Radioactive Man volume 2 #4
Bongo Comics Group (May, 2001…I mean 1953)
WRITER: Batton Lash
PENCILER: Mike DeCarlo
COLORIST: Nathan Lane
EXECUTIVE EDITOR: William Morrison
“The Amazing Radioactive Spider!”
INKER: Robert Smith
LETTERER: Christopher Ungar
EDITOR: Terrance Delegennie
“The Thing In My Head”
INKER: Murphy Anderson
LETTERER: Chris Ungar
Gloria Grand: Reporter At Large: “The Beauty Queen From The 21st Century”
When Radioactive Man speaks on the dangers and positives of atomic energy to a group of high schoolers, he irradiates a spider that bites science nerd Parker Peterman. Unlike his anagram however, Peterman is a paranoid jerk who thinks everyone is out to get him and when the spider bite turns him into a giant spider he gets what he thinks is revenge on those who he thinks hates him. Radioactive Man is able to absorb the radiation and turn him back to normal but with some lingering spider-powers that may go away someday. This is what Frank Tieri and Joe Quesada were trying to do with their Kent parodies done right…partly because this is actually a parody comic. Parker’s the jerk and the jock is actually a really nice guy trying to make friends with him. This was a fun tale.
In the second tale a man sees Claude Kane III without his hat and sees the lightning shaped shrapnel that’s lodged in his head as a result of the accident that turned him into Radioactive Man. He wants to tell the world but he tends to investigate strange things (which he tends to exaggerate into larger unexplained tales), which allows Radioactive Man a way to protect his identity–by convincing him to start a tabloid. Technically the weaker of the three stories but still pretty good.
The final tale takes cues from Gloria’s inspiration, Lois Lane. In this story Gloria checks out a beauty pageant in the nearby town of Hornsby, where strange things are going on. She finds that none of the local ladies have been going out to eat, and they may not be all staying home. It’s because of a time traveler from 2001, who was rejected from a beauty pageant for being too curvy, and traveled back to seek revenge by forcing her past self to fail, convincing all the girls into anorexia…and just realizing that just took some of the fun out of this story in hindsight. I know, it’s intended to be a commentary/parody of the modern (for 2001) beauty contestants, models, and supermodels but I can also see why there might be a few triggers here, even if the message may be anti-body-shaming. If you can get past that it’s still a neat parody.
Overall this was a good parody of comics in 1950s and even a good Spider-Man parody. It’s worth picking up.