Miles and his loved ones-captured by Hydra! Someone else reveals they know Spidey’s identity! Black Widow vs. the Fly Twins! And…Doom! (but only for two panels)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Color: Justin Ponsor
Lettering: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Art: David Marquez with Justin Ponsor
Production: Irene Y. Lee
Assistant Editors: Emily Shaw and Chris Robinson
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Story: Black Widow attempts to stop the Fly Twins during their latest robbery and is bested. Judge, former roommate of Miles, reveals to Ganke that he knows Miles is the Web-Head. Jefferson and Ganke get kidnapped by Hydra. Katie tries to talk to a captive Miles, who tries to make a break for it, but gets thwarted by Doctor Doom on the final panel.
Thoughts: I can’t help but feel disappointed with this issue. We open on the Fly Twins who are off on ANOTHER robbery, this time at a S.H.I.E.L.D. warehouse that is strongly reminiscent of the one from the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark. They quickly make short work of the two meager guards and remark how easy it is, only to have Jessica Drew, Ultimate Black Widow, drop down from the rafters to stop them. It’s a frenetic fight filled with speed lines until finally she gets knocked out, unmasked and captured. Yes, Jessica Drew, clone of Peter Parker, trained by the Ultimates and Captain America himself, and survivor of Jennix and Spider-Verse, gets beaten by two 60’s animated series characters who have so far only bullied security guards. Eleven issues in and the Twins haven’t been built into the kind of threat that could take Jessica down. Outside of armor, I couldn’t really tell you what their power set is and with one issue left, I’m wondering if we’ll ever get some back story to them and their motivations.
Jefferson arrives home to an empty apartment and tries to reach Miles via his cellphone. Problem is, it’s sitting beside Ganke back in their dorm. Ganke then tries to advise Miles via text that his dad is calling only to realize he’s next to the phone to begin with and Miles therefore can’t get the message! It confused me for just a second as to why he would do that until I got to the next panel when he realized his “D’oh!” moment. Judge, their old roommate, then knocks on the door to return a memory stick and in the midst of the conversation reveals he knows Miles is Spidey. Ganke tries to deny, but is hardly convincing. I was glad to see Bendis show off that Judge knew something was up the entire time, but are we ever going to get a payoff to this with one issue to go before we reach Secret Wars?
By page 10 we finally get to see what Miles has been doing as he comes to, finding himself tied to a chair sitting across from Katie in a room with a big Hydra logo on the door behind her. Turns out, my suspicions were correct and it was Katie’s sister who gave him up. As Katie tries to explain the situation, Miles strains against his bonds, reminding me of Amazing Spider-Man #40, when Peter found himself in a similar situation with Norman Osborn. As they have their scene, Bendis and Marquez interrupt it with panels showing Jefferson and Ganke getting abducted. It’s a nice bit of tension.
Miles dramatically breaks free, declaring he and Katie are broken up. Before he can get through the door, Mr. Bishop arrives, showing him that his loved ones are captured. Of course, Mr. Bishop lays all the guilt he can on Miles. Mr. Bishop is also of the opinion that they may be able to turn some of them to the cause, like they did Katie’s mom. It makes me wonder how indoctrinated Katie is. Is she a true believer, or can Miles make her see the light next issue?
Even with the threats to those closest to him, Miles makes a second bid to escape the speed lines, I mean, Hydra captivity. They shoot him in the back (O Spider-Sense, Spider-Sense, wherefore art thou, Spider-Sense?) and he crashes into a desk, which coincidentally knocks a spider out of its tank. Miles looks up to see Doom, backed up with Doombots and the Fly Twins, one of whom is holding an unconscious Black Widow in a very dramatic looking panel. With Doom on this issue’s cover, and having read his and Miles’ appearances in All-New X-Men, I was really expecting Bendis to do more than feature him in two measly panels, one of which only showed his hooves. The solicits for this issue proclaim that Doom has revealed his plan and “it is more than one web spinner can handle!” Uh, no he doesn’t. He has two lines and not one of them expose what he’s doing, how he’s tied to Hydra, or his connection to the Fly Twins.
A big problem I had with this issue is that it just felt rushed to me. I admit, part of me may have been pre-disposed to this thought the second I saw how many Spider-titles were coming out this week, several ahead of schedule. How do I know this? Well, for starters, the back copy of the last issue states that the release date for #11 is March 24th. Instead, it came out the 11th. Now it’s very possible that they were just running ahead of schedule, but as I got a few pages in, I noticed all the speed lines that were dominating the background. Now, Marquez has used this technique before, but out of the 124 different panels, 30 of them used speed lines, leaving the background elements largely blank. That’s a quarter of the book! Overall though, I felt a good majority of the panels just seemed bare. What Marquez has rendered is his usual quality, but it just did not seem to be as detailed as it could have.
I must admit that my expectations were on the high side a bit as well. I’ve thought the last few issues have been stellar and with two issues to go before the end of the current version of this series, I thought Bendis would really start to wrap things up. Even though we got more Fly Twins, something that has been stretched out lo’ these eleven issues, we are still nowhere closer to learning their motivations, their true identities, etc. Frustration is starting to set in now that the finish line is in sight. It’s a rich world that Bendis and Co. have created and at one issue a month now that Ultimates is gone, I feel there is so much potential going unexplored, especially considering Peter Parker has how many issues a month telling his story? Whilst events definitely continued to build towards the finale, I just didn’t feel satiated this time out for my $3.99.
One thing I did like was the teaser at the end. It reminded me of the cliffhanger narration the Batman ’66 tv show would do or how Geoff Johns would tease events for his next epic over at the Distinguished Competition.
I think your mileage may vary on how much enjoyment one gets out of this issue based on expectations or how you feel about Bendis’ style of storytelling. Often times it works for me, but I just felt something was lacking this time. His dialogue was fine, there were several different scenes, and he even built up some dramatic tension, but the itch just wasn’t scratched for me. Fingers crossed they pull out all the stops and we get some sense of conclusion as we get tossed into Secret Wars.
My Grade: B-
Javi’s Huh?: How did Jessica’s hair not fall down as she dangled from the rafters? Her silhouette suggested she was wearing a mask!