So, after six months, we’re back to having The Amazing Spider-Man come out twice-a-month again, which I guess also means we get two stories to get off the occasion. One in which Spidey meets the new Ms. Marvel while fighting another “Ms. Marvel.” And another where we’re introduced to a Spidey who is travels through time and space…who’s also British. Only he doesn’t have a blue 1960’s police box.
“Ms. Marvel Team-Up”
PLOT: Dan Slott
SCRIPT: Christos Gage
PENCILS: Giuseppe Camuncoli
INKS: Cam Smith
COLORS: Edgar Delgado
LETTERS: Chris Eliopoulos
“Edge of Spider-Verse: Web of Fear”
WRITER: Dan Slott
PENCILS: Giuseppe Camuncoli
INKS: Cam Smith
COLORS: Edgar Delgado
LETTERS: Chris Eliopoulos
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Ellie Pyle
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
STORY #1: At Peter and Anna Maria’s apartment, Cindy Moon is attempting to search for her parents online, when she asks Peter for help. Soon, Peter and Cindy are giving into their passion and Anna Maria has to douse them with bottled water several times within the hour, pointing out that if they’re going to “act like dogs in heat, she’s going to treat them as such.” Cindy realizes that Anna Maria is right, and thus, after turning into Silk, decides to leave, telling Peter not to worry as she’ll find a place to live with one of her fellow interns at the Fact Channel. Afterwards, Anna Maria shows Peter one of Doc Ock’s spiderbots hooked up to a police band, explaining to him that because he’s now the CEO of his own company, he has a duty to his employees and thus cannot respond to every single emergency as Spider-Man. She adds that Peter should do what Doc Ock did when he was Spidey by letting the authorities handle the “small stuff.” Peter points out that the Green Goblin almost taking over the city happened in spite of Doc Ock’s methods, but admits that he does see the need to prioritize. At that moment, the spiderbot alerts them to a kidnapping in progress, and thus Peter takes off as Spider-Man.
The kidnappers are Dr. Minerva, dressed in Carol Danver’s original Ms. Marvel costume, along with a group of masked henchmen. Having learned of the crime earlier via a live tweet from the “Princess Sparklefist” message boards (a social network of Carol Danvers fans), the new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, arrives just as Minerva and her crew are escaping and see that the person they abducted is in a Terrigen cocoon—which is what happens to Inhumans, like Kamala, before they manifest their powers. Spidey arrives just as Minerva punches Kamala, and Kamala is estatic to be in a “Spider-Man Team-Up.” Minvera orders her henchmen to head to rendezvous point while she distracts the superheroes, while one of the henchmen cryptically says that he and Spidey have a “history.” Before Spidey and Kamala engage Minvera, the Kree scientist explains that her race has reached a “developmental dead end,” and she’s plans to graft the genes from Inhumans in their larval stage to create “Kree Super Soldiers.” Furthermore, she’s already done this to herself, and thus transforms before Spidey and Kamala into giant winged monster.
STORY #2: In the Otherworld, the newest recruit to the Captain Britain Corps, Billy Braddock, aka Spider-UK, is watching a series of “inter-dimensional disturbances,” his spider-senses having told him something was wrong in the Omniverse. One one Earth, he first sees Morlun finishing off killing Spider-Man, Iceman, and Firestar. On another, Morlun’s twin siblings, Brix and Bora, kill a “Spider-Cat.” And finally, he sees Morlun elder brother, Daemos, killing Spider-Man Unlimited and various Beastials. Joining him is another sibling named Jennix, who reminds Daemos that their father told them to only go after Spider-totems. A device Jennix carries alters him to the presence of another Spider and, using some sort of sextant, is able to see Spider-UK watching them. Spider-UK quickly shuts off the transmission and heads to the Starlight Citadel to warn his fellow Corpsmen. However, the Corp is dealing with the crisis of the Incursions and collapse of the multiverse, as seen in Avengers and New Avengers. Thus, when Spider-UK tells them about the Inheritors, Majestrix Saturnyne dismisses his concern as trivial compared to the possible end of the multiverse. However, Lady Roma is more sympathetic, suggesting that the Inheritors hunting Spiders and the Incursions may be linked. She gives Spider-UK a spider-shaped talisman which will allow him to travel between dimensions, and gives him the task of protecting the other Spiders and stopping the Inheritors.
THOUGHTS: For a comic which has the title of The Amazing Spider-Man, the seventh issue of the relaunched series didn’t feel like an issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. Rather, it was essentially two very condensed and very desperate comics which happened to be Spider-Man related crammed into one, the first being, as the title indicates, a Marvel Team-Up, with the second being a promotional event tie-in which could have just as easily been a one-shot like the other Edge of Spider-Verse tie-ins. And the result is that both stories were lacking, yet one does succeed more so than the other.
Just like in classic issues of Marvel Team-Up, the adventure itself isn’t connected to what’s taking place at present in Amazing Spider-Man, since the goal of the team-up is to use Marvel’s flagship character to promote something else, in this case, the new Ms. Marvel comic. The exception, of course, is Peter’s relationships with his supporting cast, of which there appears to be some minimal development. Silk deciding to find her own place due to her constantly losing control of her libido when she’s around Peter not only comes across as trying to set-up her own, no pun intended, spin-off title, but it also feels like an admission that the gag of her and Peter always wanting to have sex at the most inopportune times has already worn out its welcome after a mere four issues. Not that this will be the last of Silk, or their whole hormonal-induced romance, by any means.
This then brings up the other continuing subplot of Peter being in charge of his own company, and how his responsibilities as Spider-Man are hampering his duties as CEO, and in protecting the welfare of his employees and the interests of his stockholders. It’s evident that Dan Slott and Christos Gage are siding with Anna Maria, that Peter needs to adopt Otto Octavious’ methods, and that not doing so makes him just as much of an egotistical jerk as Peter accuses him of. Except that with Peter pointing out the drawback to Otto’s compartmentalizing potential threats is what led to “Goblin Nation,” we already know that Peter will fail. After all, this is someone who became a costumed crime-fighter because he ignored something that seemed beneath his attention which ended up costing the life of his uncle. This is someone who, as Slott has repeatedly drilled into the readers’ heads, vowed that “no one will die on my watch,” and thus feels compelled to respond to every crisis because he doesn’t want to suffer any further loss or guilt, much less see someone else get hurt because he failed to act. As a result, Peter and Anna Maria’s talk about how he needs to prioritize his Spider-Man activities is just one more nail in the eventual coffin that is Parker Industries, and how someone like Peter is incapable of being in charge of their own business.
And speaking of Anna Maria, even though this issue seems to place her in the right, this is actually the least sympathetic she’s been up to this point. The way she interfered with Peter and Cindy attempts at getting it on came off petty and childish, and her telling Peter that he should learn from Doc Ock’s example reads like a condescending lecture. However, given how she almost refers to Otto as “my Peter,” her behavior may be a sign that, contrary to what she claims, she hasn’t gotten over Doc Ock’s supposed death, or that Peter isn’t at all like the person she thought he was and fell in love with. Along with her secretly working on Doc Ock’s nanotech project without Peter’s knowledge, Anna Maria appears to be developing from a confidant into well-meaning but misguided antagonist.
The only other important element to take away from the main story is whoever Dr. Minvera’s goon is who had prior dealings with Spider-Man in the past. The most obvious person it could be, given the past five months Slott spent on “Learning to Crawl” is Clayton Cole, aka Clash. If this turns out to be the case, it also wouldn’t surprise me that we’ll eventually learn that Clayton for “the past decade” has secretly been a minion to various super-villains to gain experience, and then use that collected knowledge to get revenge on Spider-Man. I also suspect that if this is Clash that he’ll offer his services to the Black Cat by the end of this story.
Yet it’s the back-up story which has the most pertinent developments, of course, given that it further sets the stage for the upcoming Spider-Verse. Not to mention Slott officially killing off Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends will likely anger some Spidey fans as it is no doubt designed to do; I imagine, however, there will be few tears shed over the death of Spider-Man Unlimited—that is unless that cartoon series is indeed the official sequel to Spider-Man: The Animated Series from the 1990s. Having a Spider-Man who is also a Captain Britain is a nifty little concept, one that makes sense given how Spider-Verse is a story involving characters from various Earths and time-lines. It also establishes two different camps of Spider-Men, one being Spider-UK’s and the other the Superior Spider-Man’s, and thus further underscores the inevitable ideological divide between the two groups of Spiders in dealing with the Inheritors. Finally, there is a contest between the Inheritors over whom can kill the most Spiders, and that there’s a possible connection between this and the events in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers comics provide additional motives for Morlun and his family beyond just hunting and killing totems merely for food.
The downside, however, is that it’s a story which relies far too heavily on Marvel continuity Spider-Man fans may not be all that familiar with; furthermore, the way the various Spider-Men get killed seem to reinforce the notion that Spider-Verse is just an excuse for Slott and Marvel to get rid of the “least relevant” incarnations of Spider-Man in the most shocking way possible. That and seeing one scene after another of Morlun and his ilk killing off various Spider-People in this issue was becoming needless, repetitive, and cheap. At least during Spider-Verse, we’re more likely to see actual battles between the Spideys and the Inheritors like what happened in Superior Spider-Man #32 and #33, but continuing to have the less prominent and obscure incarnations of Spider-Man being treated like cannon fodder is going to get really old, really quickly.
As usual, Guiseppe Camuncoli pencils look decent, although not up to typical par as they have otherwise been in previous issues, particularly in the main story. It’s one thing for Kamala to have elongated, over-sized, and disproportionate limbs since she’s supposed to be a shape-shifter, but there are moments where those abilities appear to have rubbed off on Spidey as well, particularly with his legs. There are also some panels which, in spite of being inked and colored, still look unfinished and lifeless. The exception, however, is whenever there are scenes of Kamala displaying her powers, proving for some very exciting and dynamic looking perspective angles. Another scene which is very effective in conveying the sense of both horror and sadness is the aftermath of Morlun killing the Amazing Friends, with Ms. Lion whimpering over their loss making it a genuine punch-to-the-gut for those with fond memories of the cartoon. But overall, Camuncoli’s work in this issue is serviceable, but nothing too outstanding, a description which could apply to Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #7 as a whole.
If the goal of the issue was to increase interest in the upcoming Spider-Verse, then Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #7 does succeed on a basic, rudimentary level. As for getting an entertaining Spider-Man comic on the other hand, then that depends on how well one appreciates light filler material prior to the big event. Still, nothing wrong with having a little calm before the storm.
- Again, when Cindy “puts on” her Silk “costume,” does her webbing somehow dissolve the clothes she was also wearing? Then again, given how she’s supposed to be getting a new, more traditional-looking costume very soon, this strange phenomena may no longer matter. What is mysterious, however, is how her hair seemed to suddenly grow several more inches after changing into Silk.
- “Committing a crime in the original Ms. Marvel costume? That’s like burning the American Flag!” Look, I know that bystander is supposed to be a fan of Carol Danvers, and that Carol in the Marvel Universe is one the more well-renowned superheroes but…seriously?! Equating a criminal wearing the costume of a superhero to flag-burning? And if the concern is that the press will mistake Dr. Minvera for the real Ms. Marvel, well that’s not likely to happen considering how she clearly has blue skin as observed by the fan herself, and Carol is now better known in the MU as Captain Marvel. And I thought we comic book fans were hyperbolic and irrational.
- You know, Pete? Considering everything Doc Ock has pulled over the course of his long career—including switching minds with you and leaving you for dead in his own decrepit body—calling him a jerk is the understatement of all understatements. You seem to have conveniently forgotten that the guy who took your place as Spider-Man was a super-villain, not to mention one of your most notorious archenemies. Even though, yes, he was indeed a jerk.
- So Anna Maria says that Peter should let the authorities handle the small crimes and thus only tackle the major crimes. Seems to me that hearing about a super-villain kidnapping someone falls into the category of something the authorities may not be equipped to handle. So why would that constitute as a “backfiring” of Anna Maria’s advice if Peter’s only doing what she suggested he’d do? Did she just presume that every report over the police scanner was going to be either a false alarm or some minor incident?
- “Yes, there was a date. Let’s leave it there, okay? That’s what she did…” And, if the Spider-Man/Carol Danvers shippers didn’t get the message yet, this is Marvel explicitly telling you that only Brian Reed was a fan of that pairing, and even then it went absolutely nowhere.
- Oh, I get it. Because Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was a cartoon for kids and thus they couldn’t show acts of excessive violence on screen, that’s why Earth-1983 was supposedly “kinder and gentler than most” and thus they didn’t have the “vocabulary” to describe Morlun slaughtering the Spider-Friends. Not like today’s more “mature” and “gritter” superhero comics and cartoons which are so much “serious” than that “silly kids stuff” back in the 1980s, right? Then again, even in this universe, the burglar killed Uncle Ben as according to the episode “Along Came a Spider,” and it was also an episode where Aunt May nearly died as well. And then there’s Firestar, who looked rather shapely in her costume for a kids show, so it’s not as if things were that innocent.
- “Honestly, you devoured this world’s spider-totem ages ago.” Um, not really, because Spider-Man Unlimited looks as if he were just recently killed along with the rest of the Beastials. Unless for Jennix, ages is synonymous with minutes.
- So if the other Captain Britains can fly, then why does Spider-UK have to web-swing? Or perhaps he can and just chooses not to? But then how can he effectively swing from place to place anyway given how the Starlight Citadel appears to be a series of floating towers which can only be reached by flying to them? I guess webbing attaching to phantom anchor points is universal in every reality.