Not only an issue guest-starring the Superior Spider-Man but also an even numbered issue, this one has the potential to be the first good installment of the already-cancelled series (it will be ending with #9, if you hadn’t heard). So how does it actually do? Read on.
Writer: Joe Keatinge
Artist: Valentine de Landro
Color Artist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: David Lopez
Editor: Sana Amanat
Senior Editor: Stephen Wacker
THE STORY: The Superior Spider-Man comes to Brownsville and kidnaps Morbius, bringing him back to Horizon Labs in restraints. Max Modell tells Morbius that someone broke into Horizon but only went for his things. They need Morbius’ help to determine what was taken, and in return they will try to help cure Morbius. Before they can really even begin to investigate, they are all ambushed by the woman who did the burgling. She then meets with the Rose, who she’s apparently given the ability to make an Ultimate Nullifier.
MY THOUGHTS: This really did have potential. Tying into the current Spider-Man goings-on, giving Morbius and Spider-Ock reasons to both fight and team-up, possibly exploring the apparently-old friendship between Morbius and Modell more, and Morbius returning to Manhattan as a wanted man in general. This could have been GOOD.
But alas, we all know what series we’re reading by this point, so that was not to be. No, instead we get mostly BS’d, to put it bluntly. What do I mean by that? Well, first we’ve got Max promising Morbius they can maybe-sorta try to cure him, even though there are no new discoveries and he just says it would take a lot of work. Specifics are, shall we say, light.
Then we get Spider-Otto admitting what the audience knows – that they didn’t really need Morbius’ help for this. And his excuse? He’s “much too occupied to pursue such petty thievery.” Evidently he’ll develop a tech to take down Morbius, go to Brownsville, come back, and be there for every second of this comic, and that’s not nearly as time consuming as just doing this himself. What? He’s literally performing the investigation with Max and Morbius after saying he doesn’t have time to perform the investigation. And did I mention the tech? He beat Morbius at the beginning with a special light that he said he’d developed specifically for Morbius’ genome. So again – developed a tech, built a tech, traveled to Brownsville, beat up Morbius, traveled back, sat in on the conversation between Max and Morb, and then went along to investigate with Max and Morb. But he’s too occupied to pursue such petty thievery…
Then we have the wonderful old chestnut of the villain who won’t shut up about how far beneath her these people and their technology are and how little any of them matter to her and blah blah blah. Yet she had to steal a piece of this technology that is so laughably beneath her. Sure, she was hired by the Rose to do so, but if she’s SO far above all of them as she keeps claiming, why does she have to steal from Morb? Why not build a thing (or already have it) herself? Or give the Rose some way better tech, since this is all so laughably primitive to her? And here’s the big one – WHY THE HELL DID SHE AMBUSH THEM? Spidey, Max, and Morb have no idea who the thief was or what happened. So she comes back to the scene of the crime to beat them up. She didn’t take anything else, and she kept going on and on about how they mean nothing to her. Oh sure, she says “the client wants you extra humiliated.” So we can blame this on The Rose being a moron. Because what did this accomplish? Now they know exactly how she got in (since she came in the same way right in front of them), exactly what kind of personality they’re dealing with, the fact that she’s working for a client, and oh yeah – she tells them her name! They owe her a big thank you, because that’s a hell of a lot of leads to work with compared to the NONE they had before. That’s some really good supervillaining there, dumbass!
Speaking of the name, it’s Nikoleta Harrow. Her first appearance, but gee, being a supposed super-scientist with that name, might she be the daughter of Jonas Harrow? Soooo mysterious.
The thing about this comic I really wish I didn’t have to address – but if I’m going to be thorough, I do – is the art. I usually really like Valentine de Landro’s work. He did a lot of good issues of X-Factor. But it’s just not looking great here. Particularly his take on Superior Spider-Man is just very poor, with oddly angular lenses that pop out WAY too far on a strangely shaped head. Most of the rest is just kind of muddy and mediocre at best. Certainly the worst showing I’ve ever seen from de Landro, making me wonder if he was severely rushed on this issue for some reason.
GRADE: F Truly awful writing mixed with really poor art just isn’t even moving the needle here.