“This is Spider-Man we’re talking about. Not Thor!”
Here is how Marvel sets up this issue:
“Scorpio Rising” starts now! The Amazing Spider-Man’s latest adventure takes him all across Europe in the final showdown with The Zodiac! Scorpio puts his master plan into motion and if he succeeds there’s no way Spider-Man or ANYONE can stop him.
However, for me this issue just presents several questions:
Is it possible to like something you hate? Can Spider-Man work in space? After all, James Bond tried this and failed miserably. How much does a satellite cost? Will Anna Maria ever find love? Will the cover match the story? And what major character will be coming back soon?
All these questions and more will be answered, folks, as we dive into a review of Amazing Spider-Man #9.
The Devil in the Details
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: Cam Smith
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Editor: Nick Lowe
The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test
O.K., the plot is pretty simple. Nick Fury Jr. comes to the Baxter Building. Spider-Man has a grand plan that involves them going into space. Junior’s got nothing better to do, so 3-2-1 BLAST OFF! and off the they go. The problem is that Zodiac still has control over all of SHIELD’s satellites and the only way to regain control is the manually fix them. Scorpio is surprised by this move (despite having Gemini who can see a day in the future) and frantically sends some satellites to blow them out of the sky. Junior holds them off while Spider-Man not only fixes the satellites, but also uses them to figure out where Scorpio is keeping the artifact he used the satellites to find (the Orrery). Spider-Man uses his spaceship to blow up the last of the killer satellites and then free falls back to Paris (yes, you read that correctly) where Scorpio is waiting to kill him letting him know that he has seen the future and Spider-Man’s not in it.
Oh, and Anna’s got a new boyfriend and the Living Brain is having none of it.
Well, the usual. P.I. has so much ability even though they are less than a year old. Spider-Man is in space instead of swinging through the streets. And so on. In fact, Slott even addresses the fact that this is not like Spider-Man at all by including the panel to your right.
Plus, I like to have my heads of super villain organizations to be tough. Scorpio whines through the entire book. He says things like, “That’s not fair!”
Then there are the reality checks, which I hate to do since we are reading a comic, but sometimes I just need a little more to suspend disbelief. Can someone survive a free fall from space? Well, Cheryl Stearns, who is currently going for a jump from the stratosphere for a world record says that about 110,000 feet is about as far as a person can push it. Well, I’ll give Spider-Man more credit since he can do anything a spider can and all, and plus he does have a pretty nifty space suit, so let’s say he ca do, oh, ten times that and can fall safely from over 1 million feet. We still have a problem since he is at satellite height and that’s at, oh 117.5 million feet. (Yes, I am that much of a nerd and looked it up.) But, I am reading comics and if I am told I have to believe that Spidey can do “ballooning” while keeping up with a jet engine (just read ASM 1.2), I guess I can stomach this.
Oh, and I felt the new zodiac sign being the sign of the Spider was a bit cheesy. Scorpio really seems to be waiting a long time for this alignment to come about, but when it does, he is more focused on killing Spider-Man than whatever it is that this alignment will do. Priorities. How did he become the leader of this group?
The cover has absolutely nothing to do with this story. I get the feeling the Alex Ross probably hates this series and said, “I’ll just draw something cool,” instead of taking the time to read the story.
O.K., here is where I surprise you all. I found this story pretty fun to read. Sure, it has many of the problems that the previous issues have, but I found myself getting tired of constantly not liking the book for the same reasons. I figured if I either need to buy this as the Spider-Man I’m going to get or I need to stop buying the book. Well, I’m not about to give up the top dollar pay check Crawlspace gives to their reviewers, so I better accept Slott Spidey if I am going to get through this. Notice I said accept – that does not mean endorse, love, or even like.
To make matters a little better for me, Peter Parker is non-existent in this book. I love a good Peter Parker story, but I haven’t read one of those in quite a while. With this just being Spidey, I can overlook some things.
The humor was much better this issue. Spider-Man didn’t explain any of his references. The pop song reference was at least a tribute to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
I even got a kick out of him naming the spaceship the “Arachno-Rocket”. Felt like I was reading a 70s comic.
Cartridge #3 – acid webbing
Cartridge #6 – micro-coiled z-metal
Cartridge #7 – quick drying wet cement webbing
Cartridge #8 – expanding web foam
Emergency Beacon (sirens)
Back Spinnerets with emergency web foam
And we get an acknowledgment of what must go if he is going to pack all that into his suit.
Plus the art is much better. I’m glad to have Camuncoli and Smith back. The coloring is good too. The colorist was put in a position where most of the colors had to be blue and black, yet made it work.
The cover is absolutely awesome. I would hang that as a poster in my classroom.
I’m giving Slott extra credit for this joke:
And I’ll give you extra credit if you can figure out if Fury got a deal on his satellites or not. He complains that they cost $26 million a pop. How much do satellites actually cost?
As an extra bonus, Nick Lowe gave us a glimpse of the future at the end of the comic in a column he called Nick’s Notifications. Our very own (well, I guess now it is Iron Man’s very own) MARY JANE will be returning soon. In what manner, I don’t know. I assume it is only to have her come in an insult Peter, but maybe I’ll be surprised!
I don’t like this Spider-Man, but I did enjoy this comic despite its shortcomings. I asked the question early, “Can you like something you hate?” Well today I’m saying yes.
Shocked me too. I know that the more I analyze this, the more likely it would be that I will drop this grade. Go ahead. Fill the comments section by telling me how wrong I am. I can take it. I teach high school seniors, after all.