Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #31 Review: The Bogenrieder Perspective


“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

Story:

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.

Thoughts:

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.) 

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(8) Comments

  1. Sano

    That's Frank West from Capcom's Dead Rising video game series. This is a Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite variant cover that features characters for the upcoming game. Oh I tend to hate ASM but I actually liked this one solely because it put an end to two stupid things. Parker Industries and that glowing spider outfit.

  2. Neil Bogenrieder - Post author

    @Mark Alford- I guess we should assume that PI's OS runs on a cloud-like system, and by that logic, a shutdown of that OS would be world-wide. But stuff like the Spider-Mobiles would probably either run on their own separate mechanism (Lia(e)n needed to go to ground at some point, ad her mother asks to take a look at the specs) or have the Webware OS, but only for entertainment functions and not essential functions of the vehicles themselves. Even then, the Webware isn't entirely useless without the Webware OS. There are entire guidebooks on how to install Windows on Macs, and there's a subplot in PP:SSM about a group of criminals uploading their own OS onto a Starkphone. (I think, I dropped the book after #2.) So it wouldn't take much for some other group to put their own OS/jailbreak the existing one on something as valuable as Webware and cause all sorts of havoc. (I'm sure Slott will point that out just so Peter can suffer a bit more.) And when I refer to the tech in the Bazter Building, I'm not really thinking the stuff that PI built. I'm thinking more the stuff that the FF left behind. The first arc in Waid's Avengers had the Avengers using a time machine that the FF built that Peter knew NOTHING about. If that's just the first thing left behind, there's surely more stuff far more deadly that HYDRA would kill to get their hands on. Not to mention that Peter isn't thinking about everything else that he's left behind while running around the globe. There's the solar panel development project in... where, South Africa? (If the Goblins were that big a threat to them, surely HYDRA would be unstoppable in seizing that.) Not to mention an entire fleet of Spider-themed vehicles lying around in Symkaria. Which may be a theme of ASM going through Legacy, that Peter is seeking to destroy all PI tech to prevent it from going into the wrong hands. As for Peter's association with the Avengers? I dunno, I've long given up on the title, at least until after Secret Empire closes up. But he's on the covers for the Worlds Collide arc, so it stands to reason that he's still on the team, at least until those issues are over. I haven't been reading Secret Empire closely, but I know that Cap's HYDRAvengers is doing their own thing in Waid's ongoing and Peter's disappearance hasn't been mentioned in Secret Empire at all. (Not even by Mockingbird? Shame.)

  3. Masked Guy

    "All in all, a riveting conclusion to one of the greatest overarching arcs in Spider-Man’s history." Okay, that made me laugh.

  4. Mark Alford

    I'd have to go back and look to be sure, but I think that supposedly the virus they put into the system destroyed all PI files, regardless of which building is standing. So while all the hardware is in New York for the taking, it is useless. That's how I think it was meant to be. I wonder if Spider-Man's rush to save his company will have any impact on his relationship with the Avengers? I haven't been reading the main Secret Empire title (I'll get to in in six months on Marvel Unlimited), so I don't know if Spidey's absence was actually noted in the main arc. Are you reading Secret Empire? Do you know? @ Irish for standards in the grading process - that's what makes the reviews interesting. We all have different likes and dislikes. There is no real way to make this objective without taking out the personality in the reviews. Even if we had a checklist, there would be disagreements in how to interpret them. What I might give an A, Neil could turn around and give a C and George and JR could turn around and give an F. Why? Certain things strike different cords within us. Neil is an artist, so when the art is good, the reviews get better. I am a writer, so I focus on what strikes me plot-wise. Of course we factor in the other side, but we focus on where our passions are. Then throw in the idiosyncrasies that make a comic "good" or not. We love seeing what other spider-fans like and dislike, so please stick your own grade in the comments section as well.

  5. Irish for standards in the grading process

    A negative review deserves a negative grade. If that was a B then it would take very little to get an A. Something may get promoted as A standard that does not meet universal excellence. That could lead to a rush to buy and by not meeting universal standards of what A is lead to disillusionment and long term brand damage.

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