In reading the comments for recent issues of Amazing Spider-Man, I’ve come to realize there’s a misconception among you fellow Crawlspacers that, because Avenging Spider-Man doesn’t “belong to continuity”, it’s not worth picking up. I disagree on all accounts, and although space constraints prevent me from making a proper case for the continuity bit, I hope that through this review you’ll see that this story is far better crafted than anything in ASM right now. No stunts. No gimmicks. No shock tactics. Just pure quality story-telling.
Avenging Spider-Man #15
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: As the Horizon Labs staff sits captured in a cell, Spider-Man, Moon-Boy, and Devil Dinosaur battle through a horde of technologically-enhanced dinosaurs. Once inside their lair, Moon-Boy leads Spidey to where Devil Dinosaur’s eggs have been taken (yes). When they find that mad scientist Brainchild is behind everything, he unleashes Demon Dinosaur, a clone of the red tyrannosaurus. Moon-Boy easily defeats Brainchild to an inch of his life, but the T-Rexes stop their fight, neither one of them having the heart to fight each other.
To protect his identity, Spidey asks Moon-Boy to free the Horizon staff while he goes back to camp as Peter Parker. He gives Moon-Boy his mask as a memento of what happened. Moon-Boy’s narration is revealed to be him telling this tale to the recently-hatched offspring of Devil Dinosaur.
THOUGHTS: Once again, I absolutely loved this issue. By this point, my initial reservations surrounding the inclusion of Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy (which are Jack Kirby characters, as it turns out) from last issue are completely out of the way, and this comic did not disappoint in the slightest. Dell’Otto’s art continues to be a wonderful treat. There are more action sequences this time around, some which are particularly brutal (such as Moon-Boy beating Brainchild to a bloody pulp, or at least it very much looked like so). Spidey gets roughed up early in the issue, and I found it a nice touch to see his costume ragged and torn as a result. I didn’t mention it last time, but Aymara’s colouring is very well done and greatly complements the art.
This issue retains the lighthearted tone from the previous one (save for a few key parts). Spidey quips all the time, and I honestly find myself having a hard time picking my favorites lines, because he’s hilarious. At no point does he or Moon-Boy fully comprehend each other’s speech, but I loved that our heroes are still more or less able to understand each other via body language. I think it speaks a good deal of their character. Spidey is even able to tell from looking at Devil Dinosaur’s eyes why he, um, she is sad after fighting Demon Dinosaur.
The aforementioned Moon-Boy fighting Brainchild moment, while gruesome, comes with a great moment for Spider-Man. Before the primate can deliver the final blow, Spidey puts his hand on his shoulder and tells him, “That’s enough. He’s had enough.” He does this calmly, simply trusting that Moon-Boy will understand him, and he does. He doesn’t preach at him with the whole “No One Dies” thing he was doing a while back. This scene perfectly exemplifies why Spider-Man is considered the moral compass of the Marvel universe.
Another thing that readers will find refreshing is that Spider-Man actually has some consideration for maintaining his identity a secret in this issue, which is why he asks Moon-Boy (once again through his crude drawings) to release the Horizon staff for him.
MOON-BOY: Before he left, the man-spider gave us a great gift. He gave us his trust and showed us his true face…the face of a hero.
VERDICT: Avenging Spider-Man #15 is an excellent conclusion to this two-part story. Cullen Bunn makes great use of Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy. He writes a Spider-Man that is not only funny but also noble. The art is superb. It is definitely one of the best Avenging arcs. 5 Webheads out of 5.
FREE CODE GIVEAWAY: I can’t recommend this one enough, which is why I want you guys to have it. The first one to ask for the code in the comments wins.
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~My Two Cents