The Amazing Spider-Man #687 Review

 The end of “Ends of the Earth” is here, and everything is on the line! The Earth’s fate, Doctor Octopus’ master plan, and the life of one of Spidey’s closest allies!

Written by Dan Slott

Illustrated by Stefano Caselli

Colored by Frank Martin Jr.

Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna

THE PLOT: With help from Mysterio, the mind controlled Avengers are freed from the control of Doc Ock’s octobots. They rush off to destroy the missles headed for Earth while Spidey and Silver Sable attack the master planner at his base.

LONG STORY SHORT: Spidey is forced to leave Sable battling the Rhino in a no-win scenario in order to stop Doc Ock once and for all, which he does.

MY THOUGHTS: There’s not much to say about this finale to “Ends of the Earth”. As apathetic as that may seem, this story arc has had even less weight to it than Spider-Island did. Both are intended to be breezy, unconsequential super-hero shlock meant to entertain, but at the end of the day I felt that was a bit more effective because it involved characters we cared about like Kaine, Jameson and Mary Jane. I’m not saying that EOTE failed because it lacked heavy involvement from Spidey’s supporting cast, but perhaps that does add to it.

“Ends of the Earth” was just completely hollow. The name of the story arc itself should evoke a sense of the biggest challenge and threat for Spidey to overcome, but all it amounted to was talk. Barks with no bites. Sure there were some emotional beats like when the heroes thought Symkaria was nuked and scenes of Mary Jane in the background. There was also some interesting fight ideas like the Avengers vs the Sinister Six and the mind controlled Avengers vs Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, but they weren’t memorable. These were flash in the pan gimmicks that furthered the plot, but only just barely.

This issue in particular was a step above the rest, if only for the second half. The hook at the end of last issue was predictably brief, and once that’s gotten rid of, the rest of the story follows the suit of an action movie’s last ten minutes. Two things of interest keep this from being out-and-out boring, and that’s Sable’s supposed “death”, and the way Spidey defeats Doctor Octopus.

Actually three things, lest I forget the art. All throughout this arc, Stefano Caselli has shined with his luscious depictions of Spidey and the Marvel Universe. He was a solid artist when he started out back in ASM#666, but I think he grew a decent amount during this run. If nothing else, this arc shows him to be a reliable, dynamic penciller with great anatomy and command of action scenes. Brief as they were, he did make the fight scenes with the Avengers pop. I think the pastel colors by Frank Martin Jr. let him down a bit. Not that rhey were awful, but they lacked a certain life to them that would have really plussed the action-movie feel of the story. Still, Caselli’s art was the true star of Ends of the Earth.

The Silver Sable death scene was apparently intended to be the “NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN” hook that EOTE leaves the Spider-Man mythos. Some readers have debated whether it was right for Spider-Man to leave Sable to her death in the way that he did, but I don’t think it’s worth much energy to debate on way or another. The scene fell flat because of its fluffy groundwork in how Slott attempted to give it resonance with the Sable/Spidey shipping in the issues leading up to this. If that’s what those scenes were meant to end up at, he wasted his time. Spider-Man’s always been a very emotional hero, and if the scene went ahead without the forced scene of romantic tension, I think the scene with her and Rhino here would have been more effective. Her and Spidey have been allies since the golden days of the 90s, and Spider-Man’s emotion at leaving her to die would feel more natural with that in mind, as opposed to “Oh she maybe sorta kinda liked me.” It approaches the Jean DeWolf situation where a hard-as-nails female friend of Spider-Man’s is shown after the fact of her death to possibly have romantic feelings towards him. Somehow that’s not as effective here. Maybe it’s because originally it would’ve been the Black Cat in Sable’s place. Were that to have happened, I think the scenes would be as effective as Slott was going for. As it stands, it comes off as bad storytelling. Silver Sable, a strong female character in her own right, gets fridged after a string of romantic interest scenes between her and the hero. Weak. And really, there’s not a soul alive who thinks she’s dead so why go through the song and dance of acting as though she is? If we saw a body, the story would earn some honest emotion or concern. But it’s just another cliche.

 I did like the ending with Spidey in a bind and defying physics to save the day. That’s what Spidey’s all about and it’s great whenever Slott invokes these kinds of moments. It did end rather abruptly with Peter just wacking the dude out and dragging him to the surface.

 The ending too was a bit quick and really left the readers with nothing to gleam upon. Again, Sable’s not dead evern if the Marvel U thinks she is. For what it’s worth, the epilogue which continues in Avenging Spider-Man #8 tells us nothing of the aftermath of this supposed epic storytelling besides some bromidic tripe about Sable and Dr. Strange making Spider-Man marry a foreign woman so she won’t be betrothed with Dr. Doom. It’s a stupid story, but unfortunately fits with this story as a whole. It was a basic Spider-Man adventure to be sure, but it’s more comparable with Maximum Carnage than let’s say Secret Wars. I’ve gone on about how dull the emotional beats rang throughout and in the second half it became nothing but more promotion for the Avengers movie. I think giving the arc any more attention would be beating a dead horse. It was bad, but it wasn’t good. I look forward to Slott’s two-parters, because those are definitely closer to his wheelhouse and end up better issues for it. Let’s move on from this dissapointment and never speak of it again…

2.5/5 webs



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(14) Comments

  1. draco

    Until Silver Sable and Rhino's dead bodies are seen, there is still a possibility that they are both still alive.

  2. Dan

    I think that the problem was the fact that Silver Sable and The Black Widow have not appeared to past Spider-Man writers, which is why there is hardly a past development in the story as far as character interactions goes. Otherwise, the story might have been as convincing as The Black Cat and Venom. For better or worse, I am glad that Slott used The Black Widow and Silver Sable for this story.

  3. sthenurus

    The "evidence was promotional material given at the end of "birth of a species" that containned a splash page of everything coming this year (a teaser if you will) amoung them MJ getting spider power and spidey, venom and black cat fighting sandman.

  4. Mike 13

    Where do you guys get this notion of other characters being used in this storyline? Was this something on-line in an "official" sense that I just missed? Or is it just fan speculation?I'm curious because I've been hearing this a LOT in the reviews... where's the evidence?I'd like to read it...

  5. sthenurus

    I agree with all of you on the sable/black cat thing. Also, I believe Venom should have been filing up the role of black widow. I think it would have been much more interresting if slott could have went with those 2 instead of bw/ss. How would have flash reacted to see his idol (spidey) fail to save his ex girlfriend (cat); the interaction between flash and peter, the love triangle between flash, felicia and peter, Venom doing the torture scene instead of spidey (or venom reaction to spidey "torturing" Sandman) etc... This story could have been so much better if they had gone with the original plan.

  6. Enigma_2099

    @#5All I can say is that I strongly believe that it WON'T be Mary Jane dying in Dying Wish. The fan backlash would be a sight to behold...

  7. Tom Winstone

    I heard Sables role was originally going to be Black Cat, but would (could) Slott really kill of a character like Black Cat. If Sable is dead for a couple of years, I doubt anyone would notice, but Black Cat is clearly a character writers like using (Heroes for Hire, Defenders, Daredevil). Was 'sorry for your lose' really a reference to Black Cat?Guess we can stop worrying about supporting characters now. I was afraid dying wish might refer to a beloved supporting cast member, now I'm guessing it's either a request from beyond the grave from Sable, or something to do with Ock

  8. Enigma_2099

    " Maybe it’s because originally it would’ve been the Black Cat in Sable’s place. Were that to have happened, I think the scenes would be as effective as Slott was going for."I would have danced at her funeral. Black Cat/Catwoman is MY "Betty Brant..."Which one of these characters is a ripoff of the other?

  9. Brian Bradley

    Nice review. I was waiting for this event to end before reading it all at once... which I just did tonight. I agree with how hollow and empty this event felt. The torture didn't seem as bad as I was expecting, but that may have been because I saw the hoopla about it already. I also didn't pick up the romantic tension between Silver and Spidey. Spidey mentioned another girl to her a couple times (I'm assuming he was referring to MJ) and it just seemed like more of a respect thing between Silver and Spidey.Art was good... don't like Ramos subbing in but it didn't kill the overall art for me.

  10. sthenurus

    I Don't get the hate for maximum Carnage. Sure it wasn't great but it wasn't any worst than most of what we get today (and I mean that in a general sense, not just compared to this particular arc).

  11. Douglas Ernst

    Great review. It really irked me that Spider-Man would opt to save the life of a guy who, moments earlier, tried to fry 6 billion people. I guess Spidey wouldn't make a good Marine (i.e., leave no man behind). He should have gone to see what happened to his ally and left the "Octopus" at the bottom of the Ocean (with bin Laden). It would be much better to secure Sable's dead body and return it to the surface than to save a genocidal maniac like Doc Ock.Dan Slott must go.

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