The Omega Effect Begins Here! Avenging Spider-Man #6 is the first of a three-issue crossover between this book, Mark Waid’s Daredevil, and Greg Rucka’s Punisher. Naturally, the two writers have teamed up to bring us this line-spanning tale, which will continue with Punisher #10 and end with Daredevil #11 (both of which I’ll be covering in the near future).
I had some reservations coming into this crossover. The last time Spidey and DD teamed up didn’t exactly leave the best of impressions to our resident ASM reviewers. Will adding Rucka into the mix make for more balanced characterization? Read on to find out!
Writers: Greg Rucka and Mark Waid
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Color Art: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Cover: Steve McNiven, Mark Morales, & Marte Gracia
Variant Covers: Adi Granov and Marco Checchetto
Spidey Team-Up: Daredevil (Matt Murdock) and The Punisher (Frank Castle)
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
In Daredevil, Matt Murdock has come into possession of the Omega Drive, a limitless data drive full of secrets from several criminal organizations. He and his friends have now become targets of said organizations.
Here, Reed Richards asks Spider-Man to retrieve the Omega Drive from Daredevil, since it is made with Fantastic Four technology. As Spidey battles Hand ninjas outside of Matt’s office, Frank Castle pays Murdock a visit. He tries to persuade the Man Without Fear to give him the drive to no avail. Cole-Alves, hiding on the floor above, blows a hole through the ceiling, but before the duo can forcibly retrieve the drive, Spider-Man and the Hand crash through the window. Matt suits up, and the four proceed to deal with the Hand without casualties. They then put together a plan to stop these attacks on Daredevil’s life and loved ones that would require to meet with all the criminal organizations at once and destroy the drive before their eyes, a plan to which the Punisher relunctantly agrees.
THOUGHTS: The first thing I’d like to address is what a novel idea it is for Waid and Rucka to actually work so closely together in writing all three parts to this story. I know, it’s such a dumb thing to be marveled at, but it happens more often than not that a writer wants to feature guest stars from another title, only to write them out of character or write something that contradicts the events of their own book. The perfect example of this is when Spider-Man first joined the Future Foundation. In FF #1, Spidey receives his black and white FF suit, but for some reason in ASM he shows up to their first mission in a custom-made blue Fantastic Four suit. It was a very disparaging discrepancy that could’ve been easily resolved with some communication between Slott and Hickman.
Here, elements taking place in both Punisher and Daredevil show up to give the story consistency. Daredevil coming into possession of the Omega Drive and asking Reed Richards for help are plot elements from his book. The Punisher having Cole-Alves as his partner and being badly beat up from a previous battle are elements from his. I found this to be a very nice touch, and I’m sure readers of either or both books will appreciate this attention to detail. If you’re like me and don’t regularly pick up either monthly title, the story is written so that you can catch up to these things fairly quickly. Either way, it works wonderfully.
“What about Spider-Man?” you might ask. Zeb Wells (or Dan Slott, for that matter) is not involved in this tale at all (for the better, perhaps—too many cooks and all that). At the risk of contradicting myself, I believe the nature of Avenging Spider-Man allows for anyone to write Spidey without having to worry too much about what he is doing at the moment in his main book. What we got here is Spidey getting thrown into a situation involving DD and Castle, not the other way around. Maybe this would be a problem if this was happening in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, but in Avenging I think it’s perfectly fine. It makes sense, too, as Spidey is acting at the behest of Reed Richards, since the drive is technically the FF’s and Spidey is Matt’s closest superhero buddy.
And since it’s Spidey’s book, we see the action in Part One from his perspective, of course. His inner thoughts are absolutately hilarious (his initial reaction to seeing Rachel is perhaps my favorite of the whole thing) but occasionally switch into serious stuff, namely the “No one dies” mantra he’s had for a while. I thought his dialogue was spot on, and I found myself several times laughing at his quips. Is it possible this is Greg Rucka’s doing? I was told before that Mark Waid didn’t get Spidey at all, and, having not read that ASM two-parter with Daredevil, I can’t say for sure what happened there. Here, I think Spidey was done justice, so congratulations Waid and Rucka for a job well done.
Other memorable moments include the initial exchange between Murdock and Castle and Spidey crashing the party. If I had one problem with the issue is the dialogue during the rooftop scene after the Hand battle. Maybe I’m just a little slow, but, personally, I found the four characters’ plan of action a little hard to follow. You can understand the gist of it but it took me several read-throughs to understand what the heck they actually want to do. Ah, well.
The art by Checchetto is great. Again, for consistency’s sake, he’s also doing the art for Punisher and Daredevil for this crossover. What an amazing concept (the sarcasm here is intended to point out the fact that multiple artists can spoil an otherwise good story. I’m thinking of Spider-Girl Vol. 2 this time around). I really like how he draws Frank Castle, as he has more of a “broken” look with his bandages and beard. Other notable mentions are the way he draws Spidey’s webshooters and DD’s radar sense. The action looks fantastic. Everything is enhanced by Hollingsworth’s coloring. Overall, it’s a fantastic job.
(Spider-Man thinks to himself, “Of course… The Punisher… and he’s brought a friend. Who’s a girl. Don’t say it resist the urge he’ll kill you don’t DON’T.”)
SPIDER-MAN: So I see you’ve started dating again.
(Both point guns at him. “Stupid mouth–!” )
VERDICT: Avenging Spider-Man #6 is a fun, action-packed tale. It has a more serious tone compared to earlier issues, but Spidey manages to deliver the laughs every time I read it. You should definitely give it a shot. 4 Webheads out of 5.
FREE CODE GIVEAWAY: At the recommendation of Agent Michigan (winner of last week’s giveaway), I’ve decided to give you Facebook folks a chance to win the code for this issue (please refrain from spamming the comments with how much you hate Facebook, thank you). I’ll be posting a link to this review on the official Crawlspace fan page (facebook.com/spidermancrawlspace). All you have to do is share it. That’s it. A winner will be selected at random on Monday, April 30th.
SHAMELESS PLUG: twitter.com/2BitSpecialist
~My Two Cents