By: Christopher Yost (Writer), Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco (Artists), Dave Curiel (Colorist)
The Story: Spider-Ock has to babysit the Future Foundation, while the Time Variance Authority comes crashing in because time will severely be meddled with.
The Review: With all the weirdness going around in the main Spider-Man book, Superior Spider-Man, one has to appreciate books like this one. While it still does offer weirdness, it offers a wholly different kind of adventure, as Spider-Ock interacts with the grander Marvel Universe.
Here in this issue, Spider-Ock has to keep the Future Foundation, the fun concept of genius-level children introduced by Jonathan Hickman, in check while the replacement Fantastic Four are going in a mission in the microverse. Such a concept does allow for a fun bout with the genius-level Otto Octavius interacting with children that are closer to his level of intellect.
While Chris Yost does manage to bring some fun moments with the cast of FF, it seems that there are several missed opportunities in this issue, as most of these characters does not seem to be terribly important to the whole plot, appearing more as opportunities for jokes or accessories to the actual plot. It is a shame, as Yost does show that he does get who they actually are and get their voices even though they aren’t particularly preeminent in the meat of the book: the plot.
The plot here, though, is genuinely fun and original, with the Time Variance Authority (an old invention of Walter Simonson to pay homage to the late Mark Gruenwald, no less than that) goes here to stop one of the students from committing a terrible crime that would undo the whole timeline. With this story, Yost brings some action, with one or two surprising twists along the way. I have to say, the use of this obscure organisation from the archives is actually quite clever, as is the fact that since they do know who Spider-Man actually is. It seems that despite the fact that this book looks like a standard team-up book, Yost does have a general story and plan for the book.
Still, I do believe his plan could be a little bit reworked in some part, as the conclusion of the whole conflict with the Time Variance Authority feels a little bit off putting. It seems a bit wrong that the whole solution was to threaten a child to make sure he would not do what he intended to do in the first place. Even though it was Bentley, a self-proclaimed future villain, it did feel particularly satisfying that Spider-Ock had to threaten him to make sure he would stop whatever he was doing. Considering the fact that it had been established in a previous issue of Superior Spider-Man that Otto dislikes those who mistreats children, this felt a little off in both the story and character department.
What also felt a little off would be the art team, who gave us an issue that was not exactly up to the standards that had been set in previous issues. While the compositions, the poses and the action look very good as always, there seems to be some lacking in the facial department, especially in the last pages. The face of the students, the FF and other are perhaps a bit too elongated or not detailed enough, leading to some wonky traits. There also seems to be some trouble in the background department, as most of them throughout the issue, especially in the action scenes, are kind of bland, with the building not being visually interesting. Sure, there are some contrasts of colors here and there thanks to Dave Curiel still excellent color works, but it is not up to the other excellent issues before.
The Conclusion: This issue has some missteps in the plot and art departments, but it makes up for it with the fun concepts, some of the action and the neat surprises found within. Chris Yost is still doing some good work while he introduces the Spider-Ock concept throughout the Marvel universe and it does deserve some attention. Try it, yes?
Hugo Robberts Larivière