In a nod to Ditko, Spidey is paired up with Dr. Strange, er… sort of. It appears that the Norse god of mischief is the new Dark Arts professor in the Marvel universe now. What sort of hi-jinks will these two get themselves into? Read on, friends and see!
Plus we get a new Threat Level Red color scheme in the review!
The Devil in the Details
Story Title: Threat Level Red Part 2: The Favor
Writer: Dan Slott and Christos Gage
Penciler: Mike Hawthorne
Inker: Terry Pallot
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Editor: Nick Lowe
Published: Feb. 7, 2018
Remedial ASM 101
Peter’s poor again and working at the Daily Bugle while sleeping on the couch of his girlfriend, Mockingbird. Meanwhile, Norman Osborn has obtained the Carnage symbiote.
The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test
Apparently he is not sleeping on the couch of his girlfriend as we start with Peter looking for a new apartment and seems to think that she is now his ex (he is very unclear about this). His new apartment is little more than a hall with a window. Just as Peter gets to work, he gets summoned by Dr. Strange, who is no other than Loki! For reasons I don’t care about since I don’t follow Dr. Strange. Apparently Loki owes Spidey a favor. Meanwhile, over lunch, Bobbi tells May that she and Peter broke up mostly due to the fact that they don’t like spending time together. Back at Bleecker Street, Spidey breaks a pot holding some Fire Wasps. In their quest to round them all up, Spidey almost kills Bobbi and May by knocking one right into the diner they are having lunch in.
One stranger does die and Spidey calls in the favor that Loki owes him to turn back time to right before he broke the vase in order to save that life, turning down the offer to go back to his full wealth status. Using his new time, Spidey goes off to the diner to meet with Bobbi and May. Loki reveals to the reader that this was all a ploy to remove the favor he owes Spidey. All ends with Osborn bonding with the Carnage symbiote and learning that it is too powerful for him to control.
The pacing – this story follows the same set-up as most of the comics in the ‘80s. It can be picked up and read without being a part three of six (despite the title). It also has subplots that continue the ongoing story and setting up future stories. Spidey’s banter with Loki also felt like I was reading a Spider-Man comic.
Acknowledgment of the Mephisto deal. Well, to us, at least. I also like that Peter has some sort of clue that he did something stupid like that. It lays groundwork for the future if someone wants to/is able to deal with it.
The Alchemax A-Droid phone ad was a nice touch. I’m glad someone is looking out for all those poor people who invested in Webware phones.
And I love that he is wearing a coat while swinging in the cold.
The end of Spockingbird – not that I really had anything against it, but it seemed as if there was no direction it was going in. They teased a reverse Black Cat thing for a while, but it just fizzled.
As far as the set up for the Red Goblin goes, my interest is appropriately piqued.
OOTI (Onomatopoeia of the Issue)
On a scale of 1 (POW) to 10 (BLRKBQRKPQRBLNB), KRESSHH rates a 5.
While not really a failure, as much as I appreciated the acknowledgement of the Mephisto deal, I didn’t care much for the acknowledgement of the Spider-totem arc. I’m happy to let that one go the way of Chapter One.
We spent some time pretending that the sorcerer in question was really Dr. Strange until it is revealed that it is Loki. Would have been more effective if they didn’t say it was Loki on the cover. People like me who don’t follow Dr. Strange would have been mildly surprised. I don’t feel it is fair to blame Slott or Gage for that, though, as I am pretty sure they have little to say over what gets put on the cover.
Now that we are in the last throes of Slott’s run, we can see that there is a checking off of things that Slott did to change the character. My assumption is that Slott is resetting the franchise so that no one else will come after him and do so, saving him from articles about how his ideas were so bad, that X new writer had to change them as soon as he/she arrived, or keeping other from messing up what he worked hard at establishing. I don’t blame him or criticize him for either. Just an observation
Parker Industries is no more – check!
Peter is poor – check!
Spidey is no longer dating Mockingbird – check!
Norman is going crazy again – check!
Peter’s at the Daily Bugle again – check!
The Uncle Ben foundation is closed – check!
Aunt May is old and alone – check!
Scorpio is back from the past – check!
We got several editor notes, but for the one that would refer us back to the issue where Loki owes Spidey a favor. Extra credit to anyone who knows what Spidey did that makes Loki owe him one.
While I’m not a fan of Dr. Strange, I liked this story. It felt very ‘80s-ish to me and that always is a good thing.
What grade do YOU give it? You can just put the grade in if you like, or give your own detailed analysis about why I am right.
We have two of them for you, folks!
Searching for answers about a mysterious voicemail from her late husband, Ned Leeds, Betty Brant finds herself in the midst of a mafia conspiracy that stretches back decades! Convinced that Ned is alive and trying to help her solve the case, Betty enlists the help of the Amazing Spider-Man to get to the truth…and the ENFORCERS want a word with both of ’em! Also includes a short Spidey story by Broadway playwright David Hein (Come From Away)!
ASM # 796
- You’ve watched for months as Norman Osborn has scoured the globe for a cure to the genetic tampering that prevents him from becoming the Green Goblin.
- IN THIS ISSUE… HE FINDS IT!
- And it spells the worst kind of trouble for your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man!