While on a web swing to the Daily Bugle, Spider-Man is attacked by a metallic like creature. He destroys the creature and learns it was a robot. Just a random attack? Hours later he's attacked by another robot while in pursuit of a purse snatcher. Confused by the attacks, Spider-Man decides to go after the one person he thinks can be responsible, the Tinkerer. Completely unknown to him, there's another individual behind it, and they're constantly monitoring his actions preparing for their next strike. -summary
Written by David Micheline with Mark Bagley behind the pencils, and inks by Randy Emerlin. Invasion of the Spider Slayers is the trade paper back of the six part series, that was originally released during 1992 - 1993. This graphic novel collects The Amazing Spider-Man issues 368 - 373. The plot follows Spider-Man as he teams with Felicia Hardy aka the Black Cat, to take on the newest incarnations of the Spider Slayers, which were originally introduced back in The Amazing Spider-Man #25 back in 1965.
The Spider Slayers are a group of robots that were always programmed to go after Spider Man, and in this story they're no different at all. Invasion of the Spider Slayers is a slightly above average action series with revenge as the main theme, and all though it's a typical straight forward romp, there are some traces of character development, to include, a side plot develops that takes place concerning Peter Parker's parents, who had recently returned alive and well, after being thought dead for 20 years. Parker's life is constantly plagued by one drama after another. Therefore, one thing is for sure, he can never complain that his life is boring.
The story follows a simple and repetitive formula; Spider-Man goes for a swing, a Spider Slayer appears, and a fight breaks out. But at least the battles are entertaining and aren't tied up too quick. Spider-Man relies on brute force very little and more on his wits. The battles do receive a little bit of spice, when old foes Electro and Scorpion make appearances to settle old scores as well. The fight with the latter is a somewhat decent brawl, and the Black Cat gets to show off her new stuff, as she attempts to make up for her lack of powers, which were lost back in Amazing Spider-Man #343, with some implants and gadgets to enhance her physical abilities.
There's a bit of character development taking place with Parker's parents, as they attempt to re-adjust to the new world after claiming to be locked up in prison. But the stand out is definitely Mary Jane, as she tries to deal with her husband, Peter, constantly putting his life in danger, by taking up smoking as a stress reliever. This little story element is eventually tied up much later. Despite a detour in the narrative, the meat of the story is never forsaken, as the battles with the robots continue, and leads to the final conclusion against the true mastermind. Although the fight had its good moments, I just couldn't help think that it had a somewhat rushed feel, and the villain was simply too much of a copy and paste of others. There was very little interesting about him.
The 90's artwork is awesome and doesn't feel the least bit dated to me. I liked how everything looked; the robot designs were pretty cool and the female characters like Black Cat looked good as always. The action panels were pretty entertaining but I wouldn't say there was anything truly groundbreaking.
Even though the series has an average feel, it wasn't something I could just put down. My only issue is that it never aspired to be too much more than just an action romp. But it's far away from a bad read. I recommend this to serious Spider-Man and action fans.
As a side note, the final pages consist of a pretty detailed background on the Spider Slayers, in the form of a small story called History of the Spider Slayers, which is written by Peter Sanderson. I think it's a pretty good history lesson on the characters for those who aren't familiar with them.
Pros: -Plenty of action, mild character development
Cons: -Quite repetitive and too linear, ending felt rushed
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