By: Dan Slott (writer), Stefano Caselli (art), Frank Martin, Jr. (colors), Joe Caramagna (letters), Ellie Pyle (assistant editor) & Stephen Wacker (editor)
The Story: Spidey finally closes in on Doc Ock.
A few things (with SPOILERS): 1). Really nice showing by Silver Sable. - Without getting into her possible death at the hands of Rhino, Silver Sable has been a very interesting character in the pages of ASM recently. For one thing, it’s nice to see another hero who is an unabashed fan of Spidey. Even though the Avengers accept him, you still always get the sense that Iron Man and Cap think Spidey is a little out of his league with the Avengers: They happy he succeeds and are proud of him, but it’s always in a slightly patronizing way. Not so with Sable; she thinks Spidey’s one of the best of the superheroes and expects him to act accordingly. I also really enjoyed her interaction with Cap during the big fight….with Cap interfering with the Octobots just enough that Sable could KO him. How hard does a normal human have to hit Cap to KO him anyway?
It should also be noted that Slott writes the Avengers really well. I wonder if this is any sort of a “try-out” considering that Bendis is leaving the Avengers titles this fall?
2). Caselli apes Ramos very well. - It’s no secret that Humberto Ramos is one of my favorite artists; I LOVE how he draws Spidey. And it’s always a tough job for any artist to be paired up with Ramos as Caselli has been on Ends of the Earth. But, there are a number of pages in this issue where I felt like Caselli was doing a very impressive job of copying Ramos’ style. That’s gotta be a pretty tall order because Ramos is very unique. All of that is preamble to saying the art is pretty good in this issue. It isn’t perfect and I still wish we could have Ramos do every issue, but Caselli is getting it done very well too. Most Marvel comics would be improved by this level of cartoony art.
3). Mysterio has been a lot of fun. - It’s a small item, but I’ve really enjoyed Mysterio these last few issues. He’s fun to have around with his shifting allegiances and he’s crafty without ever being truly dangerous. You get the sense that even if he stabbed Spidey in the back, it wouldn’t be THAT bad because he’d just be attacking Spidey with some animatronic toy. Mysterio is kinda like a Scooby-Doo villain.
4). Doc Ock’s story has been a good ride. - Of course, some of this will depend on how Slott wraps up Ock’s fate in the next couple of issues, but seeing Ock go from the old bowl-cut haircut and dork-glasses to this addled person over the last 100 issues has been very affecting. You could really feel his desperation when he ejects from his suit to crawl across the control room to his the big red button that would destroy the Earth. Hopefully he gets a proper send off. Actually, wouldn’t it be cool if he died and that violated Spidey’s “no one dies” motto.
5). I’m a little sick of “nobody dies”. - Speaking of “nobody dies”, I’m a little sick of this plot thread. Surely someone as intelligent as Peter Parker would know that sometimes superheroing will present you with Kobayashi Maru scenarios from time to time. Part of being a superhero is making the difficult – but correct – choice as Spidey does in this issue when he leaves Sable to save the Earth. Sure he feels guilty about it, but if he wasn’t there, Sable would have died anyway AND the Earth would have been destroyed. Given that it’s so obvious, it’s hard to see why it needs to be such an element of the story.
Conclusion: A pretty strong issue that wraps most of the Ends of the Earth plotlines (nothing on the MJ thread though…).
- Dean Stell