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Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 and explore a part of the Marvel Comics universe through one of the many tales of the Amazing Spider-Man comic book series.
To put things in perspective, the creative team behind the Amazing Spider-Man title decided to shake things up a bit by having the high-tech team called The Jury (the same team that went against Venom led by a powerful man whose son was murdered by Eddie Brock in Amazing Spider-Man #315) as the force of opposition for the webslinger.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Amazing Spider-Man #383, published in 1993 by Marvel Comics with a story by David Michelinie and drawn by Mark Bagley.
The story begins in New York with the super-powered being Nova flying around which triggers an alert. It turns out, members of The Jury and their leader General Orwell Taylor have been monitoring and scanning areas of the city with several motion detectors to find Spider-Man. As far as Taylor is concerned, Spider-Man is highly responsible for the existence of Venom in their world and is therefore connected to the murder of his son (committed by Venom while escaping from prison in Amazing Spider-Man #315). Taylor is convinced that the if Spider-Man’s freedom is the price for stopping a monster like Venom, then that would be good.
Suddenly, the team notices that one of their motion detectors went offline. Moments later, a technician reaches the rooftop of the building and finds a motion detector severely damaged. Out of nowhere, Spider-Man grabs the technician and puts his life in danger by moving him off the edge using his fist and strength to carry him. Spider-Man pressures him for details…
This is definitely one of the more engaging Amazing Spider-Man stories I read not only from 1993 but from the 1990s in general. In my view, putting Spider-Man up against The Jury is a stroke of genius on the part of the Michelinie-Bagley team and at the same time it was a sound relief after reading so much about the presence of Carnage and Venom on this particular monthly series (note: the Maximum Carnage crossover chapters and Amazing Spider-Man #375 being linked with the Venom: Lethal Protector limited series).
When it comes to The Jury, Michelinie crafted a script that justifies Taylor’s team to pursue Spider-Man after they failure on getting Venom. This shows that Taylor has acquired information about Venom’s origin being the result of Spider-Man bringing home with him the symbiote (alien costume) from his time on a far-away planet (as seen in the Secret Wars series). Creatively, this results in a very convincing portrayal of Taylor not only as a grieving father but also as a very tactical leader who uses vast intelligence and resources to achieve what he believes is justice and the means for achieving the greater good. As for The Jury’s armored members – Sentry, Ramshot, Screech, Firearm and Bomblast – Michelinie did not simply portray them as straight-forward, mission-focused people here. One of them shows hesitancy which added a nice layer of division and human weakness within the team which is felt in action-packed encounter with Spider-Man.
Being the target of The Jury, Spider-Man at this stage is deeply troubled even though the Maximum Carnage disasters are over. He is portrayed to be very disturbed by the alarm signals of his Spider Sense whenever he gets near one of the sensors of The Jury which is a unique display of his special ability.
Those of you who love superhero spectacle will find a lot to enjoy here! Mark Bagley’s art on emphasizing action and stunts is fantastic to look at as The Jury pursues Spider-Man within New York. There are lots of dynamic shots, flashy high-tech images and really intense superhero action complete with collateral damage!
To be clear, this comic book is not simply all about the webslinger and Taylor’s team. There are some scenes here building up on Aunt May’s suspicion about Peter Parker’s parents which added suspense to the narrative.
Amazing Spider-Man #383 (1993) remains a very solid and highly entertaining comic book to read from start to finish. The Michelinie-Bagley team really delivered the great stuff as they launched a new concept having The Jury hunting Spider-Man in successful fashion. The Jury is clearly a very formidable team that gave Venom and Spider-Man a lot of trouble. The notable thing here is that this is only the first chapter of a new storyline with focus on Spider-Man’s responsibility with the murderous Venom (and all the victims he made).
Overall, Amazing Spider-Man #383 (1993) is highly recommended!
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