Spidey Classics Presents: Sensational Spider-Man #24

Posted by Spiderfan001 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays Spidey fans!  For this addition of Spidey Classics I thought I’d take a look at a Spider-Man Christmas special from the nineties: Sensational Spider-Man #24 from the creative team of Todd DeZago and Todd Nuack (who recently reunited to do a backup story in ASM #663)!

The Story
We begin with Spidey swinging through New York on Christmas Eve struggling to find the perfect gift for someone in his life (at this point we don’t know who).  Unfortunately for Spidey, Norman Osborn has put a one million dollar bounty on his head, one that many New Yorkers are more than happy to try and cash in on.  After dealing with an angry mob, Spider-Man continues his search while reminiscing about the gifts he has already gotten the rest of his friends and family.  For Aunt Anna, Peter got a book on sign language, as Aunt Anna is taking care of Hope, a deaf girl whose family has just moved next to the Parkers.  Spider-Man then swings by the Daily Bugle, where J. Jonah Jameson is working himself to death now that Norman Osborn has a controlling interest in the paper.  For his wife... err... I mean girlfriend Mary Jane, Peter sold his old monster comics that Uncle Ben gave him to buy a Christmas tree for their house.

Meanwhile, Hydro-Man is walking the streets of New York, paranoid that the police and S.H.I.E.L.D. are after him.  After mistaking two regular people for S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Hydro-Man powers up and goes on a rampage, running into Spider-Man.  After a brief battle, Hydro-Man manages to escape.

As Spidey continues to search he flashes back to earlier in the day when his friend and partner Billy Walters, a freelance reporter for the Daily Bugle (whom Peter describes as “one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met”) gave him a present and expressed his fondness for Spider-Man.  Peter never thought of getting Billy anything, and now he’s racked with guilt.  Unable to find anything, Peter returns home.

Back at the Parker home, Mary Jane notices that Peter is looking down, and encourages him to go take care of whatever it is he needs to do so he can come back home in the Christmas spirit.  Taking MJ’s advice, Peter heads back out as Spider-Man, still unsure of what to get Billy.  But then, as Spidey sees the city enamoured in the Christmas spirit he gets an idea.  Spider-Man delivers a present to Billy (from Peter) and spends the night hanging out with him, much to Billy’s delight.  That night, Peter happily celebrates Christmas with his family.

Ah, Billy Walters, we hardly knew ye.  He was one of those supporting cast members who was introduced, failed to make a lasting impression, and was quickly forgotten about.  He reminds me a bit of Flash Thompson, in that they’re both hip guys and Spider-Man fans who initially got on Peter’s nerves but eventually became his friend.  Hope is another supporting cast member from this era that we don’t hear much from anymore.  Reading comics from this or any other post 60’s era shows just how hard it is for creators to make a new supporting cast member stick the same way that the Lee/Ditko/Romita characters have.  It’s interesting that the power Norman Osborn has over public opinion in this issue is very similar to the type of control he exercised during Dark Reign and what he’s doing now in the Avengers titles.  Much like people in real life, the denizens of the Marvel Universe never seem to learn their lesson...

DeZago and Nuack craft an enjoyable if slightly cheesy holiday issue.  Nuack as always does a stellar job with the artwork and DeZago has always been a solid spider-writer.  It would have been nice had DeZago done more with Hydro-Man, as his appearance only serves to give the issue an obligatory fight scene.  Regardless, Sensational Spider-Man #24 is an enjoyable done-in-one holiday special where Spidey has to deal with a dilemma we've all faced during the holiday season.


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