Avenging Spider-Man #9 and #10
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Pencils: Terry Dodson
Inker: Rachel Dodson
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Terry and Rachel Dodson
Spidey Team-Up: Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers, formerly Ms. Marvel), not to be confused with the guy now known as Shazam!
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
PLOT: Issue 9. As they fly to Boston, Peter Parker and Carol Danvers spot a rocket-propelled girl who’s lost control. Immediately after they rescue her (in a maneuver that, as revealed in the letters section next issue, is physically impossible), a private security mech begins firing missiles at them, forcing them to land on the Zakim Bridge. The mech is revealed to be subcontracted by National Federal and the mayor of Boston to apprehend the girl (now going by Robyn Hood), who turns out to be a bank robber. Carol and the mech operator have a skirmish after he insults her, and when Robyn is hit by a missile, she somehow grows several feet in size. The situation becomes worse when she’s surrounded by more mechs.
Issue 10. Robyn fights against the mechs, and Carol blasts her, correctly deducing that as the girl grew more in size her rocket pack would fail, causing her to crash back down on the bridge. Some suit from National Federal Bank shows up to claim Robyn, revealing she’s actually an experimental robot. Spider-Man warns everyone that the giant rocket pack is set to explode any time soon, but Robyn regains consciousness and begins to make her way toward the bank. Robyn’s creator, Shelley, shows up to help but is unable to hack into her mind. Spidey tries to convince Robyn to remove her rocket pack, but she instead decides to go up into sky (with Carol’s help), sacrifing herself as the pack explodes.
A week later, Shelley is setting up at her new job, and she begins chatting with Robyn’s consciousness, which she was able to successfully retrieve before she blew up.
THOUGHTS: Avenging Spider-Man has become a good venue to promote other comics, first with The Omega Effect crossing over with Punisher and Daredevil, and now here re-introducing Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel (whose first issue of Volume 7 was apparently very good). Kelly Sue DeConnick is no stranger to Spider-Man’s world, having previously written that Osborn limited series from a couple of years ago. She writes Spider-Man well and does a good job when it comes to his humorous side.
Unfortunately, the overall story is not that engaging. The two-parter begins and ends with Parker and Danvers in their civilian identities, and Carol was trying to get Peter to reveal something about himself that nobody else knew (which the reader doesn’t get to hear). The chemistry between the two is a little weird. As superheroes, the two make a great team. It’s when they are just chilling that their friendship feels kinda forced. I realize it’s an aspect that’s been explored before in other comics, so maybe it was done on purpose here too, but the scenes didn’t add anything to what we already know about their relationship.
Issue 9 is a little slow to get going. The bulk of it revolves around saving Robyn from crashing and Carol getting into an argument with Agent Adams (the mech guy). It’s very light on story and essencially a quick-read. Issue 10 fleshes out the story, especially when it comes to Robyn’s backstory. She turns out to be a robot designed to spy on the Occupy Wall Street movement, but she began to believe in the code she was given. She becomes more interesting at this point, although it’s a little irksome how the comic tries to relate to current events, but thankfully it’s never preachy about this.
There were a few characters introduced with very minor roles. Agent Adams is the jerk that argues and fights with Carol in issue 9. Her conversation with him in issue 10, where she appeals to his sense of being a good guy, is one of the highlights of that issue. Frank Larrikin (the bank guy) and Shelly Godwin appear to provide some friction but don’t really do anything. In particular, I didn’t like how Shelly shows up out of nowhere and how little she contributed to the whole thing other than backing up Robyn’s consciousness (not that I expect them to show up ever again).
Spidey’s role (aside from the typical comic relief) is once again to be the moral compass of the story, as he tries to convince Robyn to do the right thing. Other than that, he barely gets in on the action. Even Carol is quicker to use her brain than Spidey is when it comes to that rocket pack (though he’s the one to realize it was bound to explode).
Probably the most disappointing thing about issue 10 is how it just cuts to a week later immediately after the explosion, and Parker and Danvers hardly reflect on the events that happened.
Where the two issues excel extraordinarily is in the art department. Terry Dodson, in collaboration with wife Rachel (their previous works include Marvel Knights Spider-Man) and Edgar Delgado (Scarlet Spider Vol 2), do a fantastic job. Every panel is just great to look at, and I absolutely love the vibrant colours and expressive faces.
FAVORITE LINES: From issue 9, as Spidey and Robyn watch Carol try to land her plane:
SPIDER-MAN: This is not gonna end well.
ROBYN: Have faith! Your friend flies on the winds of justice!
SPIDER-MAN: My friend flies on a crappy hunk of junk.
From issue 10, when Carol finally stops arguing with Adams:
SPIDER-MAN: Nice of you to join me! So I guess you finished your Lincoln-Douglas Debate?
CAROL DANVERS: He was wrong.
SPIDER-MAN: Sure. And I can see how making that clear would be much more important than actually–
VERDICT: Avenging Spider-Man #9 and #10 have some amazing art but tell a mediocre story. It’s got a few good points, but nothing really stands out about the characterization of both Danvers and Spidey.
Issue 9 – 2.5 Webheads out of 5.
Issue 10 – 3 Webheads out of 5.
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~My Two Cents