Avenging Spider-Man #16
Writer: Chris Yost
Pencils: Paco Medina
Inker: Juan Vlasco
Colorist: Dave Curiel
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Paolo Rivera
Superior Team-up: Wolverine (James “Logan” Howlett) and the X-Men: Iceman (Bobby Drake), Storm (Ororo Munroe), Marvel Girl (Rachel Grey), Beast (Dr. Hank McCoy), Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Lockheed
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
PLOT: Spider-Man (Doc Ock in Peter Parker’s body, if you’ve been living under a rock) battles a giant spider monster when Wolverine and his X-Men team show up. Out of his desire to prove his superiority, Spider-Man deduces on his own how to neutralize the monster and knocks it out with the help of Storm’s powers. He also beats up Wolverine for no reason, casting doubt on his identity, but Ock uses “Parker charm” to talk himself out of that situation.
The monster turns out to be a genetically-engineered woman with human, mutant, and spider DNA. The X-Men take off with her, seeing the handiwork of Mr. Sinister, but a few clues (such as the blond hair and her blank mind, like a newborn’s or a clone’s) leads Ock to the (correct) conclusion that the Jackal is back.
THOUGHTS: This is the first regular issue featuring our new “superior” hero, and it’s a very solid team-up story. We begin with Spider-Man making his way to face the giant spider monster, while thinking to himself what a strange life Peter Parker has led. I liked the tone of this opening narration, as it felt very honest, like Ock can’t help himself but respect his once nemesis.
This narration is present throughout the entire issue, and it noticeably changes to a more arrogant tone once the X-Men show up. Historically, Ock’s never had much interaction with them or mutants in general. This fact is acknowledged, so he has his scanner bring up background info on their identities and powers. He’s very much annoyed by their presence, especially Wolverine’s, and the only reason he sticks around to help is because he wants to show everybody up, naturally. Once he does, though, he gets in a fight with Wolverine.
If you’ve been reading Spider-Man comics for a long time, then you’ll probably agree with me that Spider-Man really never gets the credit he deserves in the Marvel Universe. After decades of being a superhero, he’s still thought of as a nuisance at best and a menace at worst. It would seem like Ock feels the same way, given his stubbornness in dealing with the spider alone and his delight at Storm following his orders. Through Parker’s memories, he recalls every time Wolverine has ridiculed him, and he wasn’t willing to put up with it any longer. As weird as it sounds, Ock is seeking to prove to the world that Spider-Man is the greatest hero of all time.
Unfortunately for Ock, his attitude and then this outburst cast suspicion on whether he’s the real deal. One of the common criticisms of the idea of someone impersonating Peter Parker for any lengthy period of time is that, given the likelihood of Ock slipping up and not sticking to Parker’s character, those close to him would (or should) know immediately that this is someone else. Ock himself acknowledges that a mind-scan could easily give him away. I very much enjoyed how he turns on what he calls “Parker charm” to get out of this situation. It basically boils down to him being sarcastic and “in your face” to them. It works for now, and hopefully it won’t be a recurring thing, because it can only work for so long.
I was very excited for the new creative team when it was announced, and they did not disappoint. Yost’s approach to the Superior Spider-Man is great, and his story is entertaining all the way through. The art team of Medina, Vlasco, and Curiel makes everything look really, really nice. The reveal that the Jackal has gotten a hold of Mr. Sinister’s work was pretty cool, and hopefully it will be followed up on pretty soon.
In my opinion, Avenging Spider-Man was the better book over ASM in 2012. After finding out about some of these… elements featured in the main Superior Spider-Man book (such as Force ghosts, silly catch-phrases, and sexual frustration), I have no problem telling you that Avenging Spider-Man continues to be the best value for your money.
FAVORITE LINE: The Parker charm:
SPIDER-MAN: Right. Because saving the city from a giant spider was so suspicious. Not like you X-Men. When you guys get possessed, you take over the planet and set it on fire.
VERDICT: Avenging Spider-Man #16 is a solid team-up story. It’s interesting to see how Doc Ock acts around other heroes that have partnered with Spider-Man in the past and tries to keep up his ruse. The art is pleasing. This issue shows great premise for a future storyline, as well as the general direction of this series. 3.5 Webheads out of 5.
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~My Two Cents