The Devil in the Details
Story Title: End of an Empire
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Editor: Nick Lowe
Published: August 9, 2017
Remedial ASM 101
Just to catch you up, here is what has happened: Hydra, led by Hydra agent Captain America, has successfully defeated all the heroes and dent them running away. Spidey left the heroes and went off to save his last company in Shanghai from Superior Hydra Ock. Using every Spider gadget and vehicle he has against Ock, Ock just turns the tables and takes control of them all using some backdoor access he installed while working at PI as the Living Brain.
The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test
Reveling in his victory, Ock starts monologuing. Spider-Man bemoans how helpless he is. Lian bemoans how helpless she is. Aunt May decides to go in there and set everything straight. Spidey changes into Peter Parker and tells his workers his master plan to save them from Superior Hydra Ock:
Soon, everyone’s Web Ware begins to shut down and deleting all of their photos, contacts, and Candy Crush apps. Aunt May does not approve.
Plus she’s looking pretty old in this issue. I guess Immonen hasn’t gotten the word yet that the comics are supposed to mimic the MCU. They’ll set him straight soon enough.
Lian’s mom, however, says she has faith that she has raised her daughter, so she is not worried about her fighting the “great American super villain”. Not to be outdone by a minor side character, Aunt May decides to have faith in her nephew.
Ock is furious that PI has wiped every bit of data so he decides to use an EMP to not just disable the Spider-Armor, but to shred it completely and simultaneously giving us our Onomatopoeia of the Issue!
On a scale of 1 (POW) to 10 (BLRKBQRKPQRBLNB), this rates a 9. A Z and three Xs? We expect no less in a major issue like this!
But Spidey has his old suit on underneath (thank goodness, otherwise we’d have another web diaper issue) and Slott saves Immonen a bit by making an Underoos reference, so Feige will be sated, for now.
Somehow, Spider-Man managed to shield one electronic device from the blast (How? Don’t ask questions!) and in turns uses a frequency designed to overtake Ock’s arms. Ock swings away (yes, a la Spider-Man style, although his webs look like Venom gunk and they go Thwep! Instead) and ditches his arms and mask so that Spidey cannot find him. And since Spider-Man forgot that he used to find and fight a guy who can change his face to look like anyone, he gives up saying that there is no way to find Ock because he doesn’t know what he looks like. Aunt May reminds Spider-Man that he is needed in the major Marvel event and that he should leave. Meanwhile Ock is back with Hydra and humiliated to only be a “mere lackey” instead of ruling his own empire.
No more Spider-Mobiles. No more gadgets. No more spider-armor (no more glowing blue spider). No more Parker Industries. No more globetrotting. No more Uncle Ben Foundation to put Aunt May up against S.H.I.E.L.D.
Despite this being a major battle for the status quo of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, it seems more of a story about Ock, Aunt May, and the Shanghai supporting cast.
Slott has done an excellent job here of working in the major event crossover to his story arc. It feels like a natural progression of his current stories rather than an intrusive insert as many tie ins in the past have felt. The end of Parker Industries has been promised for a long time and as a result, when it comes, I’m more relieved that it is finally over than shocked and excited for the story. The long game cuts both ways. While it can really be interesting to see events from a few years ago come to fruition later, it can also just wear out your audience. Add to that the fact that I’ve been ready to get rid of PI for so long that I am rooting for Ock. Parker destroying everything is a mixed bag for me. Part of me feels like he should have been able to save something, but the other part of me is happy that this prevents any going back. If Ock had won the company, it would be on Peter to try and win it back, thus giving us another ten years of that arc. This way, not only is the company gone, but no investor in their right mind is going to back another move by Parker to build another company. My biggest fear here is that once everyone sues Peter for the loss of their data, photos, equipment, investment money, etc., they’ll start writing him like they did after the “death” of Mary Jane – homeless and a moron.
I can’t put my finger on it, but this issue just lacks a kick for me, which is insane since it was the big arc resolve. Maybe it was the missing Gage. I think Slott’s ideas are much better when framed by whatever it is that Gage does when he co-writes a story.
Extra Credit #1:
Who is this? I’m not up on my Hydra characters and I don’t want to waste my vacation time looking it up I want you to enjoy the thrill of research.
Extra Credit #2:
I believe this is the final list we have of web cartridges:
Cartridge #3 – acid webbing
Cartridge #6 – micro-coiled z-metal
Cartridge #7 – quick drying wet cement webbing
Cartridge #8 – expanding web foam
OK, assuming that #1 is regular webbing and #8 is the last one, we never got to find out what was in #2, #4, or #5. So, either I missed something, in which case you point it out for extra credit, or you come up with your best idea for what should have been in one of those unknown cartridges. I, for one, wished to see some of that slither webbing we saw in Fantastic Four Annual #1.
It has what I’ve been wanting to happen for a 3o issues now, but it just seems lacking punch.
What grade do YOU give it? Leave either your grade or your grade and reasoning in the comments below
- Norman Osborn’s goblin-free battle with Spidey didn’t go the way he had hoped…
- Now, Osborn needs to find an edge and get the Goblin back, and neither you nor Spidey are ready for the edge he’s going to find!
- Guest artist Greg Smallwood (MOON KNIGHT) joins Dan Slott for this special issue that sets off the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN event of 2018!
Oh joy. The Green Goblin. Again. Another Spider-EVENT. Again.