We return to the world of renew your vows this week to find the Parkers in their greatest pickle yet….see Spider-Man do something so shocking this issue you’ll forget he’s already done it millions of times before. Will Spider-Man live to fight another day, or fall under the iron boots of REGENT.
WRITER: Dan Slott
ARTIST: Adam Kubert
INKER: John Dell, Andrew Hennessey, and Mark Morales
COLORIST: Justin Ponsor
LETTERER: VC’s Joe Caramagna
COVER ARTISTS: Adam Kubert and Justin Ponsor
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Devin Lewis
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
PLOT: Our issue begins with Regent visiting the steroid shop, and getting all supped up inside a super secret laboratory. He monologues about the return of Spider-Man, and claims Spider-Man’s powers are more important than any of his prior conquests. We meet up with our unfriendly neighbourhood Spider-Man as he visits the Terrible Tinkerer and demands inhibitor chips for his family. Tinkerer presses a button whilst he converses with Spider-Man leading to Doctor Octopus charging through the store intent on capturing the web head. While Spidey battles Doc Ock we see Flint Marko AKA THE SANDMAN reporting to the underground S.H.I.E.L.D. about the movements of the Sinister Six. The mysterious man Marko is reporting to refuses to risk his men in order to save Spider-Man who he calls “The coward who abandoned the Avengers”. Spider-Man completely demolishes Doctor Octopus ripping off all of his mechanical limbs, and fleeing with the inhibitor chips. Once the rest of the Sinister Six arrive they do some investigative work, and Kraven determines that Spider-Man has a child which is why he decided to come out of hiding. Back in the Parker household we see Annie watching Ole J. Jonah Jameson ranting and raving about how evil Spider-Man is. Annie asks Mary Jane about Spidey and wants to know if her father was really a monster. Mary Jane briefly tells Annie about her past before Peter interrupts and the couple tuck Annie into bed. In the living room the two overhear a broadcast made by Regent commanding that everyone from Annie’s school come down to the old Avengers Mansion and receive mandatory scans. Peter works hard on ensuring the inhibitor chip works, and the family goes to Avengers Mansion to face the scans. Annie, and Peter make it out of the scans scottfree unfortunately another student is found to be exhibiting mutant powers and Peter decides to jump into the fray. While he is attempting to rescue the child and fight off the remaining Sinister Six Annie and Mary Jane are captured. The issue ends with Spidey attempting to fight off the Sinister Six, and save his family.
STORY: Overall this issue isn’t quite up to par with the last issue. There are a multitude of moments here that are meant to be “surprising” that fall flat. OH ITS SO DARK THAT SPIDER-MAN RIPPED OUT DOCTOR OCTOPUSES ARMS…oh wait no its not he’s done that at least five times prior to this issue. OH NO REGENT CAN TURN ON THE TELEVISION AND DO MANDATORY BROADCASTS…oh wait that’s not really an effective form of communication seeing how Peter and Mary Jane could have easily missed it if they’d just spent a few more minutes with Annie. There’s a few other nitpicky things about the issue. Like the fact that the inhibitor chips allow them to pass Kraven’s smell test? It would only make sense if the only thing Kraven could smell would be super powers…but even that explanation wouldn’t make sense. When the Tinkerer reveals that he had inhibitor chips Mysterio states he is going to write him up. Wouldn’t Mysterio already know about the chips? Wouldn’t that be the only reason they’d even bother doing a stakeout at the Terrible Tinkerer’s workshop. The Black Costume has also not gone into play at all. It seems to only have been introduced for symbolic reasons. The same ideas could have easily been expressed with the Red and Blue costume. Contrary to what they had us believe last issue he isn’t really doing much “stealth” work with the suit. Something that isn’t helped by the cover which shows Spidey striking out in the night (doesn’t happen at all in the issue). While we are speaking symbolism I don’t care much for Regent having the idea that Spider-Man’s powers are “The Most Important” it would be a much more interesting story if his presence was just an annoyance to Regeant and that he wasn’t really that special. It’s also curious as to what he’ll even do with Spider-Man’s powers. The ability to stick to walls is not proportional to the powers of Flight, or Hulk’s Leaps, and Spider-Sense is kind of useless when you’re all powerful.
All of the nitpicks are not enough to make this an outright terrible issue. Like prior issues there are a lot of cool little details in the world that help to flesh it out and make it interesting. Flint Marko being part of S.H.I.E.L.D., the introduction of different viewpoints there are people who agree with Regents rule, and there is a very touching sequence where Mary Jane explains Spider-Man’s past to Annie. (although the best parts of the sequence are achieved visually). The Sinister Six becoming the Sinister Cops is an awesome touch, and I especially enjoy the fact that they are doing investigation work it’s a nice flip. Normally Spider-Man is the one tracking them, not the other way around.
ART: While Kuberts art is still spectacular there are moments that don’t quite hold up as well as prior issues. For example when Spider-Man is laying the beatdown on Doc Ock and we see Octavius’s reflection in Spidey’s eyes. It looks really cool until you realize that all of Ock’s arms are missing (at this point Spider-Man had only tore off one of his arms not all eight of them). It’s not a big detractor to the overall style of the issue but when the art has been A+ this entire series it’s noticeable when you see a B+.
Overall the issue doesn’t lose it’s sense of fun, but in some ways it loses sense of what it wants to tell. Artwork is still for the most part spectacular, and the world is well developed just some of the idea’s present in the world could use a little work.