Written by Dan Slott
Illustrated by Ryan Stegman
Colored by Edgar Delgado
Lettered by VC’s Chris Eliopoulos
THE PLOT: Now that Peter is gone from Ock’s memories for good, Peterpus is determined to life out his new/current life to the fullest. He interrupts a gang turf war between the White Dragon and the Owl, and while he beats on the bosses, the henchmen flee and are picked up by members of the Green Goblin’s crew. Meanwhile, Captain Watanabe has returned and joins Carlie in trying to prove that Spider-Man is different.
LONG STORY SHORT: Mary Jane has clicked to the idea that Peter is not himself, and is proven as much when he doesn’t rescue her from a fire. SpOCK takes smug satisfaction that everything he does, says or thinks of is more awesome than Peter Parker. The Green Goblin is revealed to be growing an army, and refers to himself as the Goblin King.
MY THOUGHTS: This is one of those issues Dan Slott pops out which is fairly solid overall, yet contains some of his stylistic choices which I don’t care for. My criticism for this is mostly subjective, as this is one of those “day-in-the-life” issues of Spider-Man that happens every so often. These are rarely bad, and Slott delivers as well as one can expect. I wasn’t in love with it, but I didn’t dislike it either.
I’ll start with the artwork. Stegman continues to put forth an admirable effort, but I can’t say I’m fond of his panel layouts. The thick, white borders never did much for me, and in this and the last issue I feel it gets to be too much and detracts from the artwork. The transition scene from SpOCK leaving the crime scene to Peterpus running into Mary Jane has a distractingly wide white border that makes the artwork look unfinished. It’s negative space that has the panels look as though they’re a part of a scrapbook. Stegman’s art is good, but the layouts aren’t doing for me at all and this issue is the worst example thus far into the run.
One thing I’ve praised Slott for in the past was his pacing, and this issue brings back that aspect of his writing as best as I’ve seen it in a while. We get a lot of screen-time for characters who we haven’t seen in a while like J. Jonah Jameson and Mary Jane, and they’re used very well. Peterpus’ graduate school life is still being used to great effect as well. I really enjoy him breezing through his doctorate and making Peter look like a stuck-up know-it-all. It’s an aspect of the Ock-in-Peter’s-body plot that I enjoy, as Peter theoretically could’ve have done the very same things if he truly felt like it. The story plays almost like an alternate reality, and it’s entertaining to read.
Sticking with the supporting characters, I liked how the Jameson men were used to espouse opposite opinions of Spider-Man. JJJ is just as loud and blustery, yet he’s for the Web-Head. Jay Sr. is the anti-Spidey spokesperson, but he’s being rational and clear headed. What made it even better was that it was in the background of Aunt May’s glowing pride for Peter. It’s a nice dichotomy and I hope we see more of it.
The romance with Anna Marconi is heating up, with the two being on a date and sharing a kiss. The Parker-Luck kicks in and keeps things from possibly going further, but the idea that Peter is in a relationship with a genuinely nice woman serves as great potential drama considering that the real Peter will eventually return. What’s he to do when he comes back to a relationship with a woman he’s never before met? Not only that, but what will MJ think?
Speaking of Ms. Watson, she FINALLY realizes (after months and months apparently) that Peter is not acting how he usually does. This is probably a nitpick, but while I appreciate her realization I didn’t care for how she came to it. She figures that Peter has changed because he’s saying “Toodle-loo”? Okay, granted it’s after he’s not said a word to her for months, but…how many times do I have to say this? He killed someone in cold blood in front of thirty people. Seriously, this is what gets her thinking critically?
In this title, Slott’s writing of MJ is pretty bad. She’s written to be dense and an ineffective damsel in distress. Her club catches fire, and she just sits and waits for Peter to save her. Even if they were still married, MJ would help as best she could to save people’s lives. Sitting in the middle of a fire and assuming that someone will save them is really stupid, and it makes her look like a foolish little girl. I understand that Slott is playing towards the Peter/MJ shippers, but as a trade off Mary Jane is becoming a weaker character.
The scene with Capt. Watanabe and Carlie Cooper was equally frustrating. Again, I’m glad that someone is finally addressing the Massacre…massacre. The problem is that Slott’s way around the proper consequences is too unbelievable. Why is the only police officer investigating this brazen murder a police captain who just got back from vacation? Where’s Internal Affairs? Where’s the Police Commissioner? Where’s the Governor? It doesn’t make sense to suggest that this one cop is the only person doing something about Spider-Man killing in the manner that he did, especially if the Medical Examiner’s report makes it look like premeditated murder. The explanation that everyone in attendance also chose to lie about what really happen is equally ridiculous. The whole thing just screams unbelievable.
Finally, the subplot with the Goblin seems interesting as Slott’s writing of (who we assumes is) Norman Osborn goes back to the really crazy, maniacal version that is gleeful about being a villain. I like that he’s doing something with the Goblin Cult that had been introduced a long time ago. Plus, the idea of Goblin vs. Superior Spider-Man is a great one. So far we’ve no hints that Gobby suspects that anything is different about Spidey, but I have hope that it will come about once they do face off.
One final, minor thing. I didn’t care for the fact that Tombstone was apparently taken down easily and off-panel. He’s a heavier hitter than that.
This issue had its pros and cons. Slott’s finally dealing with the most interesting aspects of his current run, but the way in which he’s handling them leaves a bit to be desired. Overall however, it’s still good for what it is.