ENDS OF THE EARTH
Written by Dan Slott
Illustrated by Humberto Ramos
Inked by Victor Olazaba
Colored by Edgar Delgado
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
THE PLOT: Silver Sable saves Spider-Man and the Black Widow from being captured along with the rest of the Avengers by Doctor Octopus and the Sinister Six. With the help of Horizon Labs, Spidey and the two agents plan a counterattack.
LONG STORY SHORT: The three “S”s attack Sandman and defeat him. Doctor Octopus then alerts the planet, telling the world that Spider-Man is a global terrorist menace.
MY THOUGHTS: I don’t have much to say about this issue, and probably won’t for the remainder of the story unless something big shakes it up.
The issue overall is fine. Spidey, BW and Sable go after Sandman, and beat him pretty handily. It was a decent chapter for Ends of the Earth. The thing is, the execution is just not working for me. This is cheesy, cliche comics 101, and Dan Slott brings nothing new to the table. Yes, Spider-Man’s intelligence defeats the Sandman, but he always does that. It’s meant to be this big, almost transcendent moment that pats the character on the back for living up to the title’s expectations whilst under the pretense of being more than he really is, and it’s frankly condescending to read. I don’t like Spider-Man worrying and fretting about not being smart enough, not being equipped enough, not being ENOUGH to stand up to a supervillain, let alone a guy he knows better than any other Marvel hero. I would buy it if the situation was inherently different and dire, but it isn’t.
This story feels very much at home in the 90s, which isn’t a horrible thing but a criticism nontheless. Back then, we got Micheline/Bagely classics like Round Robin: The Sidekicks Revenge, Maximum Carnage and the Assassination Nation. Multi-part spanning storylines with many different characters that ultimately added up to nothing important happening. What makes this story fall in line with those is that Doc Ock at the end of the day is doing nothing new. He’s blackmailing the world for science. It’s a Doctor Doom plot wrapped in Octopus plastic. That in itself is not a bad thing, and I feel I have to stress that. Certain aspects like super villain plots being rehashed isn’t a cardinal sin, especially when the plots are switched up with the villains commiting the crimes. What makes this come off as sort of pretentious is that everyone in the comic says it’s new, says it’s a bad situation, says it’s never happened before. One of the quickest way to take the reader out of the situation is to draw attention to the type of situation it is in a manner that the characters wouldn’t if whatever’s going on was real. People are going to be more concerned with stopping Doc Ock’s plot or surviving the consequence rather than to pat Dan Slott on the back for his “originality”.
It’s the same with the characters. At the very beginning, Mysterio suggests going back on one of the oldest, most nonsensical tropes in fiction and kill the heroes while they’re vunerable. But of course, Doc Ock has to conform to the cliche of “No, I have plans for them…MWAHAHAHAHAHA!” I’ve already gone on and on about Slott’s dialogue, so I won’t repeat myself here besides just saying it’s bad.
On the positive side, Humberto Ramos does really good work here. His take on the Spider-Armor is really cool, as well as Edgar Delgado’s colors for it. I’m always more of a big-eye fan of Spider-Man rather than the small-eye take that Caselli does for him, but beyond that his art kicked butt all around.
I’ll also say that while Dan Slott’s Doc Ock is probably my least favorite, there was one instance that I thought served for some very good character insights. He says that he’s no longer afraid of Spider-Man, which is some nice continuity going back to stories like the Owl/Gangwar arc from Spectacular vol.1 and the Matrix Ock arc from Spectacular vol.2. I did like that scene.
I know there are people digging Slott’s run, and I have no problem with that. But as a whole, comics have moved beyond a certain level of storytelling to where they can’t really go back to anymore. Dan Slott’s Spider-Man feels embarassingly out of time in execution. The technical quality of the story isn’t necessarily bad at all, but the style of the storytelling leaves a lot to be desired. It just makes all the characters and the adventures they’re involved in seem all the more inconsequential.