“Fantastic Voyage, Part 1 of 2”

Story: Dan Slott

Dialogue: Fred Van Lente

Penciler: Stefano Caselli

Inker: Stefano Caselli

Colorist: Marte Gracia

“Bug Time”

Writer: Dan Slott

Penciler: Barry Kitson

Inker: Barry Kitson

Colorist: Edgar Delgado

“Can’t Get the Service, Part Two”

Writer: Rob Williams

Penciler: Lee Garbett

Inker: Alejandro Sicat

Colorist: Fabio D’Auria

Cover Art: Stefano Caselli and Lorenzo de Felici

Be warned – there are SPOILERS ahead!

Dan Slott’s solo run on The Amazing Spider-Man continues … with another issue not actually written only by Slott.

The Plot

The Future Foundation travel to the center of the dimensional anomalies of the previous installment.  Carlie Cooper does something impulsive to spite Peter.  Hijinx ensue.

The Good

As per usual, the art of Stefano Caselli is a real treat.  He has a genuine ability to draw faces and body language that convey the emotion of the characters succinctly.  Combine that with his ability to draw kinetic action and simple, easy-to-follow panel layouts, and he’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite artists in comics.  My only complaint – and it’s a minor one – is that he draws Sue with white eyes whenever she uses her powers.  (Is this a thing now?  Since when?)

The Bad

Unfortunately, the writing is nowhere NEAR the level of the artwork.

For starters, since when did this book turn from The Amazing Spider-Man to The Future Foundation and Their Annoying Brats, Featuring Spider-Man?  He’s now a supporting character in his own goddamn title, and he’s only there to provide “humor” (I use the term lightly).  Seriously, you can take Spidey out of the issue completely and hardly miss a beat.  I would point out that this book has become a knockoff of Marvel Team-Up if Michael Bailey hadn’t already beat me to it.  (Damn you, you handsome bastard.)

The story itself is gibberish.  They travel to an island at the epicenter of some dimensional anomalies, engage in about 15 pages of pirate-related nonsense – about a month before Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens, which makes the conspiracy theorist in me wonder … Ben even makes a specific reference to Jack Sparrow, for shit’s sake – and then it’s revealed that the Sinister Six are behind it all.  The cliffhanger involves the Six trying to look menacing while Mysterio is wearing a 1930s diving suit and Doctor Diaperpus is probably peeing himself.  (What a brilliant master plan!  Why hasn’t a supervillain ever thought to lure the heroes into a cave and beat them up?  Brilliant, I say!)  Needless to say, it’s as disposable as the toilet paper that I will inevitably use this issue as a substitute for.  Van Lente’s script is clichéd and poorly written.  Spider-Man actually uses “ZOMG!” as dialogue at one point, every pirate joke imaginable is brought up and then driven into the ground, and everybody is wavering about in characterization so far from the established norm that they’re practically interchangeable.  This is probably the most annoying non-Deadpool comic book that I have ever read in my life, and I’ve read Get Kraven.  The general incompetence of the writing of this issue was so shocking to my system that I actually had to read a few pages of Maximum Clonage: Omega to cleanse the palette.

The less said about the backups, the better.  The first one is a two-page teaser to tell us that the Jackal is back and experimenting on the populace with superbugs, most of which we already knew or directly inferred from Marvel’s own teaser images.  The second one is the continuation of the crappy Ghost Rider team-up (again with the goddamn Marvel Team Up nonsense … this one even has “Marvel Team-Up” AT THE TOP OF THE SPLASH PAGE) from last issue.  Don’t waste your time.

The Ugly

To quote Harry Osborn from Spider-Man 3: you knew this was coming, Pete.

This is so preposterously stupid that I can’t even formulate the words to describe it properly.  Thankfully, K-Box already did it for me, so I’ll just go ahead and tell you what he said.

WHY is this scene so very bad?

The following facts are widespread public knowledge among the civilian populace of the 616 Marvel Universe:

  • Norman Osborn is the Green Goblin.
  • Norman Osborn tried to take over America.
  • The Green Goblin is Spider-Man’s arch-enemy.
  • The Green Goblin killed Gwen Stacy.
  • Green Goblin tattoos have become synonymous with support for not only Norman Osborn, but also a white nationalist agenda (as explicitly stated by Dan Slott, the same writer who wrote this scene, in a previous issue of the same title in which this scene appears).

The following facts have been established in canon about Carlie Cooper, without any ambiguity:

  • Carlie Cooper was Gwen Stacy’s best friend when they were growing up.
  • Carlie Cooper was one of Harry Osborn’s best friends when “Brand New Day” started.
  • Carlie Cooper considers Spider-Man to be one of her few remaining friends.

From these on-panel facts, the following conclusions can be safely inferred:

  • Carlie Cooper knows that Gwen Stacy was Peter Parker’s girlfriend.
  • Carlie Cooper knows that Norman Osborn was an abusive father toward Harry Osborn.

So, what this necessarily means is that, out of a desire to “get back at” her boyfriend, Carlie Cooper decided to get a tattoo symbolizing the man whom she knows:

  • Killed her boyfriend’s former girlfriend.
  • Killed her own childhood best friend.
  • Was an abusive father to another one of her best friends.
  • Has repeatedly tried to kill the superhero whom she considers one of her few remaining friends.
  • Tried to take over America.
  • Has become a symbol, in turn, of a white nationalist agenda.

Not that any of this matters, of course, because inevitably we’ll find out that she wasn’t drunk at all, and that somehow this revelation is an improvement.

The Bottom Line

This issue is like taking a double-barreled shotgun blast of stupid right to the face.  0 out of 5 webheads.


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