Avenging Spider-Man #14
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Art: Gabrile Dell’Otto
Colorist: Dommo Aymara
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Gabrile Dell’Otto
Spidey Team-up: Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
PLOT: Moon-Boy recounts the time Spider-Man helped save the Savage Land. Peter Parker is there with the crew from Horizon Labs to do SCIENCE when they are taken prisoners by fire-breathing, technologically-enhanced lizards. Spidey manages to sneak away but is ambushed by them. Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy intervene, thinking Spider-Man is trying to cause harm to the Savage Land. When Spidey saves Moon-Boy from an attack, the primate realizes they are on the same side, and they team up to confront the villainous reptiles.
THOUGHTS: That opening paragraph basically reflects my attitude when it came to this issue. Not only does Spidey team up with characters I have NEVER heard of (which is pretty amazing, as I’d like to think I have a pretty strong knowledge of Marvel lore), but it’s a two-part story. At least, I said to myself, it brings in both Cullen Bunn (current writer of Venom) and artist extraordinaire Gabriel Dell’Otto, so it couldn’t possibly be that bad, right?
Turns out, this was an excellent issue. Right off the bat, we see the beautiful art of Dell’Otto featuring Spidey fighting a bunch of dinosaurs, all while delivering clever quips. I don’t think Spidey ever stops talking throughout the issue (seeing how he’s not able to communicate with either Devil Dinosaur or Moon-Boy), but you never mind that at all because of how well-written his dialogue is. Moon-Boy does speak (translated from “lizard language”); it’s the typical formal English often employed by tribal characters, but he gets a few funny lines, too.
The basic plot of the issue is the standard “misunderstanding before the heroes band together” fare. While it’s an overdone trope, I didn’t mind it at all until I began to analyze this issue. No clear villain is introduced; the only hint we get is that the outside world is threatening the Savage Land, as seen when the dinosaurs are breathing fire, spewing acid instead of venom, or talking through a voice box.
Perhaps this issue’s greatest short-coming is how much of a quick-read it is, due to it being, in a nutshell, a bunch of fight scenes with funny dialogue. And yet, it’s greatly entertaining, beautiful to look at, and definitely one of the better issues to come out in the last six months.
SPIDER-MAN: Maybe I flunked out of hysterical-screeching-as-a-second-language, but I’ve been in the game long enough to recognize a plea for help when I hear one.
VERDICT: Avenging Spider-Man #14 features great dialogue and beautiful art. Even if you’re not interested in the obscure characters, this is pure Spidey quipping goodness. It doesn’t last long, but it’s very enjoyable. 4 Webheads out of 5.
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~My Two Cents