After a prolonged absence I am finally getting back to my regularly scheduled reviews…but first to catch up on what I’ve missed. I’m not the only thing to return however, with me comes the biggest baddest most totally legit Gang faction ever to grace comics….THE CIRCUS OF CRIME…wait The Circus Of Crime is a competent crime syndicate now?
WRITER: Gerry Conway
PENCILER: Carlo Barberi
INKER: Juan Vlasco
COLORS: Israel Silva
LETTERER: VC’s Joe Caramagna
COVER ARTIST: Yasmine Putri
VARIANT COVER ARTIST: Justin Ponsor
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Devin Lewis
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
PLOT: Our issue begins with a brief overview of the troubled lives our protagonists have lived. Spider-Man showcases some of his most dramatic life changing moments, and The Wraith follows suit. We discover Yuri Watanabe comes from a long line of Police Officers who unfortunately have a tendency to fall into corruption. After the back story we pick back up to the ending of last issue. With Yuri holding a smoking UZI, and claiming that she didn’t shoot Tombstone one of Mr. Negatives goons did. Spider-Man and the Wraith escape the prison, and we cut to a short exchange between The Ringmaster, and Mr. Negative. Mr. Negative states that they are the last two high ranking crime bosses left in the city, and that they should join together. Ringmaster declines, and leaves with his circus of crime. The Wraith then shows up to confront Mr. Negative on his manipulation of her. Mr. Negative reveals he knows that The Wraith, and Yuri are one in the same. He also states he had nothing to do with Yuri’s flip towards the dark side declaring that her family has a history of corruption. Yuri flips, but is held back by Mr. Negatives goons. Whilst she is being held back Mr. Negative grants her another piece of Intel, stating she was required to do another mission for him. The next morning we see an exhausted Spider-Man (he had been searching for Watanabe all night) heading towards her office. From here we overhear Watanabe’s superior letting her know that her career with the police is in finished due to her rash actions imprisoning the judge. Afterwards Spidey drops his head in asking if they can talk. The two vigilante’s have a heart to heart, in which Spidey insists that Watanabe recognize and take responsibility for the mistakes she’s made. After the discussion the two head out to enact upon the Intel supplied to them by Mr. Negative. They run into the circus of crime attempting to steal some important technological device. Spider-Man quickly takes out the circus of crime, and even manages to take out their leader with little effort. Watanabe chases down one of Mr. Negatives ninjas who is attempting to steal a very expensive hightech watch. The issue ends with what looks like the corpse of the Ninja Wraith was battling.
STORY: First things first since when is The Circus Of Crime considered a viable crime organization. I feel as if they would never get any respect, and would most likely not be able to get a large enough following to have any effect on crime in the city overall. When Watanabe, and Spidey face off against them this issue it appears their entire gang is a total of six guys. Last time I checked in order to have an effect on crime you need more than six people. When Mr. Negative meets with Ringmaster for the first time in this issue it really amused me that Mr. Negative thought “Ringmaster” should be the only name he goes by. RINGMASTER IS YOUR POSITION NOT A SUPER VILLAIN NAME. It also probably wouldn’t be wise to completely remove your non-evil name there Mr. Negative…we all know no cop is going to miss a clue as obvious as “Mr. Negative” on all of your bank accounts.
Asides from a few little nitpicks I actually thoroughly enjoyed this issue. The backstory for Watanabe was interesting, and actually helped to understand the characters motivations a little more. Likewise I really enjoyed when the Wraith confronted Mr. Negative and he had complete knowledge of who she was. It’d make sense for at least someone in the Marvel Universe to pay attention to the obvious. In prior reviews I emphasized that I thought for sure that Mr. Negative had corrupted Watanabe in some way. It turns out (if you believe him) that he actually had no hand in corrupting her and driving her off the edge. In truth I actually like this more, too often stories will come up with contrived ways to make their characters have conflict (Age Of Ultron *cough* *cough*) instead of utilizing actual character development. This means that all of the big leaps, and anger showcased by Watanabe actually meant something to the core of the characters development. Her actions matter, and can’t easily be swept under the rug. No mind control, no mood altering drugs, just the characters decisions and the consequences they cause. Spider-Man was yet again written competently in this story which never gets old. He single handedly takes out nearly the entire Circus Of Crime without ever violating his own moral codes. He uses he brains, and not his fists to solve the final conflict of the issue. Which is always the better choice from a story perspective.
ART: Strong art present throughout this series, and ensures that each element of the story is represented in a consistent style/tone. Progression is key, and the artwork will help make this a compelling read once the trade is released.
Overall this is probably my favourite issue of the series thus far. It builds on the story from the prior issues, and shows consequences for the actions taken by characters. Add on an exciting action sequence, with some entertaining quips and you have a great issue of Spider-Man.