- Writer: Dan Slott
- Penciler: Marcos Martin
- Inker: Marcos Martin
- Story Title: “No One Dies” Part 1 of 2: Awakening
Good news, folks! Spider-Man is actually in this issue beyond seeing Peter for a panel and Spider-Man for two pages of previews. So how was it? Read on and find out!
A funeral. A solemn vow. A hostage situation. No one dies.
Fair warning; I’m going to be fairly critical of this issue. That does not mean that I didn’t like it or that it wasn’t a good read or that the writing or art wasn’t strong or that it didn’t pull at the heart strings. My problems with the issue fall into the, “I started thinking about it,” category. So let’s start with the good and go from there.
The first ten pages of this issue were fantastic. Slott made the right decision by not putting any dialogue into the funeral scene which, to me, gave it a lot of power. I liked how they transitioned from Jonah to Peter by having Jonah begin shaving on one page and Peter putting the razor down on the next page. I am kind of puzzled why Peter is wearing the Spider-Man suit under his clothes and was about to make the joke that he might be expecting trouble at the funeral but to my mind Peter wore the suit so that both he and Spider-Man could be there since Spider-Man was there when Marla died. Seeing the various reactions of the supporting cast was great too and gave me the sense that this death had a lot of impact with everyone that knew Jonah. More than anything I liked seeing Jonah Senior reach out to his son and then seeing Jonah Junior reach back in the small way that he did. On that same page you see Jonah Senior, May, Carlie and Peter sitting together but Peter was still seen as being alone with the break in the panel.
In other words Marcos Martin rocked on with his socks on in this issue.
Things got trippier after that with Peter’s dream sequence. Marcos Martin continued to shine through this portion of the issue but here is where the story started to go off the rails for me. Not completely off the rails. This wasn’t a train wreck by any means and Slott did his best to show what Peter’s sub-conscious was making of Marla’s death and in certain instances, such as Marla telling Peter that since she isn’t a super-villain she must really be dead or the creepy image of Gwen with a broken neck, the dream sequence worked quite well. I was also impressed by the sequence where Peter is beating the Burglar to death and suddenly he looks down and there is Uncle Ben. It illustrated (literally) the point that if Peter gives into his anger and becomes a killer than he betrays all that Uncle Ben taught him. I liked that quite a bit.
There were other elements of this end of the issue that kind of bugged me. The first was seeing Uncle Ben. Yeah, I know. I just praised a scene with Uncle Ben and now I am complaining but I have my reasons. While it makes perfect sense that Peter would think of Uncle Ben at a time like this I also think that pulling the Uncle Ben card has become a cliché at this point. Peter feels bad about something let’s drag out Uncle Ben to hammer home that point. I guess I would like to see something different. Also I was confused by the whole, “Peter has only killed once” thing. I am by no means an expert on Spider-Man (though I am working on that) but I could have sworn he has killed before. Not in a bloodthirsty way but I seem to remember him being involved in the deaths of one or two other people. Third, was Marla really that big a part of everyone’s life? I mean I know she was Jonah’s wife and those that were close to him would be sad but this death is being treated like Aunt May died. Sure it was a dramatic moment but during Brand New Day Marla was played up as the long suffering wife and I really didn’t care for her all that much. I am not suggesting that because I didn’t have an affinity for the character that everyone should feel the same way but at the same time this smacks of a writer making a mountain out of a molehill for the sake of the story.
Other than that I enjoyed this issue. While it feels like Slott is retreading some older material with Peter swearing that whenever he’s around, wherever he is no one dies it is as good an idea as any to hang the next few story arcs around. I dug the last two pages but at the same time I am also kind of worried that this new villain is going to end up being like a lot of other new Spider-Man villains; dull and kind of pointless. Time and the next issue will tell. On the whole I’ve enjoyed what Slott has been producing since the beginning of Big Time so I am feeling fairly positive about the title at the moment.
4 out of 5 webheads.