Review by Ian Keogh
For the Punisher’s final outing in Marvel’s oversize graphic novel line he shares the spotlight with the Black Widow, who, despite being ranked second in the cover credits, flies solo for over a third of the book.
After twenty years the FBI have finally apprehended escaped killer Peter Malum, but there are those very keen to utilise his talents outside a jail cell. He’s an unusual villain, combining physical strength and brute force with scientific genius. Formerly employed by the government he created a weapon so terrible the hope would be that it’s never used, and it was left incomplete when he went rogue. Now the fear is that he’s seeking to reconstruct this device.
Black Widow’s involvement comes via S.H.I.E.L.D., wanting to prevent Malum reconstructing his weapon, while he’s on the Punisher’s hit list due to murders he committed in 1972.
D. G. Chichester’s script is very much by the numbers when deconstructed, but his dialogue is often hard to follow, and there are vast expository dumps. Some aspects appear contrived merely to fill the pages, rather than being essential to the story, and the idea that the Black Widow is insecure and wracked with doubt isn’t the best starting point.
Larry Stroman’s art is very much an acquired taste. The drawing ability is there, and there are some stylish figures and designs, but his panel compositions are consistently eccentric. They close in when greater distance would be more effective, prioritise the wrong image on a page, and when either rushed or idle there’s barely a background to be seen.
All in all Spinning Doomsday’s Web is best left in the bargain box.