The Spider/Carlie team solves the case, we get a brief run-in with Vulture, and many jokes are cracked. In a lot of ways this feels like a standard old school Spider-Man story, which is exactly what I wanted after Spider-Island.
The Amazing Spider-Man #675 – Great Heights Part 2: Partners in Crime
Words by Dan Slott
Pencils by Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks by Klaus Janson
Colors by Frank D’Armata
Letters by Joe Caramagna
For the most part, I got everything I wanted out of this issue. “The World’s Greatest Super Hero” is still hanging out over top of Spidey’s name, the artist is still Camuncoli, the plot developed at a quick and enjoyable pace, and I was able to like almost every character. I’ve come to the conclusion that, although this arc hasn’t been anything overwhelmingly strong, it’s exactly what the book needed right now. Something light with a classic flavor that’s just another basic Spider-Man story. We’ve seen just about all of this before with different faces (or, in Vulture’s case, the same face we’ve seen over… and over… and over again). But I’m definitely not a believer that every Spider-Man story has to do something new and groundbreaking. In a few years, I doubt anybody’s going to remember this story, but the bottom line is that I’ve enjoyed reading it.
Detective stuff, sure. Super hero stuff? No way.
This is one of those mysteries where the audience gets to be more or less in on it from the start, and watch the good guys flail about trying to figure out what we already know. That’s not my preferred style, as I’d much rather be in the dark and get to experience some well-executed “wow” moments, but that style of mystery is significantly harder to execute and wouldn’t quite fit the type of story we’re going for here. Because in truth, this issue isn’t really about figuring out that the Vulture Goth Squad is behind the jumpers. It’s about figuring out where Peter and Carlie stand in the wake of their breakup, and getting in a little spider adventure while we’re at it.
And in that sense I’d call this a success. I enjoyed seeing the banter between Peter and Carlie as they broke into police HQ to examine the bodies. I’m a sucker for banter in general, it’s true. This was well done, though, and I thought it was a genuinely amusing and truthful touch that Carlie didn’t want him to take his mask off while they were inside – enough that it didn’t bother me too much when I thought, “But he never takes his mask off because it’s stuffy even when he’s alone…”
Their partnership also plays to the strengths of the Big Time era, giving Carlie her due as a forensic scientist while giving Pete credit as a guy who rightfully resides in the upper ranks of the Marvel intellect hierarchy. I really like how Spidey’s finally using his brains to develop equipment beyond what he’s had since he was in high school, and the ultra-violet light in his signal was a great touch. While he’s never appeared in a series called Detective Comics, Pete’s played sleuth enough times now that there’s every reason he should have this kind of tech along with him at all times.
It’s telling, in fact, how much better this partnership works when they’re broken up. I find Carlie much more effective a sarcastic foil to Peter than some kind of romance messiah. One could justifiably worry that this might be a step towards getting them back together, but it could just as easily be a step in the other direction. At any rate, the future of Pete’s love life, at this point, is going to be more in the hands of whoever succeeds the current creative team, so for now I’m just going to cautiously say I feel alright about where the books stand right now.
The Vulture’s the real villain of course, not the Goth Squad. I’d probably say my only real complaint about this issue is that his big moment is kind of short lived, but even that isn’t a big deal as it’s strongly suggested there will be another face off in the near future. Now, Vulture’s not exactly the most compelling rogue that Spidey’s ever faced. When you think about it seriously, it’s kind of funny that he was ever even thought up as a threat in the first place, despite the fact that he initially went up against our hero as a young whipper snapper. The Vulture is an old balding guy who can fly. That’s it. He doesn’t even have, like, missiles in his wings or something! How’s that realistically supposed to be threatening to Spider-Man?
That’s why I like what they’ve done with him here. Since his power is based on gravity manipulation in the first place, it’s hardly a stretch for him to extent that technology into simulated super strength of his own. And if he can manipulate it enough to fly effortlessly over skyscrapers, you’d think that would give him one hell of a whallop, which it certainly appears to.
I haven’t liked most of the recent villain redesigns we’ve been given in ASM, but this one succeeds because Vulture was actually asking for something to breathe a little more life into him. Granted, his character is still nothing to write home about. He’s just a creepy old guy who’s using his fancy tech for major robberies. But you need these villains who don’t have any deeper themes behind them, sometimes.
Of course, I have more or less the same attitude as Spidey when it comes to Vulture’s “interns.” They’re a little difficult to take seriously. Aside from a few more excellent one-liners during the battle – I was especially amused at “is he offering you college credit?” – we haven’t gained a thing by their presence in this story.
In fact, it’s just like Vulture himself says: “I never needed anyone to do my heavy lifting for me.” Sometimes I think Slott needs to pay more attention to these little tips he gives himself in his own scripts. The character works here, so when he’s finally shining a little bit, why make him share the spotlight? More Adrian, please. Less… I shudder to type it… “Angela Death.”
- Spider-Man and Carlie working together as an amusing detective team that bounces off each other in all the right ways. This is what Carlie should have been used for from the very beginning.
- A solid new take on Vulture. He’s refreshingly creepy, and has been upgraded in a way that makes sense given his established powers and the fact that he actually needed a boost.
- More very solid dialogue, a tight and well-paced story, and… well, this is what I wish Slott would do every time he writes an arc. It’s what he’s good at.
- Well, I still don’t like the Vulture Kids. Here’s hoping next time we get more quality time with the main man.
- Vulture’s actual confrontation with Spidey was a bit anti-climactic. Still, hopefully good things are to come.