“My mind is gone. All my rage, all my fury, boils out onto him.”
Miguel versus Mrs. Monroe! Trust me, it’s not as lopsided a fight as you’d think!
WRITER: Peter David
ARTIST: Will Sliney
COLOR ARTIST: Rachelle Rosenberg
LETTERER: VC’s Cory Petit
COVER ARTIST: Francesco Mattina
EDITORS: Devin Lewis & Charles Beacham
STORY: Spidey-Peter helps set up Spidey-Miguel with a private hospital for Tempest to recover in, though she is still in a coma. Miguel goes after Man Mountain Marko for answers to the whereabouts of Mrs. Monroe, Tempest’s mother. After a brutal beat-down and interrogation, Marko gives up the address. Miguel gets more than he bargained for when he confronts Mrs. Monroe. Meanwhile, Kweeg, a.k.a. Venture, tracks down Glorianna with Aisa in tow. Aisa offers for the new Inhuman to join The Fist.
THOUGHTS: Mattina does some of the best covers on the rack in this series. The painted look always makes it stand out, with stark images that are usually reflecting some aspect of the content within. This issue is no exception as we see Miguel’s gloved hand holding Tempest’s. Typically, one would associate feelings of caring and sympathy with such an image, but with claws drawn, there’s a feeling of ominousness instead, reflecting the conflict that is about to erupt inside.
After the typical recap page with the working-on-overtime-to-explain-the-prior-8-issues Lyla, David opens the story with Miguel and Peter at Tempest’s bedside. I still hate Peter’s new costume, particularly the boots and how the web-lines are depicted, but Miguel’s is finally starting to grow on me. I still don’t like the eyes on the mask, but I’m starting to appreciate more and more the redesign to the chest emblem. New found appreciation aside, I will herald the return of the original if it ever comes back! Despite his visual, I do enjoy how David writes Peter and how he stands by Miguel, in contrast to how Peter seemed to be coming down on Miles over in Spider-Man. Peter also seems to give Miguel more leeway than he does Miles, possibly because of Miggy’s age, but he really needs to reel him in here.
Miguel is a single minded rage monster for a good portion of this issue and the differences between him and the other Spider-Men is very apparent as he tries to get information out of Marko. He has a myopic persistence as he breaks Marko’s fingers one by one. I could almost hear Christian Bale from The Dark Knight Rises asking, “Where is the trigger?” As the fight spills outside, Miggy lets some existentialism creep into his violence, pummeling Marko to within an inch of his life as he lectures about threatening innocents in their encounter last issue. Rosenberg lets colors, mostly black and red, bleed into the gutters between panels to great effect as the violence escalates. The blood splatters are so well done and let you see as much red as Miguel does.
This might be Sliney’s best issue yet. He uses sequential storytelling to its full advantage, having images pop out of panels for maximum impact. During the finger breaking scene, he masterfully intercuts between a two shot and a close up of Marko’s face to see the pain reflected and zooms in tighter with each shot. His use of a splash page is just as effective as I turned the page digitally to see Miguel’s surprise as Mrs. Monroe attacked him. Sliney also has Miguel emote underneath the mask, that combined with David’s words, really helps you feel Miguel’s emotional state. My favorite touch of the issue art wise was how Sliney portrayed Miguel as he dropped down from the top of the page, his webline dangling between the panels.
Peter David once again delivers a script that has a balance between humor and dramatic themes. Lyla is a prime example as she makes her unintentionally funny remarks. I love that she still has a presence in this series, even though her technology is from 83 years in the future. Miguel stammering and changing the subject when Mrs. Monroe asks how he knows of Tempest is a funny bit, too, especially when you consider what mood he was in and how the revelations he is discovering are throwing him off his game momentarily.
On the dramatic side of things, Miguel is dealing with his anger and rationalizing how he crossed the line with Marko. David juxtaposes this with his handling of Mrs. Monroe. In contrast, perhaps because he got his anger out with Marko, he is very cautious of injuring or killing the seemingly armorless and possibly vulnerable Mrs. Monroe. It’s here that the real twists kick in as we learn a little of the Monroe family backstory and how there’s more to them than meets the eye. Earlier appearances painted Tempest’s mom in a more villainous light, but this time out she is a far more sympathetic character, who is only trying to look out for her daughter, who’s undergone some horrible things.
Before we find out what Miguel is going to do next with the information he’s uncovered, the scene changes to a snowy mountaintop. As Kweeg tracks Glorianna for The Fist, David brings more loose ends together. This issue has built up a lot of momentum in this installment and it’s been the most enjoyable of Volume 3 for me. There’s plenty of story left to go, but I’m starting to see how all the pieces are fitting together and I’m eagerly awaiting the next chapter. Everybody brought their A game this issue and it really shows.
MY GRADE: A+
JAVI’S HUH?: Is Glorianna paraphrasing Arrow when she says, “But you are someone else. Something else.”