Pill a Day, Keeps the Jackal Away!Writer: Sean Ryan
Art Team: Javier Saltares, Jamal Campbell
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: November 28, 2016
Review by: Branden Murray
I’m back to bring you another tie-in from the Clone Conspiracy crossover peppered throughout the Spider-Books until February. To catch everyone up who’s possibly curious on where I stand so far regarding the event in question; At first I was digging the flow to the setup of our Clone Conspiracy stories but lately I find myself deeming this all to similar to Spider-Events of the recent past … which isn’t a great thing because it doesn’t feel fresh. Anyway we left our title character, Prowler, caught in the clutches of a mystery character, while trying to complete some dirty work for Jackal. So let’s jump right into the fray from there and discover just exactly what Prowler got mixed up into.
Hobie starts to wake up from being knocked out, at the end of last issue, to discover that he’s a prisoner of our mystery cliffhanger guest. As Prowler starts to gather his bearings he begins to pound on his cell door in an effort to be allowed out, or possibly get some answers, and in no time his wish is granted. The “big” mystery guest from last issue is revealed to be Julia Carpenter, a lady with a long history with the Spider family whose best known as a one-time Spider-Woman, who then became Arachne, before having a turn as Madame Web. Got all that?!? Lot of history right there folks, I like when that happens.
These two characters, being old pals and such, discuss what they know about New U, however Hobie’s not revealing he’s working for or that he’s been brought back to life by Jackal. Julia spills the beans on the inner workings, of what she knows about New U, and how she got the information all before Prowler sabotages the power grid to her operation right in front of her. An understandably pissed off Julia makes a move towards Prowler and it looks like the two friends are about to throw down. Anyone who has hero on hero fight on their Marvel Bingo card, go ahead and check your box.
Meanwhile, across town at New U facilities, the resurrected villains are running amuck, which causes the Jackal to take notice that Prowler, who normally keeps them in line, is missing. As a result Jackal, against his better judgement, requests that his new lady Electro go find Prowler and bring him back … just alive this time! Electro heads off, to a resurrected Madam Web, to get the info on Hobie’s whereabouts. When she finds the ol’ Madam reluctant to give up the goods Electro shocks her into submission to get her to answer she craves … “Alcatraz”.
Electro’s “shocks” unknowingly also affect Julia, remember I mentioned a former Madam herself, through a shared telepathic link interrupting her fight with Prowler. As she ponders how this is possible, because Madam Web should be dead, the dots begin to connect in her brain and she begins to question Prowlers connection to New U and his sudden arrival.
Hobie, sensing that his cover is now blown, attempts to recruit Julia to the New U side by stating the benefits of the procedures to her, all to no avail. Julia, understandably caught off guard and freaked out, Irish goodbye’s on Prowler who’s left in the room they occupied by his lonesome. When the smoke clears Hobie begins to stumble and become disoriented just as he’s remembering that it’s almost been a full 24 hours since he’s taken his magic Jackal pill ... this is not good news. Our issue wraps up as a struggling to survive Prowler lies at the feet of a grinning Electro who seems to have found Jackal’s favorite pawn just in the nick of time.
As far as things go for this issue overall it’s a nice improvement over debut and in my opinion the best of the Clone Conspiracy tie-ins so far after two issues. The main story doesn’t move forward a whole lot, which it never does in tie-in issues, but we’re provided with vital information on the inner workings of New U, which helps with the overall understanding of these “villains” motivations.
This new title has also taken the time to explore Hobie Brown as a person, and as Prowler, both stuck in a situation he seemingly has no way out of and frankly it’s gripping and I’m really interested going forward. The art, and character designs are bright and in your face, with creative panel layouts to boot, and I hope to see more from the team of Javier Saltares and Jamal Campbell in the future (the credits were confusing so I hope that’s listed right, forgive me readings hard). I enjoy what this art team brings to the table they’ve been a great match for this book.
Bits and Pieces:
Sean Ryan, along with his art team, are doing some great work, on a tie-in no less, that should be completely overshadowed by the more mainstream titles in the events lineup. However by putting the spotlight on a character stuck between two worlds we’re treated to some multi-level comic book drama, that’s continuing to build, and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out. If there one tie-in to give a shot, and you’re already reading Clone Conspiracy, without a doubt make it this book.