SPIDER-MAN: THE ARACHNIS PROJECT (1994-1995): 1st Homo Arachnis and Spoiler

“Styx and Stone may break your bones but The Jury will destroy you.”

Nobody likes Styx and Stone.  Nobody.  Nobody likes The Jury, either, and they’re the big stars of this sprawling, chaotic mess of an origin story for Homo Arachnis.

This is billed as a Spider-Man series, but it’s really part of the ongoing run of Venom minis.  This one starts with The Jury–the government’s “Venom hunting” team–practicing taking down a robot Venom.  So we are already in dumb territory.  Venom is a shapeshifter.  If they could create a robot that could come close to having his power set, they really wouldn’t need The Jury.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man fights Styx and Stone.  When Styx/Stone are taken down, they tell Spider-Man that a new character, in Washington DC, is stealing from the Smithsonian.  Her name is Sneak Thief.

She says she has warrants in two states.  But really, that could be for unpaid parking tickets.  Anyway, it will be important because Warrant is going to become a part of this adventure.

Spider-Man flies to D.C. to track down Sneak Thief, and he is about to capture where when a new guy comes crashing through the wall like the Kool Aid man.

He’s Spoiler.  He “spoils your continued existence.”  Really?  That’s the best you could do?

Right behind him comes Warrant.

I do like that Spider-Man calls them the macho twins.  That about sums up most of the characters created between 1993 and 1999.

Warrant wants Sneak Thief.  Spoiler wants to kill Spider-Man.  Spider-Man wants Sneak Thief and also wants no killing.  A big fight over these competing priorities follows, and the whole thing gets introduced by ANOTHER group of characters nobody remembers: The Diggers.  Guys in big robot exoskeletons who dig.

I don’t know why ’90s comics have to be so f-ing crowded with characters.  I’m assuming it’s because of the X-Men.  I love Chris Claremont, but at the end of the day, the ’90s are mostly lame attempts to copy what he did.

So what does all this have to do with The Jury and Venom?  Well, that’s even more complicated.  Turns out that there’s ANOTHER group of criminals who are trying to get a project from one of Peter Parker’s old professors, and they kidnapped his daughter. Guess what the project is called.  Come on, guess. It’s no fun if you don’t play along.

Anyway, The Jury’s boss is also interested in the Arachnis Project, so they’re sent to take down Spider-Man who they mistakenly think is responsible for taking the Professor’s daughter.

So it’s a big, dumb misunderstanding.

The Jury actually manage to capture Spider-Man(!), and now it’s time for Venom.

But only for a few panels. Then it’s back to The Jury. Sigh.

One of the old white men in suits sponsoring this mess, Carlton Drake, gets mutated into Homo Arachnis by the Arachnis Project science-y stuff.

And it’s Venom to the rescue.  No, it’s not.  It’s a big, chaotic fight, and Venom isn’t involved until issue #6. 

Or the last panel of #5.

He came to DC to get revenge on The Jury after his “Lethal Protector” adventure
, so issue #6 is a big ol’ fight that resolves very little and leaves us with Homo Arachnis at large.  It does set up the Jury-vs-Venom conflict for the next Venom mini.

Scratch that.  The conflict was already set up.  This miniseries did nothing except create Homo Arachnis and also make him mad at The Jury.

Like I said at the top of this post: Nobody likes The Jury.

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