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Avenging Spider-Man #20 – Review

AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #20

By: Christopher Yost (Writer), Marco Checchetto (Artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist)

The Story: Spider-Ock gets on a S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier in order to free the Chameleon from their prison, just as the Russian are getting ready to do the same. What are the odds?

The Review: I do have to say it’s a strange time to be a fan of Spider-Man. It’s even a stranger time to begin reading Spider-Man, like I did, just as a big controversial change had been put in the series. While the change from Peter Parker to Otto Octavius has been a rather weird one for a lot of people, it can’t be said that it hasn’t given us some quality stories in both the main title, Superior Spider-Man and its sister title Avenging Spider-Man. While it has been fun to see just how Otto acclimates to the life of being a webhead, it has been a blast to see just how he interacts with the larger Marvel universe as well. Having seen him with the X-Men, the FF and Thor, it has been fun to read how he sees them all and it has given us some surprisingly fun stories to boot.

This issue, though, is pretty much on par with what he have seen so far from the series, as Otto continues his mysterious plan to gather back his Sinister Six as he goes to the rescue of the Chameleon, his former accomplice. While this issue tries to present itself as a team-up between Chameleon and Spider-Ock, this is much more akin to a team-up with the Secret Avengers, as we get to see Marcus Johnson*, Agent Coulson, Black Widow and Hawkeye along with other key cast members from that series by Nick Spencer. The characterization we see here is pretty much spot-on for most of these characters, as we even get a pretty funny and likeable Spider-Ock as well, as Yost gets the way these characters are represented in their respective series as well as how Nick Spencer handles them.

His handle on the story, though, is good but not quite on the same level as some of the previous issues we have seen so far. The main reason, though, is fairly simple as in it’s the first time we’ve actually seen Yost write a two-parter in this series before. With most of this issue being setup for the inevitable action scene that is to develop in the next one, it could seem like there isn’t much happening here, but that would be untrue. There is still a lot of events juggled in this issue, as we get a political situation, a very short action sequence, an introduction of sort to the current S.H.I.E.L.D and its secret Avengers team and some kind of presentation of just who Chameleon is. Even though most of it is setup, it is indubitably interesting setup as it does the very thing it should do: interest the reader in what will happen next.

However, as good as the story is, it would be close to nothing without Marco Checchetto and his talent. As we had seen in his Punisher stint, he knows how to pace a story and how to represent the right tone and atmosphere to a story. It is funny and light when it needs to be, yet it can grown to be dark and menacing at the right time too, which is something that is really brought out also by Rachelle Rosenberg and her coloring work too. His character poses and action are fairly nice too, as I do believe he can draw one of the best versions of Hulk I have ever seen. If there is a little weakness, though, it would be in the facial expressions of some of the characters. Some of the faces here look very much stiff, being inexpressive or seemingly stuck in the very same expression, specifically around the eyes and forehead. While the mouth area and the eyebrows are somewhat expressive, there is place for enhancement for Checchetto with the way he draws faces.

The Conclusion: While it is mostly setup for the next issue, it cannot be said that this issue is uninteresting or badly-written as it provides us with a fun look at the S.H.I.E.L.D organization and its characters. With Checchetto and Rosenberg on the art, it also manages to look very good too.

Grade: B

Hugo Robberts Larivière

*Let’s just say that there was a very particular joke about that character I really loved. I won’t spoil it for you, but it does summarize my feeling about Marcus Johnson quite well.

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