After a stellar first issue that left Agent Venom and his supernatural allies in a bit of a bind, the creative team hit a couple of bumps in their sophomore issue. Is this comic still a howl of a good time or does it suck?
Spider Island #2: You Say You Want Evolution
Writer: Christos Gage
Artist: Paco Diaz
Colorist: Frank D’Aramata
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editors: Devin Lewis & Nick Lowe
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
Mayday Parker: Spider-Woman in: Avengers At The Gate
Storytellers: Ron Franz & Tom DeFalco
Finished Art: Sal Buscema
Colors: Andrew Crossley
Letters: Travis Lanham
Editor: Nick Lowe
I’m Leaving No-One Behind: The issue opens with Agent Venom and his team (Spider-Woman & Vision) fighting the Queen’s army as several notable heroes undergo supernatural changes. Once those heroes regain control, they take out the threat and Agent Venom uses the Green Goblin formula on Tony Stark before retreating.
Agent Venom leads them to a hidden Oscorp base, which allows them to recuperate and Flash catches the heroes up on events since The Queen’s rise to power. Flash offers to step down and let Cap lead, but the heroes are still fighting with their new conditions so they trust Flash to lead. Tony creates a new suit, the Iron Goblin, and they set out to free Stegron from The Queen’s control. Flash believes Stegron can cure the Spider-Virus, due to his background in genetics.
The mission goes well and the issue ends with Agent Venom discovering Spider-Man is still alive.
Spider-Man is Alive… And He’s Peter Parker: Unsurprisingly, this second issue doesn’t reach the heights of the first. Maybe it’s because the novelty of having Agent Venom back is gone, maybe it’s because there’s a larger cast to focus on, or maybe it’s because that’s just how Christos Gage is as a writer; I find he starts and finishes big, but the middle drags. This is still a strong issue though and Gage continues to write Agent Venom as the best version we’ve seen yet, as his plans continue to go off without a hitch. Nor do Flash’s plans ever seem ridiculous, even when they risk everything to save Stegron, of all people.
The larger supporting cast is actually a boon, especially a Green Goblin infused Tony Stark. Unfortunately, his Captain America rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it’s the generic dialogue or the fact that Cap is the only one not shown struggling with his new condition yet uses it as justification to defer to Flash’s leadership.
I’ve long held a theory that Slott and Gage cowrite ASM often because both love to pay tribute to comics and storylines past and that’s on full display here, from dialogue to plot beats to characters. Sadly, the ending of this issue is the predictable, been done to death “he’s not really dead” cliffhanger and this issue is getting docked hard for it. We do not need Peter Parker in this storyline and it doesn’t make it any better if it’s a clone or Ben. A lot of what is driving Flash to greatness is the guilt of failing Spider-Man and this reveal could undermine the whole story. Flash being more bothered by the fact Spider-Man is Peter Parker, rather than Spidey being alive, gave me a good chuckle though.
The art is still quite kinetic, still has the same grim overtones to all the characters. There’s something about the way Agent Venom’s face mask seems to be stretched over like a mouth piece that doesn’t sit right with me, but there’s a lot of fun alternate takes on several superheroes here. The Giant-Spider and Iron-String are some favorites.
Verdict: Gage and Diaz take time to give the supporting cast of heroes stuff to do in this quick read. A weak reveal and some generic dialogue make this a largely unremarkable issue that just goes through the paces of moving the plot along. Hopefully they do something to spice things up again, but color me cautious.
- Agent Venom still on his A game
- Supporting cast given some attention
- Cool character designs
- Generic Dialogue
- Bland Ending Reveal
- Material is just okay
Running a Gauntlet of Avengers is many things, easy isn’t one of them: The issue opens with Dream Team and Cassie Lang attacking Spider-Woman. She narrowly manages to escape, but is unable to make it to Cassie’s Father and the Avengers before encountering Enthralla. Enthralla is revealed to be the reason why people are acting strange (she can control minds) and she digs deep into Mayday’s mind. The Avengers arrive to help Mayday, but Mayday sees them as Daemos and his family.
It’s Spider-Woman now: In four pages, this story advances quickly and actually spends a fair bit of time juggling a large cast without losing it’s focus on the main character or becoming too confusing. For that alone, I’m ranking this higher than the main story, but that’s a lot of classic Spider-Action in here that makes it even better.