It's a very rare thing in life to be able to point out your very first of anything. Think of it; you're first toy, movie, game, tv show. Many of these things pass by before you've developed the memory for such things. Even more rare is when you can not only name your first of something, but actually bring it out to show others. I actually have the majority of my old comic book collection but most important of all (at least for this article's sake) is my absolute first, which is Web of Spider-man Annual #9 written entirely by Terry Kavanagh with illustrations by multiple artists.
Adding somewhat to the nostalgia is that despite living in a small town the store I bought this from is still open to this day. Granted the owners changed buildings and have long since switched to more of a used book store, but they still carry all of our favorite spandexed heroes.
If I was asked what particular thought process made me pick this up in place of anything else on those shelves I honestly couldn't tell ya. I can't recall whether I'd seen the old 70's Spider-man show before or after this, nor if I'd witnessed a cartoon or video game that piked my interest in the character. I guess I just just understood that Spider-man was a awesome. Good knowledge to have at such a young age but unfortunately I wasn't bright enough to realize I was getting hosed in the actual spider action department. See this was of of those instances where the writer used his foothold in a popular title to try and launch his own thing. Which in this case means Mr. Kavanagh was introducing us to these chumps.
Ah yes, the cadre. Triplets who are the spawn of the “hellbent.” I.E. semi-demon folk, which seems to be another of Kavanagh's storylines which he apparently carried to further chapters during his run on Moon Knight. Demonic superheros where a cliched tidal wave during the nineties and these three have nothing to set them apart from the pack except their names. Vor, Ard, and their sister Tia where named by the monks who raised them in short hand for their respective powers (slowly shakes head back and forth.) Ya see Vor has vortex powers, Tia causes dementia, and Ard shoots shards out of his body......yeah he's probably not much of a hugger.
So the first story (of five) in the annual is these twerps being dropped off as babies, being raised by monks, then discovering their powers, and sneaking out conveniently on the same night their home is attacked by other hellbents lead by Lord Seth, which is just an outstandingly weak name for a villain. Imagine a line up featuring Dr. Doom, Galactus: Devourer of Worlds, Ronan the Accuser, and then Lord Seth. If nothing else the we get this panel for our troubles. Note: Tia isn't surprised, she always looks like that.
Story number two finally brings in Peter Parker whose out for a night on the town with MJ (Pre magical demon divorce). This served as my young minds introduction to this couple and while Kavanagh doesn't do so poorly with Peter, his version of MJ is a flat out stank bitch.
Thankfully I would later come in contact with issues from writers who actually understood how to write this marriage in a respectable fashion (see Matt Fractions Sensational Spider-man Annual #1 for evidence). This, sadly, existed in the dark days of let's get the wife out of the way so Peter can go punch things. And he goes out to do just that! However; the main conflict in this story is that Tia's powers are going wonko and causing the local populace to go crazy.
|Gotta love the rude barbarian.|
Praise Odin we have Chris Marrinan on hand to provide the art for this segment. I got this before I had fully mastered the art of reading so looking over Chris' illustrations provided me with my favorite bits of the whole comic. He really draws a good Spidey, and has enough flair to make even the lackluster characters stand out.
|Spidey prefers his dementia less intense.|
All that is except for Lt. Stone's Code Blue. I have never seen another comic with these guys in it but fuck they look stupid. This was another 90's cliche where cops, firefighters, etc had to be superheroes too, so the kids would want to grow up and take civil service jobs. Even the daffiest of kids knew better than to fall for that con.
Getting back on track. Spidey fights the kids a little, then some sexy knights templar ninja chick show up to take them away for the 3rd story where they mope around her apartment and set up plot threads ranging from finding their birth-mother to getting revenge for the slain monks back at the monastery. Nothing is resolved and from what I can tell these kids only appear in like 4 or 5 more comics......so not what one would call a rousing success.
Of course We've still got 2 more stories to go but I'll be saving them for later this week. In the meantime check out this bit from a shock-tarts ad that's had me transfixed for most of the week. Has anyone in life ever actually said “dealer types”?