By: Dan Slott (Writer), Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba (Artists), Edgar Delgado (Colorist)

The Story: Spider-Ock gets into a fight with Cardiac, then get asked for a checkup by the Avengers.

The Review: After reading this issue, I cannot say that Dan Slott does not possess the ability to advance a plot in interesting ways. This issue here gives us quite a lot in terms of development and characterization in meaningful ways, but not without its share of problems along the way.

One of those problems, however, is the voice of some of these characters. Not that Dan Slott does not get who he is writing in every context, but it’s rather the way he is doing so. One of the important character in this issue is Cardiac, a superhero that is also a doctor, some kind of renegade medicinal man that tries to heal those in need (which I have to admit, is a really cool concept). However, in the very first page of his introduction, we are brought up to speed not by dialogue boxes, or narration boxes, but rather with a good number of thought bubbles. Now, in some contexts, thought bubbles can be used effectively, such as when there is a mind reader or a telepath used in a story, using the thought bubbles to differentiate when they are speaking with their mind. However, when it is merely to dump a lot of exposition, it seems a little bit absurd, as most of the time it could be given to us via other manners. When we are shown who Cardiac is, I saw no need for the thought bubbles, as we are introduced to his concept in a much better way in the second and third page than in his thoughts in the first page. It even seems to me that his introduction would have worked a lot better without the thought bubbles in the first place. This may seem very nitpicky, but I do rather dislike the unnecessary thought bubbles.

What I did like, however, was the development on the Otto/Peter situation, with Peter regaining a little bit more control over his body. It is brought up in multiple places in the issue, as we see that even Otto is utterly confused about just what is happening to his new body, which does seem like he is losing control in small ways. This, in turn, bring us some more characterization from Otto himself, who shows just how much he loathes losing face and control, his ego being hurt in ways that he cannot seem to define. This brings up the flaws in Otto’s methodology even more, as a lot of people seem to notice that Spider-Man is actually acting strangely. Those who dislike the whole Spider-Ock thing shall thoroughly be pleased about this issue.

Another thing that is very much pleasing, both story-wise and with the Spider-Ock situation, is the Avengers scene. Last issue, we were treated to a scene where various members of the Avengers were debating whether Spider-Man, with his new violent ways, was still worthy of being an Avenger. In this issue, we get the result of that, as Otto is brought to Avengers tower, where he is greeted by Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Black Widow, Thor and Captain America who questions him about his new attitude. I have no doubt that a lot of people were waiting such a scene for a while now and let me reassure them, it does not disappoint. The way it ends also entails some good stuff for next issue as we shall see how Otto gets out of that one. Let’s just say that he has made one more bad decision here that will make the next issue very interesting.

What’s also quite interesting, visually speaking, would be Humberto Ramos art in this issue, as he is bringing his cartoony, yet energetic style with him. Ramos, in many ways, is a very expressive artist; making his characters strike various poses to convey their emotions or reactions to various events (it is a bit necessary with Spider-Man, as he does not have a mouth per se). He is also, despite his overall style, incredibly well-versed in smaller details, be it the smaller stuff on each characters suits or body language, the backgrounds or the random elements in the panels. His attention to detail, his poses and the whole energy behind the issue is enhanced by Edgar Delgado and his great color work. I have to say I particularly liked the lighting and lightning effects in the colors, with certain panels greatly benefiting from the lighter and darker tone of Delgado’s work. He does help set the tone nicely in most of the scenes, which does enhance the effect it has on us readers.

The Conclusion: While there may be some small nitpicky things to pick on, this issue does splendors in term of development, proving once more that Dan Slott is getting even more unpredictable with this concept. With Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado bringing their great talents, this issue is a must-read for Spider-Man fans or those who are curious about the whole Spider-Ock deal.

Grade: B+

Hugo Robberts Larivière