“Thought I’d be coming in slower–“
Hey, remember that incredible Civil War trailer that had Spider-Man at the end?… This is nothing like that.
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #9
“Scorpio Rising, Part 1: One-Way Trip”
Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Gieussepe Camuncoli
Inks: Cam Smith
Colors: Marte Garcia
Editors: Nick Lowe and Devin Lewis
Plot: Fury arrives at the Baxter Building in New York (Really?! Just pick a location and stick, Slott!) demanding to see Peter, (I’m not sure if he knows Peter is Spider-Man, so I’m just gonna guess he’s unaware) when Spider-Man shows up instead to take him to a secret elevator (To the Spider-Cave, I guess. Add that to the Batman checklist), and they take off in a rocket. (because I’m sure that those extra trails of fire will just pour onto the streets and kill about a dozen civilians. No harm done.) Their plan is manually retake one of SHIELD’s satellites in space, though Scorpio apparently catches on (I don’t know much about Zodiac, I’ll be honest, so I don’t really know how the Zodiac system works), and while Peter and Fury are busy, he send the satellites to overtake them.
While Fury wards them off, Peter finds out that Scorpio and the artifact he stole are in Paris, and blows up their ride to stop a massive satellite. While Fury spacewalks over to the International Space Station (Kurland Here!), Spider-Man decided to go down to Earth by freefall. (From satellite height. Beautiful mind you’ve got there, Pete) Because Peter can’t think things through, he runs out of web-chutes, (Self-awareness won’t win you any points here, Slott) and the Gemini reveal a new constellation, the sign of the Spider. Peter crash-lands in Paris, only to have Scorpio to blast him with the Zodiac Key, threatening to kill him (Yeah, the main character dies. I’m sure that’s how comics work)
Oh, and there’s some kind of B-plot where Anna has a new boyfriend who cooks, and Doc Ock Living Brain won’t have any of that (anybody wanna start a betting pool on how many pages it takes for him to die?)
Thoughts: …Okay, this wasn’t that bad.
I’ll admit that there isn’t much to it, but it certainly has that “What the hell were you thinking, Slott” feeling when you see the Arachno-Rocket (yes, that’s it’s name) as it’s leaving orbit. At this point, Amazing Spider-Man has become so detached from the character itself that it might as well be something else. Therefore, I’m calling Spider-Man “Superhero Schmoe” for at least the duration of this review.
The pros of this are actually not as scarce as you’d think. Once again, Camuncoli does a fantastic job with his pencils, a far better job than Buffgani’s sandpaper face. Thankfully, with Fury and Spider-Man in space-suits for most of the issue, we’re spared the sight of Old-Man Crotch. Though I don’t know much about Zodiac compared to other members of Crawlspace, the idea does raise some potential, and I do think that Zodiac reigning terror and Peter trying his damndest to try and stop it would be engaging.
A potential storyline comes to mind. Zodiac comes up, stronger than ever, and Superhero Schmoe has to stop them. In the process, he has to sacrifice his Japanese facility and all of his gadgets, and Lia(e)n detonates the building, making Superhero Schmoe realise that he’s taken on too much responsibility. At the end of the arc, Superhero Schmoe holds a press conference, saying he’s leaving Anna in charge of Parker Industries, and returns to the red-and-blue classics, with some kind of closing line like “My responsibility comes from my power. Guess I had too much. Time to set things right back home” or something like that, and heads home to New York. I’m probably pulling too hard, but it’s not too hard to see that happening given our current situation.
The minor subplot with Anna and her new boyfriend (Aiden, I think) doesn’t come off as forgettable, just harmless. I know it’ll have repercussions later, and probably tie into Dead No More leading to Ock’s resurrection, but for now, it’s something that reminds me there’s a good Superhero Schmoe character here. It’s kind of like those cookie platters but you can’t eat them because they have nuts and you’re allergic, but there’s that one platter you can eat. It’s decent enough to make your purchase worth it.
I’ll also add that the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack reference was pretty clever.
The cons are, surprisingly, rather minor in comparison to previous issues. Rather, the main problem is suspension of disbelief. I’m all for imagining the impossible. Star Trek revolves around suspension of disbelief. But in a superhero comic that has tried to stay relatively true to the laws of physics, this one comparatively pushes way past its boundaries. I’m pretty sure the exhaust from the rocket piling up around the rocket rather than expelling somewhere else is rather unsafe. That’s why they have those gaps underneath the rocket launch when they take off. And the biggest sin is Superhero Schmoe plummeting to Earth from satellite height, which is ludicrous to comprehend and much larger in scale than any stupid stunt Superhero Schmoe has pulled off. Like, even with the web-chutes, he should’ve burned up on reentry. It’s not even funny. Slott seems to think that his audience doesn’t understand how physics works, but I just finished a physics course. I know how this works, and he should be, as the Green Goblin called him in “Final Curtain”, a red and blue stain on the pavement.
I think my worst personal problem here was that Slott seems to have everybody questioning Superhero Schmoe’s methods, to poke fun at critics who are pointing fingers at the balls-to-the-wall types of stories we’re getting. That said, when you strike back at critics by mockingly imitating them, it doesn’t make you look witty or cool, it makes you look tackier by trying to deflect criticism. There’s also the point where Superhero Schmoe compares himself to Iron Man. I personally extend my apologies to Mohammed for having Superhero Schmoe try to compare himself to the current run of Iron Man.
For the first part of Scorpio Rising, it could’ve been worse. But Superhero Schmoe’s ludicrous plot detaches itself so far from the title that I can no longer rate it as a Spider-Man comic, but just a generic superhero comic. And in a way, I suppose that it works on that level. But for as high of a grade as I’m about to give it… I’m wondering if I could trade places with Shaun for the week and review Silk, so I can appreciate reviewing a good Spider-title for once and he can feel my pain and suffering.