“Cause even if you strip all that other stuff away…I’m still Spider-Man!”
O.K., last issue, Spidey didn’t just jump the shark, he jumped off a satellite and landed safely in Paris. How in the world does anyone top that for big over-the-top moves? Plus, he ended last comic with Scorpio standing over him saying he’s seen the future and he knows Spider-Man will die today. Spidey is beaten and battered from his fall, is out of web fluid (original recipe), and is staring down the barrel of the zodiac key.
Folks, it appears that this is going to be a short issue.
Last issue got a B- from me and a B from Negative Neil (O.K., that’s not his nickname, but I like the alliteration and it sounds like a Stan Lee-y kind of thing to say). Are we both crazy? Will the wackiness continue? Well, you’ll just have to press that Read More link to find out.
So what are you waiting for?
The Devil in the Details
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: Cam Smith
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Editor: Nick Lowe
Published: April 13, 2016
The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test
We pick up right where we left off last issue with Scorpio standing over a beaten down Spidey. Well, Spidey is down, but not beaten. He manages to pull a few good moves on Scorpio until Scorpio flings a car at some bystanders. Spider-Man saves them and Scorpio takes off because Gemini warned him that if he took the time to finish off Spider-Man, all would be lost.
DEAD NO MORE ALERT #1! In New York, the Man in Red tells Rhino to break into prison and bring out the Lizard (sorry, Curt Connors) and some mystery guy.
Meanwhile, Anna Maria and the Living Brain use a flying car to get to Paris and pick up Spider-Man. Brain starts crushing on Peter’s body, which makes both the reader and Peter feel uncomfortable. Anna Maria flies the car into a tunnel for Spider-Man to jump onto the back of the Chunnel (a really fast French train) to fight Scorpio. It hurts for Spidey to stay attached and the force almost pulls him off. Both realize that this is a very hard place to fight, so Scorpio once again puts bystanders in danger (this time Anna Maria) to make Spider-Man leap off the train to save her.
DEAD NO MORE ALERT #2! The Man in Red watches as a scrawny Lizard approaches in a dejected Charlie Brown stance. The Rhino come carrying the mystery man – Max Dillon (Don’t you know, I’m Electro). Dillon has been depowered and the Man in Red assures him that it doesn’t matter and suggests that he can get Electro’s powers back.
Meanwhile, Peter figures out that Scorpio is PI’s very own Vernon Jacobs. Using the power of holographs, he manages to bring PI’s best minds to analyze the room. We learn that there has been time manipulation (like what happened at Horizon Labs) and that they are storing a lot of information. Scorpio appears in a hologram, gets “unmasked” by Spidey and is told that they have been using PI all along to get their information. Spidey and Scorpio virtually square off – to be continued…
We get the set up for Dead No More, but nothing that we didn’t already have in the preview poster. I must have missed the story where Electro gets depowered. I know that Peter wanted Parker Industries to build a prison to cure Electro and people like him, but my understanding is that he never got his chance to do it. What this does give us is a glimpse at the possible powers of the Man in Red. He’s not wearing the jackal head here, but unless we are just going with the idea that he is a super genetic genius, I wouldn’t think that he could restore Electro’s powers to him. Maybe this is a clue that he is NOT the Jackal. He also doesn’t seem to be Anubis (who has appeared in Marvel comics previously). I can’t see him being any other than Miles Warren with the possibility of cloning and the presence of Gwen Stacy, but who knows. Gwen and Kaine’s presence may just be red herrings. Maybe he is a rogue clone of Warren who has been out there all these years waiting to make his move. Whatever the case, he clearly isn’t green and furry.
We know that Brain knows that Spider-Man and Peter are one. I don’t know if that was specifically stated in earlier comics. I don’t believe so. Whatever the case, since it is clearly Doc Ock’s brain in The Brain (should we call him Brock?), we know that Ock will retain the memory of Spider-Man’s secret identity. The Brain goes above and beyond in praising Peter’s body. He calls him the “ultimate vessel,” so it certainly seems that the Ock in Brock remembers some of what transpired. Plus, The Brain seems to resent Peter being called “Doctor” when it was really Spock who got the degree because he emphasizes the word. It’s always written as DOC-TOR – other two syllable words are not given the hyphen. Plus, Peter asks him to call him Spider-Man when in costume, but Brain refuses to do it and calls him DOC-TOR PARKER again. That powder keg is about to blow. Unfortunately, it looks like when it does, it will a story shared with the next big event. My hope is that Ock doesn’t go back to just being a villain. If cloning is involved, maybe we can end up with Ock in a Peter clone (the return of Superior Spider-Man) and maybe a clone of the old Ock to have the old villain around. I could live with that.
We also get more information about the past eight months. Scorpio reveals that they have been using Parker Industries for quite a while. In his words, “the failing start-up that for no discernible reason suddenly spiked one magic day when everyone else tumbled.” This, I believe, is a look into how this all came to be. I’m not up on the ending of Secret Wars (it hasn’t made it to Marvel Unlimited yet), but my understanding is that Reed somehow rebuilt the universe. Maybe he decided to give Peter a break and make him successful. That would also explain how PI got so good so fast.
The art is fantastic. Everything is clear and consistent. Slott gave Camuncoli several panels that is just the crew sitting in a flying car talking, but each panel shifts the view and makes it feel dynamic.
The humor is spot on. No pop culture references (that I caught, at least). No explaining jokes the next panel over. Just good Spider-Man quips like Spider-Man hurt and unable to stand up, but still correcting Scorpio when he calls the Archno-Rocket the Spider-Rocket. His Little Bunny Foo Foo comment made me smile. Peter talking to Brock saying, “I’m an idiot and you are the smart robot,” with Brain’s reply, “Affirmative, Doc-tor Parker.”
Spider-Man is not a loser. Sure, he had Scorpio working for him all along without realizing it, but it wasn’t played out to make him look like a tool. The quip he threw in with it also was funny – crap, I was even his secret Santa!
Slott Googled information. The Chunnel is said to go 186 mph and that is the exact speed Google gives for it. After last issue’s guess work, this issue has been researched (and I love research).
It was nice to be back down to earth. This issue felt like For Your Eyes Only compared to last issue’s Moonraker.
There are relatively few things, and most of them just nit picking. Such as, on the train, we learn that by placing a silly Zodiac hat on a person’s head, you can make them 100% loyal to Zodiac. That Cancer hat is absolutely ridiculous looking.
Scorpio is still a powerful, yet lame villain. He has the ability to give power to his crew, but doesn’t seem to understand how it works. Gemini’s ability to see the future is flawed and not set in stone, and Scorpio knows this since he was able to surprise the previous Scorpio with poison, but he always seems shocked when Gemini can’t fix everything. Plus, his power only seems to be harming innocent bystanders.
The ending was lacking for me. The big reveal of the super villain room in Jacobs’s home only gives us information that he is mucking with time (which I would assume would be how he gives Gemini their powers) and that he is amassing a lot of data. A lot means zettabytes. Plural. So what? Maybe I missed the point. The virtual standoff at the end left me on a down note.
The cover showed a fight on the train. In my mind, I’m thinking Spider-Man 2 and the fight with Ock on the train, but this was far from it. However, it was a Peter David-esque feel to approach the fact that they are both on the train ready to fight, only to find out that fighting at 186 mph is not really feasible.
I’ll give extra credit to anyone who can tell me ow many terabytes are in one zettabyte (I know the answer to this one, so do your homework).
Also, extra credit to anyone who can remember when and how Electro lost his powers (I don’t know the answer, so you can make up anything – how would I know?).
For the first time in a while, this felt like a Spider-Man story. Not a Moon Knight, not an Iron Man story. SPIDER-MAN! I think it had a lot to do with the fact that Peter Parker was not really in the story, it was all Spidey. None of the complaints that I’ve had with the existing storyline are in this comic. Sure, he owns a global company, but he’s not a douche bag about it. Sure he has gadgets galore, but he can’t use them. The Spidey we know and love is back – at least for an issue. The quote at the top of this post says it all.
Mohammed Jaafar, break out the tar and feathers.
What grade did you give it?
The 13th sign of the Zodiac is THE SPIDER?!?!?! Scorpio is on the verge of controlling the future and Spider-Man’s fight will take him on both sides of the English Channel. But when Scorpio compromises Parker Industries, what will this mean for Peter moving forward?!
Release date – April 27th