“Learning to Crawl: Part Three”
WRITER: Dan Slott
ARTIST: Ramón Pérez
COLORS: Ian Herring
LETTERS: VC’s Joe Caramagna
COVER: Alex Ross
VARIANT COVERS: John Cassaday and Paul Mounts
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Ellie Pyle
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
PLOT: The story begins with Clash attempting to edit together the fight footage he captured while battle Spider-Man last issue. Unfortunately he doesn’t have any good footage, and curses Spider-Man. From here we cut back to Forrest Hills where Aunt May has discovered the truth about Peter’s ongoing whereabouts, he is…a DRUG DEALER! Peter of course claims he isn’t stating he is merely getting things ready for the science fair and a neighbor had brought along the money anonymously. Meanwhile at the science fair Clayton Cole (Clash) is moping around using his sound powers to make crazy music. That is until Polly Mckenna (AV Club member from last issue) starts up a conversation with him. They hit it off pretty well, and Clayton is hoping to wow her at the science fair on Saturday.
The week before the fair we show Peter intertwining with the events of Amazing Spider-Man 2 his first fight with the Vulture, and his first check from Jonah. The check is a substantial amount, and puts him in a great mood for the upcoming science fair, which he decides to show off his anti-magnetic converter. While at the science fair Peter is shown up by other contestants merely due to the fact that he didn’t dress up in costume in order to sell his device to the judges. Once Aunt May comes up to Peter, and tries to hook him up with Polly we see Clayton decide to take desperate measures to impress her. Clayton dresses up in full Clash gear with the intention to show off. Peter quickly changes into Spider-Man, and the two have a quick fight ending when Spidey uses his anti-magnetic converter to erase Clash’s hard drive. When Aunt May and Peter return home after the fight Aunt May declares Spider-Man a menace, and Peter decides to never become Spider-Man again.
STORY: This issue is where the story line begins to become more boring. The basis of the story is still good, and the quality is consistent but it really relies heavily on Spider-Man tropes. For example the Aunt May hating Spider-Man subplot is such an overused storytelling method that it gets old really quickly. The same goes to the ending of this issue where essentially we are led into another “Spider-Man no more” story. Now I get it that these were common plots back in the 60s comics, but this comic should accompany those issues not repeat them. This storyline also focuses a lot on new High school characters that we’ve never met before, and I don’t think will ever show up again. I would have preferred if Slott had maybe dug into those old issues, or Untold Tales and brought some of those characters back. As is a character like Polly Mckenna solely exists to be a hard question on Spider-Jeopardy in two years.
Now this issue isn’t all bad, in fact for the most part its really enjoyable. The science fair angle is fun, and Clash continues to have a unique, fun power set. Clash’s characterization is a little troublesome at times, but if you think back to when you were a teenager I’m sure his plights aren’t wholly unrealistic. The fight with Clash is definitely the highlight of this issue as it fills the page with inventive artwork that really makes me wish Perez was on the main title. Overall this is a bit of a misstep from the prior two issues, but it still has enough quality in it to make it worth a read.
ART: Another strong display by Ramon Perez who continues to deliver outstanding artwork. The real standout of this issue however has to be the beautiful colors by Ian Herring. During Spidey’s duel with Clash the colors stand-out in a truly spectacular way, making Clash a unique and colorful villain in Spidey’s rogue’s gallery.
ODDITIES: Why all the superhero science fairs? The bigger question is what are all of the go to inventions related to the superhero crowd? Clash making his introduction into the fair is straight-up Stan Lee which while enjoyable doesn’t really seem to fit with clashes character.
BEST BACKGROUND CHARACTER: The man who is wearing the Mr. Fantastic costume at the science fair. How does he get through doorways, and what Fantastic Four science fair knock-off was he peddling? We may never know.