Threat Level Red, you say? Well walloping websnappers, true believers, that can only mean one thing! The return of the Scorp-Mobile! Hallelujah!
Amazing Spider-Man #794
“Threat Level Red, Pt 1: Last Chance”
Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Marte Gracia
Editors: Nick Lowe and Devin Lewis
If anybody cared enough to read Secret Empire and Marvel Legacy #1, you’ll remember that SHIELD was dismantled due to HYDRA infiltration. (Apparently, Bendis is fond of constantly reminding us that his favorite writing crutch is gone.) This has finally started to affect Amazing Spider-Man, as this facility with the budget (And structural integrity) of a Scooby-Doo: Where Are You? episode has taken over their job of housing objects of mass destruction. Turns out some goons working for Osborn begin playing hand grenade tag with a couple pumpkin bombs, and in the chaos the Zodiac key screws off.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man, Mockingbird and the Horizon University crew prepare for Scorpio’s return from the past. (Or something along those lines. Time travel is weird and there’s a reason I hate it.) Scorpio comes out a-blazin’, and despite having what equates to Megatron’s Fusion Cannon, they all still job to him. (Even without the Zodiac Key, but he just gets it back anyway so there really wasn’t a point to getting it back.) He then makes his getaway in a police car (And not the Scorp-mobile? HERESY!) heading to Big Ben. (Insert a stale Parks and Rec quote here.)
Turns out Scorpio had a satellite uplink that needed the Zodiac Key to activate at precisely an hour after he came through the portal. (Boy how convenient everything went exactly to plan.) Spider-Man tries to pull off an If This Be My Destiny but to no avail. His next plan is just to kick Scorpio out of the tower and let the key save him. Anna Maria leaves for Horizon University (Wow, and here was me thinking that she’d have some kind of genuine moment with Peter before she’s swept off to the side. Silly me!) and the issue ends with the two agents delivering their payload to Norman Osborn: the Carnage Symbiote! (Oh, look, somebody ignoring Conway’s work! Shocking!)
This wasn’t a horrible issue. Not by any reasonable measure. I think it’s more my frustration that we’re only now getting a resolution to the plot points left hanging in Volume 4. And with the knowledge that Slott is leaving ASM to helm Iron Man, it makes it all the more frustrating that Slott is waiting until the very last minute to wrap up all of these lingering plot points.
I’ll save the art until later, just because I want to discuss the writing first. First off, it was good to see Anna Maria and the Horizon crew again, if only to get a wrap-up and resolution to Anna Maria since we haven’t seen her since the first Secret Empire tie-ins. As somebody who likes the idea of Horizon (Not so much the execution as a sort of dispenser of resources for Spider-Man to make new suits) I am glad that they’re wrapped up but not offed so if the next writer so desires, they’re still on the table to use.
It was also nice to finally get a resolution to Scorpio’s one year later resolution. Even though it’s a headache to determine how that one-year gap interludes with the multiple conflicting timelines Marvel has in different books, I’m glad it wasn’t just tossed aside before Slott left. On the other hand, it’s odd watching Norman drop his magic subplot in a desire to use the Carnage Symbiote to get his Goblin persona back. However, I suspect that Spidey’s team-up with Loki next issue will marry the two and at least have some semblance of explaining why Norman has ditched magic for a plot device that ignores Conway’s Carnage run.
In other news, the stuff I didn’t like. And once again, the relationship between Peter and Bobbi goes nowhere, not even in a good developing way. Over the course of several issues, they almost have zero romantic interactions. In fact, most of their dialogue since they got together is Bobbi chastising Peter for being such a massive screw-up. Go on a date, sleep in the same bed, do something that convinces me you’re a couple! But, given that we see Peter and MJ back together (Or at least implied by Immonen’s unfinished pages for #797) it’s clear that the relationship between the two isn’t lasting until Slott’s off the title. Which makes me ask what the point was of the pairing in the first place.
Onward to better things, Stuart Immonen continues to nail the art with his more curved and streamlined line work. I think it helps that there were better inking jobs with von Grawbadger at his station, but the linework is much better than the very low bar Immonen had set for himself post-Legacy in #789. Between Immonen, Camuncoli, and Stegman, Slott has been very lucky that he is able to get top-tier artists for his art, even if sometimes they aren’t at the top of their game. It’s just a shame that Slott is the only person getting access to the best because I can name some books that could use some artistic elbow grease.
At the end of the day? ASM #794 is a serviceable issue with good art that doesn’t accomplish much in this single issue and is very filler-y. Buy if you want, but you aren’t exactly getting a lot of plot for your buck.
Final Grade: C+