By: Dan Slott, Christos Gage (Writers), Giuseppe Camuncolli, John Dell (Artists), Edgar Delgado (Colorists)
The Story: J. Jonah Jameson asks for Spider-Man’s assistance in case the Spider-Slayer, who is supposed to die, gets away from the Raft. Guess what happens?
The Review: With the new status quo of Spider-Man’s life being firmly set in the Marvel universe and the Spider corner of this world of super-heroes, it seems that Dan Slott now want to continue his run by putting the character in a longer arc with some help from Christos Gage. This time, both writers use one of the earliest events from Slott’s run of the title, namely Alistair Smythe’s murder of Marla Jameson, to propel this story forward.
In a way, this is a smart take as it was one of the plot points that had been truly important in the development of J. Jonah Jameson as one of the primary supporting character in close to all Spider-Man books. Here, we get to see the continuation of some of the happenings from both Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man, which gives us a good look at the tapestry Slott has created throughout the years. It makes for a more cohesive experience that only people who had begun reading the ‘’Big Time’’ arc will truly enjoy, yet the dialogue and the script here is smart enough to provide enough information so that newer readers might catch on to the significance of the plot.
As much significance as the plot has, a lot of what we see here is setup for what will come later. As we see just what has happened to Boomerang, Vulture, Scorpion in the Raft, we can also get some of Otto’s life as plain old Peter Parker to bring out some balance on the title. However, the buildup of the situation is still well done as the lead up to the eventual scene where everything goes down does not disappoint by filling up with panels or pages that just fill out spaces. There are a lot of interesting moments here that does give us some of the psychology of some of the characters.
However, there is no character as delved upon that our titular character, Otto Octavius. It seems like a no-brainer, of course, yet there are some pretty smart scenes with him and just how and why he perceives some things like he does. There are various scenes where they take advantage of the older stuff with Otto’s presence in the Spider-Man book along with some newer stuff, like when he remembers just how he felt in the Raft, imprisoned in a cell and in his dying body or how he had been in the same class of Doctor Lamaze, his current teacher. There are also several moments where we can see his general arrogance, which always entertaining to see as it always makes a rather interesting contrast to the nice disposition that Peter Parker always had. If there was a weakness in the issue, though, it would be the fact that the comparisons that Otto describes between Peter and him are becoming a tad annoying. Some of them are legitimate and it is a part of his mission and his character to plainly state that he is better than him, however it is becoming slightly redundant after a while.
What’s not so redundant and is always fun to see is how Otto operates as Spider-Man, which is very different from how Peter did back in the days. The way he deals with close to all that has been thrown at him is pretty spectacular, albeit it sounds a little bit childish at the same time. While there had been some preparations and some hints toward an inevitable confrontation between Spider-Slayer and Spider-Ock, the way it comes to is basically akin to how children plays, with one talking about how he had prepared for what the other threw at him with a newer thing straight out of his imagination. Of course, it is written with far more intelligence that what a child would ponder about and it is infinitely more entertaining as it shows just how Otto is different, which is how it should be at this point. Show, don’t tell.
If there’s someone in the whole team who understand this, it has to be Giuseppe Camuncolli who does some very decent work here. If there’s a thing he is very good at, it’s the numerous facial expressions he can give to his characters. Even though a lot of his faces are generally small, he has a talent at drawing eyebrows, eyes positions and various other facial features in a way that renders the emotions very aptly. One time, I said that his poses were rather stiff, that he could not give the action in the script the energy it needed. Here, though, he is much better as he is much more evocative of what is going on in the plot, with the escape attempt of Alistair Smythe being a good example of that.
As sure as Camuncolli was great, there is also the case of Edgar Delgado, the colorist. One of his strength that is fully used would be the tone in collaboration with the lighting effects he uses. There are various levels of luminosity in some scenes and Delgado renders them all flawlessly in his coloring, which is something that can be very hard to reproduce in terms of storytelling.
The Conclusion: Even though a lot of what we see here is setup for the rest of the actions that will unfold through this arc, both Slott and Gage does manage to make it interesting thanks to some good scenes with Otto, while Camuncolli and Delgado renders their vision with talent.
The Grade: B
Hugo Robberts Larivière