Spider-Man and the Avengers struggle to stay one step ahead of Doctor Octopus and the Sinister Six. Can the heroes take out the villains through the courts? Or will they have to resort to their favorite method of discourse, I.E. VIOLENCE!
Written by Dan Slott
Illustrated by Stefano Caselli
Colored by Frank Martin
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
THE PLOT: As the leaders of the world converse in Rome over what decision to make regarding Doctor Octopus’ Global Warming scheme, Spider-Man and the Avengers arrive to reveal Al Gore as the Chameleon. Ock publically apologizes for the ruse and shows good faith by improving Earth’s atmosphere. Meanwhile, Horizon Labs is shut down by J. Jonah Jameson in revenge for…stuff.
LONG STORY SHORT: The Avengers track down the Sinister Six on a remote island, and a battle ensues. Mysterio and Electro are defeated, but one-by-one the Avengers are all taken down until Spider-Man is the only one standing.
MY THOUGHTS: This is another one of those “issues of preference” that comes by where I might not like or perfer something, but it doesn’t mean it’s an actual flaw in the storytelling of the comic. The more ASM issues I review, the more apparent it becomes that Dan Slott is having an absolute ball writing this title, and good for him. It’s great that a fan can finally achieve his dream of sitting in the writer’s chair and dictate Spidey’s life. For the most part, the stories have been pretty decent. Even if certain issues are legitimately horror-strickenly bad like the Betty issue, there’s still genuine effort put into it which is appreciable. Here, we have a solid if a bit padded chapter in “Ends of the Earth” where the bulk of the story could’ve taken place in about six pages, but Slott prolongs it not only for the trade, but for the sheer enjoyment of it.
I liked in this issue how Slott inserted a sense of believabilty to sell the threat of Doctor Octopus by having the world leaders meet, but a bit of it felt like someone playing with toys. I was sort of taken out of it with the President, Stephen Hawking and Al Gore all being in the same room. It felt too easy, like everyone whose opinions that matter would convene at the same time at the same place. Now maybe this isn’t as unlikely as I might think, and should a supervillain launch this maniacal plot in real life this would happen. It’s another personal thing that I have against Slott’s writing, where things just happen. Need technology? *POOF* Someone thought to make just the right thing for the exact situation months in advance. Need to be somewhere? “PING* There within a minute. I fully admit, this is nitpicking but it does affect my enjoyment of the series. On top of that, Slott is all too happy to play fast and loose with what people can and can’t do due to their occupations. Which leads me into my one and only but enormous legitimate con of the issue.
Jonah needs to be freakin’ shot.
There is a global crisis going around, and New York is blessed to have a think tank of scientists working with Stephen Hawking ’round the clock to save the day, and Jonah shuts off their power because he sees them as a menace. This is the point where Jonah’s lost any sort of micro-level sympathy and has become a full-out moron. It’s such an outrageous and obvious abuse of power that defies comprehension. Before when he was running the Bugle, it didn’t matter as much because at the end of the day he was a newsman. Making Spider-Man look bad was believable for him to do, even if the bias was apparent. In a position of political power, this is BS. What makes it even worse is that at no point does anyone say to Jonah “This kind of crap will get you impeached and exiled from the city.” I could almost buy it if Horizon was a sort of danger, but it’s not. Not any more than ESU or Midtown High or the Bugle itself that attracted the crux of the plot due to Peter’s involvement with it. Since the book reads as though Jonah’s just angry instead of completley unjustified and moronic, it falls under Betty Brant syndrome where the character whose made out ot be sympathetic is someone you want to have bad things happen to them. If Slott’s gonna continue to write Jonah this way, just kill him off. Seriously.
This story was basically a buildup to the fight at the end, so there’s not too much else to discuss in great detail. There were the little nitpicks I had, so just scroll down to the pros after I list the cons.
-Why is Horizon Labs populated by five scientists who all just happen to be Peter’s friends? Are there any others, like the ones we saw in #680.1, or are they not smart enough?
-Why during a major global crisis do the Horizon Labs scientists walk around slowly and pose with their hands in their pockets like their a part of a hipster rock band?
-Why are the leaders of the world so passive with Doc Ock and the Avengers? It’s like their for whoever speaks last.
-If you’re stabbed, are you really going to say to yourself “I am being stabbed? Why yes, I am! I wonder how that happened!” It’s the stinkin’ dialogue again, and I say to you why not have him think that in a thought balloon or thought caption? It was a set up for Rhino to exposition-speak, but in a fight where you’re fighting to kill you’re not going to explain to the guy you want to kill how you can now kill him. You just kill him and move on. Even if the guy wants to know, wouldn’t it be more evil to not tell him and let him die wondering? Alas…
Okay, enough whining. What did I like in this issue?
-Stefano Caselli is awesome, as always.
-I liked that the opening scene began with the Six finding gadgets and instrument which they would use later to defeat the Avengers. It promised the danger of the showdown all the more.
-Silver Sable’s return appearance was nice. I liked how she displayed confidence in Spider-Man, going back to their past history.
-The battle of wits between Spider-Man and Doc Ock was a fun parallel. Each man says to their allies “I got this. I’ve thought of everything, not to worry.” independently of each other. That was a fun turn around.
So 4 pros, 4 cons. How does this issue come down at the end?
*EDIT* The way in which Captain America was taken out did make me laugh. It’s kind of ludicrous, but it’s too funny not to mention.