The blurb from Marvel for this issue is, “Spider-Man and the Santerians team up to fight a foe that will shake what faith they have!” What faith they have? If I read the first five issues correctly, for Spidey that would be none, right? Well, read the review friends (because certainly you didn’t knowingly buy all six issues of this train wreck) and let’s find out if Spidey can get past that heartbreaking moment where he cursed out God while watching his Uncle Ben dying in a hospital bed…
The Devil in the Details
Writer: Jose Molina
Artist: Simone Bianchi and Andrea Broccardo
Colorist: David Curiel and Matt Yackey
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Guiseppe Camuncoli and David Curiel
Editor: Nick Lowe
Published: July 26, 2016
What Is Past Is Prologue – a Quick Recap
This is the end of a six issue arc that began back in January, so just in case you’ve fallen behind, here is the story so far: A guy named Julio came back from the dead. Everyone thinks this must be a miracle from God except Spider-Man, who apparently hates God because God allowed Uncle Ben to die in a hospital (it doesn’t matter that he didn’t, just go with it). His efforts to find out what is really going on leads him to the Santerians, a not-quite-voodoo group of voodoo people. They fight. Spider-Man saves a chicken. Spider-Man swings from a jet that flies to a Puerto Rican loving airport in Cuba. He tracks down a man who met Julio before his death and resurrection only to be attacked by crabs and Uncle Ben. The Uncle Ben ghost repairs Spidey’s suit with thread thick as rope and then disappears. However, the rope-repair is still on his suit, so was it an illusion? Spider-Man goes back to New York, lets Beast do some science on Julio’s DNA to find out that Julio is not human. Spidey fights Santerians again for no real reason and they decide to join forces to beat whatever it is that Julio has become. Julio is going around killing people and then bringing them back to life while we learn that his god is none other than Ochumare, a god of rainbow snakes and death and he just killed a chicken, so it’s about to get real here.
The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test
Spidey and the Santerians fight Julio and monsters while Ochumare uses their powers to open a portal. It seems that hell is empty and all the devils are here. Tony Stark, who is monitoring the event, tells Spidey about the portal and Spidey convinces the Santerians to stop using their powers. They do, the portal continues to open. Uncle Ben comes back. A demon/alien/monster/whatever-the-heck-it-is sees him, so Spidey believes he is really Ben come back to life this time. But he disappears because he has to get ready for Dead No More coming up soon. The Santerians realize that Ochumare is only able to what he does because he is connected to Julio’s life force. They realize that to do a great right, they must do a little wrong, so they snap his neck. Spidey gets pissed at this. Yells at the Santerians, quotes Shakespeare, and goes to church where he apparently forgives God for brutally murdering Uncle Ben in a hospital. All’s well that ends well.
Onomatopoeia of the Issue (OOTI)
There are many to chose from in this issue. I’m going with this remix version of the web shooters.
Not much. The art, in places, are better. In fact, the art, in places, is better than what were are getting in the main series.
Last issue promised a big fight between crazy looking characters and this issue was a fight between crazy looking characters. So that was a welcomed plus, even if Spidey spends most of his time getting smacked around.
There is not really much else to like. I can’t even like his Shakespeare quote because immediately afterward he acts like quoting Shakespeare isn’t cool. What’s cooler than dropping Shakespeare quotes into conversation? I’m doing it through this whole review just to show how incredibly cool I am.*
I must be cruel, only to be kind.
The cover. O.K., the cover is not a bad piece of art, but does it make me want to buy this comic? No. BD holding my family hostage until I get this review out inspires me to buy this comic. It is a pretty generic image that could fit any Spidey story. You know what is really awful? Spidey doesn’t swing through the city in this issue! It’s a generic one size-fits-all cover and it doesn’t fit this issue!
Why is this story even in a Spider-Man comic? What did he do that changed anything in this series? I’m looking this comic over and the only thing I can really tell that Spidey did was to bring in Tony Stark to monitor cosmic fluctuations and then to rely that information to the Santerians, but even that doesn’t matter because the portal continues to open even without them using their powers. The Santerians appear to be the only ones who bothered to read the flashback page that revealed the key to defeating Ochumare and they are the ones who actually do the deed. Sure, Spidey whines about there always being a different way, but he fails to find one here. I’m not going to re-read this whole series (ever), but if you are a masochist, please do and tell me if there is anything that changes without Spider-Man there. Except the chicken.
The art – sure, I said it was better, but I’m thinking those parts were Andrea Broccardo’s influence. This image below is surely all Bianchi. In fact, I think it is time for a …
Who is this?
a. Uncle Ben
b. Peter Parker
c. Harry Osborn
d. Clayton Cole
e. J. R. Fettinger
Editorial really failed us on this one. This is AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Not Tangled Webs. Not Sensational. Not Marvel Fanfare. This is the big dog and they turned it over someone who not only has not writing experience, but questionable knowledge of Spider-Man. I understand the desire to bring in diversity and the fact that Molina is a successful TV writer, but this is where the editor needs to provide guidance and oversight. The author even acknowledges this in what would be the letters page:
This feels very much like what we’ve been getting in the main book lately – the idea that if you acknowledge that something is wrong, it makes it O.K.
Plus, we have this fashion fail, for good measure:
This comic strives to explore a different layer to Peter than we normally get in the main title; however, the author is not well versed in the character so instead of bringing up poignant ideas and themes, he clumsily stomps through them. We are told by assistant editor Devin Lewis:
The doubts expressed here deal with Peter’s faith. It is the point with which they bash us over the head. Peter is a scientist, so obviously he must hate all that religion stands for (for of course there are no such things as religious scientists). Peter is a scientist, so he must deny all that is supernatural. If we had created a new character, we could pull this off. The problem is that Peter prays (not often, albeit) which means he has already acknowledged God. Peter deals with the supernatural on a daily basis as Spider-Man. So this sudden, vehement denial is really odd. We dive deeper to see that Peter blames God for the death of his Uncle Ben. This completely undermines everything this character is based on. Peter blames himself for the death. That’s it. It is his driving force. To shift that blame takes away his whole reason for existence.
Let’s say that we can look past that. Let’s say that the character development we get from this outweighs the continuity issues. What happened to make Peter change his mind? In the end, Peter goes to church to talk to a priest. Why? Everyone keeps telling him that this is the work of God and that he should just believe it, but there is nothing in this series to support that. The bad guy is a pagan god possessing the man to open an interdimensional portal. Spider-Man’s been hanging around with Thor for quite a while now, so seeing some other god being should not be a big deal. The “ghost” of Uncle Ben doesn’t align with ANYTHING biblical. God did not assist them in stopping this. The portal is closed when the Santerians kill Julio. Julio can’t even be a Christ figure since he did not sacrifice his life to save the world – he was killed fighting against the closing of the portal. The only lesson he learned is that you can’t always save the day the way you want to. Somehow that translates into a come-to-Jesus moment for Pete. It falls flat.
I also have no delusions that this “character development” will have any impact at all on any other comic book from this point until the end of time. So Peter goes to a church. Will that impact his life at all outside this comic? Will Peter now have another reason to fight the good fight? The next time Peter is in a hard spot, will he accept that sometimes there just isn’t another way? Will Peter trust in the Lord for help in his hard times? My bet is no. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe when Peter is faced with the possible death of his aunt in the upcoming Dead No More / Clone Sage Conspiracy, he’ll remember this new found faith in God. Maybe when Uncle Ben returns again, he’ll still be wearing that awful outfit and it will remind Peter of this moment.
But I seriously doubt it. And what is the point of character development if it doesn’t change the character?
This issue: D
This series: F
So fair and foul a comic I have not seen. Well, to be honest, just foul. I practically flushed $24.00 down the toilet on this series (which, not surprising, is the same price I would need to pay for an actual gallon of real bull shit). I’m hard pressed to think of a mini-series that was worse than this one. Can anyone out there point out something worse? But men are men; the best sometimes forget and it would be best if I just forgot this one.
What grade do YOU give it?
Spot what is wrong in this picture:
NOTHING! HALLELUJAH! Ding dong the series is done! Just curious – did anyone even notice that this last issue was delayed?
* Hey kids! If you are in high school, send me a list of all five of the Shakespeare quotes and which play they feature in and I will email your English teacher and tell him or her to give you extra credit.