“The Raven’s Nest”
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artists: Clayton Henry & Sergio Cariello
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterist: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Jelena Djurdjevic
***WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP. HENCE THE WARNING***
The Plot: Spider-Girl and Spider-Man storm one Raven lab after another, using the information that the Red Hulk has gathered. Finding some new intel, Anya takes it to the FF for help, and Rocky tags along. Rocky needs to leave to meet her dad, and as she’s walking on the streets she’s captured by Kurt Godwin and Raven agents. At another Raven base, Spidey and Spider-Girl discuss her resentment toward the Red Hulk and learn that Raven’s plans include brainwashing Anya into being a Raven soldier herself. They then fight off more Raven soldiers and a security robot that Spider-Girl defeats by uploading Angry Birds into his programming. Once the fight’s over, she discovers that Godwin works for Raven, and she rushes back to their apartment, where she finds Emeline Foster, Godwin’s associate, who is holding a costume with Raven’s emblem and reveals Raven has captured Rocky and her father.
The Good: Well, here we are, you guys. With the cancelation announcement of the Spider-Girl ongoing we are rapidly spiraling toward the conclusion of the overall arc dealing with the Raven organization. And that’s a good thing, as I felt Anya needs some closure on this matter.
The regular crew of Tobin, Henry, Cariello, Sotomayor, and Djurdjevic are all here to deliver another great issue. Djurdjevic’s covers are always amazing, but there is something particularly striking about this one. Thankfully, despite the cover, we don’t have Screwball appearing in this story once again. The artists do a fantastic job with their respective tasks. The issue is colorful, the characters look great, the action is dynamic, and I never once felt that there was one awkward design. For once, it all seams perfectly, and you won’t be getting that jarring feeling that comes with having multiple artists doing the art.
You have Tobin to thank for pretty fast-paced plotting. That is, the story doesn’t drag on and quickly moves from one thing to the other. I definitely enjoyed the action such as the fight with the American ninjas, as well as Anya’s interactions with the Invisible Woman and Spider-Man. I was happy to see Spidey having a more meaningful appearance instead of a random cameo or passing note, and his role is not superfluous, either, as he helps Anya deal past her rage toward the Red Hulk by speaking from personal experience. In particular, I found it Spidey’s introspection on the Red Hulk perfectly in character with him. He’s frank with Anya about the fact that he doesn’t trust him just yet (“It’s a joke that he’s an Avenger. A joke.”) and even thinks that he’ll fall apart eventually, but his point is not to forgive the Red Hulk, but for her to move past her rage. I also liked that he’s shown as the genius that he is, helping some scientists with some formulas.
The Bad: Speaking of Anya moving past her rage, I really wish she would take Spider-Man’s advice on it. Anya comes off as particularly angry throughout the whole issue. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I know she’s supposed to be angry because she’s dealing with her father’s killers (including the Red Hulk). You should probably just take this as a personal quirk on my part.
A more genuine dislike is some of the banter between Anya and Spider-Man. It feels forced and not particularly funny in some places. Ooh, and speaking of angry things, the whole “reprogram the killer robot with an inane computer program” has been done to death, in my opinion. I don’t like telling writers how to write their stories, so I’m not gonna do that here. I just don’t like that particular cliche. Your mileage may vary.
Verdict: Probably if Tobin had done the banter a little better, this issue would’ve been perfect. As it stands, it’s an action-packed story that is gorgeous to look at and fun to read. Another 4 Angry Birds out of 5 from this guy.
~My Two Cents