“Ow. Okay, now you’re getting nasty.”
Secret Empire has kept our hero’s grade from going under, so how does this world-shattering arc conclude? With the world’s most crippling anticlimax. Such a shocker for a Slott book, I know.
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #31
“Secret Empire, Pt 3: End of an Empire”
Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade von Grawbadger
Colors: Marte Gracia
Editors: Nick Lowe and Devin Lewis
We pick up exactly where we left off last issue, with Peter’s Spider-mobile fleet being taken over by Ock, who begins to toss Peter around like he’s nothing. (Ah, look! Slott’s projecting his love of Otto… again.) Lia(e)n manages to gain control of her Spider-mobile, distracting Otto while Peter secures the others and civvies up. From there, Peter goes to his office, installing a virus that shuts down all PI Operating Systems, which makes Otto mad and Aunt May’s cheeks turn to rubber.
Peter then suits up again, going to confront Otto as his employees destory all PI property. (With a little too much excitement. The IRS ain’ coming for you guys… yet.) In their brawl, Peter’s Spider-Armor somehow gets shredded by an EMP Otto developed (That’s not how EMPs work, but whatever; comic books, amiright?) and, shock of all shocks, he’s wearing his classic costume underneath! (But wait, Slott says, we need to embarrass Peter some more! Bring in Skein real quick so we can do another web-diaper!) Peter wins by doing… the exact same thing. Otto’s arc screw up, so he runs by swinging away on ink threads. (…Okay) Peter gives chase, only to find Otto has ditched his arms… and his mask. (I would like to point out that this is the third time that a villain has bested Peter by running away in three years.)
On the ground, May thanks Spidey for a job well done, telling him to join the final fight in the US. Meanwhile, Arnim Zola congratulates Otto on a job well done, with Otto getting triggered that he’s merely considered a foot soldier.
You ever wanted to know what I feel like when we reach the end of an arc of the current ASM?
There. Skids said it for me, ‘specially since this has become a recurring trend for Slott stories. I can name on one hand the number of stories where I have genuinely been thrown for a loop and been surprised by the ending stories per arc in Slott’s run.
Art is the same as per usual. Immonen, von Grawbadger and Gracia continue to impress with their slick line work and shiny colors. If I have any complaints, it’s that Gracia’s color problems come back to bite by making the faces rubbery and overly-slick and shiny, but if the entire art team now is going to be coming back for Legacy (I already know Immonen is coming back, but I’m not sure about the rest of his crew) then I won’t have any complaints on that end.
With the narrative, though? Like Skids said. A crippling antimclimax really drags this issue down.
This is supposed to be the big final huzzah of Parker Industries, and yet I felt nearly nothing when the issue ended. I mentioned in my ASM #27 review that I was looking forward to Parker Industries’ demise, but now that we’re here, was all this waiting for PI to fall really worth it? Some might say yes, but for me the payoff to this years-long story arc just wasn’t worth the wait.
There’s also a point to made that Peter never bothered to make a backup that only he could access? Like, I know he’s determined to not let Ock take anything from Parker Industries, but he’s putting the personal information of several hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, in jeopardy simply because he doesn’t want Otto to get his hands on anything. And that’s not including Peter’s New York branch (Which has had the Darkforce bubble from Secret Empire removed by now) which HYDRA could still seize. They’ve already gotten a hold of the San Fran branch and blewed up the London branch, so they can still seize anything that was in the Baxter Building. (You know, that building that the Fantastic Four were using and had incredible inventions under development?)
There’s just… no kick for me right now to stay invested, along with too many holes in the plot. I’ve had a mental debate about dropping Amazing Spider-Man come Legacy (Though I love poking fun at Slott’s writing too much to drop it just yet) and this issue may be the final nail in the coffin for my Spidey collection. I’ll definitely be picking up the first two Legacy issues just to test the waters, but if something doesn’t happen soon?
This may be it.
All in all, a riveting conclusion to one of the greatest overarching arcs in Spider-Man’s history.
Final Grade: A+
(It’s really a B, but I wanted to spite Mark for saying behind the scenes that I’ll give it a higher grade than him. By doing exactly what he said I’d do… That’ll show him.)