Octo-Spidy and Thor battle Electro and somehow it’s not as one-sided as you’d think.
Avenging Spider-man #18
Writer: Christopher Yost
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Marco Checchetto
Spoilers to follow after the break:
So after doing the Venom reviews the past few months I’ll be taking on this title as well, which should be fun as I always loved Marvel Team-Up. Plus I thought ASM 700 was an absolutely epic comic so I’m pretty on-board with Superior Octo-Spidey concept and watching it play out.
The Plot: Electro reforms himself from Thor having absorbed his lightening form and blasting him into space during “Ends of the Earth” and of course vows revenge. Octo-Spidey detects Electro’s return and attempts to warn Thor that Electro is coming for him but Thor laughs off the threat.
Electro goes to AIM for a power-upgrade. Octo-Spidey tracks him there but he’s too late and Electro flies off to find Thor. Following his upgrade Electro is now made of anti-matter thus making him immune to Thor’s lightening manipulation while also making him able to hurt Thor. Furthermore if Thor uses energy powers against Electro Octo-Spidey theorizes Electro will explode and destroy all of New York.
Octo-Spidey starts building a machine to neutralize Electro’s new power, and is impressed as Thor holds his ground despite taking a beating from Electro and being unable to fight back. Once Octo-Spidey finishes his gimmick he has Thor explode him and the machine allegedly disperses Electro’s molecules but in the postscript we see Octo-Spidey has Electro in his old underwater lab alongside Sandman.
Critical Thoughts: I was surprised how much I enjoyed this since on paper the premise of Electro vs. Thor is pretty ludicrous. To its credit this book tackles that head-on by having Thor just laugh off the very idea of Electro is a threat and then showing how he upgrades power levels to make the fight credible.
I like Octo-Spidey’s perspective throughout. The voice is consistent and believable in how he interacts with characters far outside Ock’s usual circles. We see this in both his reactions to AIM and Thor. With AIM he calls “competent” scientists but not at his level at first, which as the Superior Spider-man is exactly how Ock should react to them even though as a longtime Captain America reader I’d argue AIM have the better track record as scientists building things like Cosmic Cubes and Super Adaptoids that Ock hasn’t come close to matching in the stories I’ve seen him in over the years. Yet once Ock sees what AIM has done to Electro even he has to admit it is “quite impressive.”
With Thor, Ock at first fumes after Thor laughs off his warning that Thor is nothing more than a brute from a backwards time period, which is kind of true. But then when Thor holds Electro off by just absorbing punishment Octo-Spidey is not just impressed but forced to ponder whether he himself would be willing to sacrifice his life to save innocents now that he is playing the hero. This is exactly the kind of character questions the Superior concept should be exploring.
Finally we get the tease at the end where despite playing the hero in public Ock has some back-up plan that involves collecting his Sinister Six teammates in secret, which is just another bit of intrigue to watch play out.
Also the art, particularly of Spidey himself looks really good.
Grade B This story was “shockingly” better than it looked liked it was going to be at first glance, showing that even a story idea that seems ludicrous on the surface can lead to a good story if the writer puts the effort in to make it work.