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L'Uomo Ragno: Il Segreto Del Vetro

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:17 pm
by loki
Daron asked me to review this a while back, but I've only just got round to it. Apologies for my tardiness. I haven't submitted an analysis before, so apologies also for any incorrect formatting - I have deliberately included some more detail than is probably necessary, given that most people here won't have had a chance to read the story).

L'Uomo Ragno: Il Segreto Del Vetro (Spider-Man in Venice: The Secret of the Glass) (2003)
By Tito Faraci and Giorgio Cavazzano

Spider-Man (Peter Parker), J. Jonah Jameson, Conte Alvise Gianus (16th century Venetian immortal alchemist, first and only appearance to date), Leone Grimani (Italian professor of history, first and only appearance to date), Doge of Venice (leader of Venetian republic, in fb to 16th century - unspecified which one as there were 15 men who held that role in the 16th century), Night Assassins (16th century Venetian assassins working for the Doge, none identified individually, all only in fb), Green Goblin (in fb, unspecified which one)

JJJ sends Peter Parker to Venice rather than waste a free trip he got via an advertising swap deal with a holiday company; he instructs Peter to get a good photo feature for the Bugle out of it. Eager to get a break from "people wearing masks" Peter accepts the assignment, then finds on arrival that his visit coincides with carnival, so virtually everyone in Venice is in masked costumes. He has a chance encounter with history professor Leone Grimani, who offers to show him something interesting about Venice away from the crowds, and takes him to the Monumental Cemetery on St. Michael's Island. In one of the crypts a hideously disfigured man is entombed, encased in red glass. Grimani explains that these are the remains of Conte Alvise Gianus, a 16th century glassmaker and alchemist "of the lineage of the spider" who was discovered to sacrifice humans as part of his glassmaking process and executed by assassins of the ruling Doge by being thrown into molten glass. A curious Peter touches the glass surrounding Gianus' corpse, and feels a spark of energy. Later that night Peter is in his hotel when he hears screams; changing into costume, he investigates and finds a revived Gianus attacking masked revellers, apparently mistaking them for the masked assassins who originally "killed" him. Since Gianus is firing energy bolts from his staff which are vitrifying those it strikes, Spider-Man disarms him but is stunned by a massive energy discharge when he touches the staff. Gianus knocks the stunned wall-crawler into a canal and departs, believing his opponent has drowned. The next day Peter investigates the crypt, finding the smashed remains of Gianus' glass prison. Recognizing Gianus' description in news reports about the "Vitrifyer" who terrorised the city last night, Grimani also visits the crypt and runs into Peter. He tells Peter that Gianus used to have a lab on the island of Murano, so that night Peter visits Murano as Spider-Man and finds Gianus brewing a new batch of glass in large molten vats. After a brief fight, Gianus ends up falling into one of the vats, and is entombed again. Spider-Man returns Gianus in his new glass prison to the crypt on St. Michael's Island.

(Flashback 1, in the form of a photo Peter tries to sell JJJ) Spider-Man poses for a picture next to a webbed up Green Goblin.

(Flashback 2, a daydream/memory of Peter's, presumably recent) Spider-Man fights two unidentified foes (new characters, no names or real info provided on them)

(Flashback 3, 16th century Venice) Conte Gianus is initially admired in Venice, an important glassmaker in a city-state where glass-making is a primary export and so a vital industry. The Doge enquires of Gianus how he gives his glass its distinctive red hue, but Gianus declines to share his secret, so the Doge has him spied on. A horrified spy soon reports that Gianus is using human blood, extracted from sacrified victims, so the Doge sends the city's notorious Night Assassins (Venice really did have such a group who killed people to protect the glass industry), and they throw Gianus into the glass-making vats.

NOTE: It is unclear when the story is set in Spider-Man's timeline; it is after Carnage's debut, because Peter spots someone dressed as Carnage in the Venice carnival (so post 1991, real-world); the Hulk (most iconic green with ripped pants version) and Green Goblin costumes are also present at the carnival. At the start of the story, Spider-Man is shown posing for a photograph beside a just-captured Green Goblin, a presumably recent event if he is trying to sell the picture - hence it is probably after the return of Norman Osborn too (though the captured Goblin might be someone other than Norman, such as the Green Goblin construct); however, Peter seems to be single, as there is no mention of needing to let Mary Jane know about him suddenly heading overseas, nor thinking of her when he is in the romantic city of Venice; even post-One More Day, this would be problematic, because for much of the period they were married pre-OMD, Peter and MJ still cohabited post-OMD. Of course, MJ might simply be out of town so Peter doesn't need to consult with her before departing.

Placement suggestions: No clue. I'll leave that to you guys.

Re: L'Uomo Ragno: Il Segreto Del Vetro

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:27 pm
by Col_Fury
Thanks, pal! :D

This was published in 2003, so here's what also came out in 2003 for Spider-Man:

Amazing Spider-Man v2 #47-58, ASM #500
Peter Parker, Spider-Man v2 #50-57
Spectacular Spider-Man v3 #1-5

However, by this point Peter was teaching at Midtown High and was effectively no longer selling photos to the Bugle for cash. I really don't like placing comics in the FUTURE (like, a comic published in 2003 placed between comics from 2006, or whatever, you get the point), so this looks like a "flashback" tale, taking place sometime in the past when Peter WAS selling photos to the Bugle. Peter started teaching in ASM2 31, which continues from ASM2 30, so we're looking at some point before ASM2 30.

Speaking of ASM2 30, Peter is living alone in a new apartment because Mary Jane has left. Hey! :)

How's this look:


PPSM2 25
IM3 37-FB
*right here (only flashback)
TW 13
PPSM2 44


TW 1
*right here
PPSM2 31


TW 3
*right here (including flashbacks)
ASM2 30

This is the only appearance for the other characters, so we don't have to worry about where to place it for them.

(flashback & main story)

(main story)

Also, in looking through chronologies, I see our placement for ASM2 36 is off for Mr. Fantastic in comparison with everyone else's chronologies:


FF3 39
*ASM2 36 (move to here)
IM3 37-FB
*ASM2 36 (move from here)
FF3 40

Thanks, loki! :D

Re: L'Uomo Ragno: Il Segreto Del Vetro

Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:16 am
by Midnighter
Keep in mind that in 2003 in Italy Panini was publishing Amazing Spider-Man's issues from 2002. They were about a year later than the American publications.

(I remember I bought this issue at that time... I'm venetian and seeing Spidey in my city, drawn by one of the best venetian cartonist, was a really cool thing :mrgreen: )

Re: L'Uomo Ragno: Il Segreto Del Vetro

Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:42 am
by Col_Fury

If this was produced around comics from "2002" that makes more sense. Spider-Man would have only been teaching for about six months or so by that point (and who knows how much lead-in time they had when making this comic?). Placement around comics from the middle of 2001 sounds much more likely, knowing this.

Thanks, Midnighter! :)

Re: L'Uomo Ragno: Il Segreto Del Vetro

Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:53 am
by loki
Worth noting that JJJ tells Peter he'll be taking the cost of the holiday out of Peter's wages, implying he's an employee rather than freelancer. I'm not sure if there's ever been a period when that's been true. Mind you, this is just after JJJ told Peter the holiday was free to the Bugle in exchange for an advertising swap, so quite what cost JJJ is thinking of deducting I don't know.

Re: L'Uomo Ragno: Il Segreto Del Vetro

Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 11:23 am
by Somebody
He was an employee from when he came back (depowered) during the Spider-Ben run till the Bugle cutbacks story, wasn't he?

Re: L'Uomo Ragno: Il Segreto Del Vetro

Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:24 pm
by loki
Somebody wrote:He was an employee from when he came back (depowered) during the Spider-Ben run till the Bugle cutbacks story, wasn't he?
You may well be right. I've got the odd gap in my Spidey history knowledge since the 1990s; I didn't recall any times he went from freelancer to full employee, but wasn't sure, hence my raising it in case it helped narrow down a time period this story could fit into. That said, I'd not worry too much about JJJ's comments if it starts to cause placement problems - he's the type to overlook little details like Peter not being on full time salary when it suits him, and he does switch between "it's free" to "don't worry about the cost, we'll take it out your wages" within the space of a sentence or two, so he's not exactly being consistent.