Friday, April 4, 2014


SPIDER-MAN: THE MUTANT AGENDA (Marvel, 2012; Softcover)

Collects Spider-Man: The Mutant Agenda Nos. 0-3, Marvel Team-Up No. 90, and the Spider-Man newspaper strips arc Mutant Agenda from December 6, 1993- March 1, 1994 (cover dates February, 1980- May, 1994)

Writers: Steven Grant and Stan Lee (newspaper strips)

Artists: Scott Kolins, Larry Lieber (newspaper strips), Paul Ryan, Mike Vosburg (Marvel Team-Up), and John Romita, Sr. (newspaper strips) with additional inking by Sam De La Rosa, Joe Sinnott, and Bob McLeod

Multimedia event. That phrase in 2014 means the Internet, smartphone apps, and/or some form of cable television premium channel crossover, right? In the stone ages of late 1993 and early 1994, it meant a crossover between a comic book and a newspaper strip. While both of those things are still around, it boggles the mind to think of how fast the world has changed in just two decades. The world of 1974 wasn't as alien to folks in 1994 like the world of 2014 would be to someone who journeyed into the future from 1994.

The story was told across the strip and the comic without it being necessary to read both in order to enjoy it. Peter Parker goes to a presentation about mutation and runs into the Beast. The Hobgoblin attacks the Brand Coroporation's CEO during his speech, resulting in Spider-Man and the Beast teaming up. Hank McCoy (the Beast's civilian identity) was employed at the Brand Corporation during the classic run on his solo stint in the early '70s title Amazing Adventures, which is why he was in attendance. It was his experimentation with mutation while employed there that went awry and resulted in him becoming the more famous blue furry version that we '70s children knew and loved. 

The Beast believed that he had destroyed all of his work notes, but apparently he had not. One of his co-workers, now the CEO of Brand, has planned to get revenge on the Beast for “killing” Henry McCoy, since that is what the world of the time thought when they saw the fur-covered beast leaving the labs. Fast forward to the then-present and they have perfected his mutation removing (actually causing) process and plan to use it on Spider-Man and the Beast. Cue Hobgoblin and other unintended consequences and some cool fight scenes.

#0 of the mini-series featured the Spider-Man newspaper strip The Origin Story from October 4-30, 1977 which was then-newly colored and presented across 8 pages. It also provided room for fans to clip and save newspaper strips for this crossover. I am guessing you had to glue or tape them. Here they used high resolution scans and inserted them in the correct spot. This made me feel warm and fuzzy. Adding further warm and fuzzy feelings to the proceedings was including mini-series writer Steven Grant's Spider-Man and Beast story from Marvel Team-Up #90. Stuff like this is why Marvel has left DC's collected editions department in the dust. Those idiots can't even include every issue in a story arc of their collections of classic material for chrissakes. 

On the strip portion the dailies are in black and white (as originally published) and the Sundays are high resolution scans without color restoration. It works.

There is a major continuity snafu in Marvel Team-Up #90 when the Beast swings on Spider-Man's web but does not get stuck to it. The only reason that Spider-Man doesn't is that he soaks his costume in a chemical to prevent it from getting stuck. I am going to go out on a limb to get an official No-Prize here. The Beast's fur doesn't stick to the web because his fur emits an oily substance that mimics the chemical which Spider-Man uses to not stick to his own web. 

Scott Kolins did the artwork for the mini-series, and his early work is good but different than his later stuff. I really enjoyed the writing and the artwork in this book. This is another one of those left field type collections that are a welcome addition to the hardcore fan's library.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Nothing exceptional or unusual to report.

DVD-style Extras included in this book: Issue 1 text page. (1 page)
Issue 3 text page. (1 page)
Fully rendered front and back cover of collected edition minus trade dress. (2 pages)

Linework and Color restoration rating: 4.5 out of 5. The mini-series looks flawless. The Marvel Team-Up issue was serviceable but could have been a little bit better in one or two spots. You likely won't notice but I am something of a nut for this stuff.

Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Nice dull matte finish coated stock, the same found in Classic lines and the softcover Marvel Masterworks.

Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Perfect bound trade paperback.

Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. The usual high quality laminated cardstock found on all Marvel trade paperback releases.

1 comment:

  1. This seems really cool! And here I was assuming The Mutant Agenda was just one more early '90s Spider-Man miniseries...

    Also, I think your explanation of Beast's web-slinging is solid No-Prize material. I would suggest Marvel bring that back today, if I wasn't positive that there are countless morons out there who would do their best to ruin it for the rest of us.