper, he also develops some film from the wild adventure he and the other heroes just returned from. He thinks to himself that he could sell the pictures and make a fortune. Just the mere thought of that puts a slight glimmer into Peter’s eye, but he gets angry and shouts about how nobody would believe it anyway. He decides to hit the sack for the night after eating his dinner. While he’s asleep, we see the black suit slither across the floor and back onto Peter. He jumps up quickly and is frightened by it. He realizes he’s wide awake, so some web-swinging might help him relax. Of course, he runs into a mugging and thwarts that, then he he sees a couple of kids that are getting ready to get into a fist fight, and shows them that they actually have it pretty good compared to others in the city.

In the next issue of ASM (Amazing Spider-Man), we watch as Peter is covering a local football game for the Daily Bugle. He runs into an old student of his from a few years ago. After the game, he remembers he needs to be at Aunt May’s house for dinner, so he changes into his new black costume and swings away. Peter’s friend from the game had a brother out on the field. His brother dropped a pass that would have won the game for his team that day. In the parking lot, we find out why he dropped the pass. He took a bribe from the Rose to help the other team win. As this confrontation is going on, Peter is at Aunt May’s place just finishing up dinner. He tells her that he’s postponing his graduate studies for a while. Aunt May is furious with Peter and gets so upset she yells at Peter, then begins to cry. Her boyfriend, Nathan Lubensky, shouts at Peter and makes him feel even worse about himself. He leaves, but can’t stop thinking about Aunt May scolding him, and also about his relationship with the Black Cat seemingly disappearing as well.

The next day, we see the football game go on as scheduled, but Ray Nesters doesn’t comply with the Rose’s game plan to throw the game this time. He comes home and sees a note on the table that his little brother has been kidnapped by the Rose. Meanwhile, Peter has a meeting with Robbie at the Bugle. Robbie threatens Peter because his last few photos were sub par. Peter leaves the office feeling terrible, but tries to just shrug it off. Peter’s friend Wendy is telling him about how she has an exclusive interview with Ray Nesters, but then we see Ray bolt out of his house and head for the Rose’s hideout. Peter realizes something’s up, and changes into his costume and follows him. When Ray gets to the warehouse, he sees the Rose has Tony held captive there, but that he’s unharmed. Tony can’t believe that Ray has been underachieving and causing the team to lose games. All of a sudden, a wild brawl breaks out, and it’s up to Spidey to do his thing. Spidey lays a beat-down on all the goons, but the Rose sneaks out during the fight. Afterward, Ray tells his little brother, Tony, the truth, and then turns himself in to the cops. Wendy then tells Peter how Ray wasted all the hard work and effort from his entire life for nothing, and then we see Peter pondering her words.

Well, that’s it for now, but come back next week as we’ll see the spirit of Peter Parker plunge even further into the depths of hate, mistrust, and total negativity. Yes, these things all are going to add up to one of the worst days in the life of Mr. Parker, so make sure you’re here to read about it! See you next week!

Billy Dunleavy



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