By: Christopher Yost (Writer), David Lopez (Artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist)

The Story: Mysterio is loose in New York as he has gathered the attention of both Spider-Ock and the Punisher. Yet, is everything all that it seems?

The Review: Avenging Spider-Man is a dead title, as it will soon be replaced by another one, called Superior Spider-Man Team-Up (a book I shall review). As the title concludes, Christopher Yost gives us what he did best on this title: single issues story that had a beginning, middle and a conclusion. Here, we see Spider-Ock dealing with a new Mysterio, as per the whole ‘’Sinister Six’’ deal his story had while he also deals with Frank Castle. However, does this single story make for a good ending point toward the renumbering and the newer title this series will get?

The short answer would be no, as the story itself does not really deal clearly with a new status quo or even with new methods until the last page and it’s not exactly something naturally added to the story. However, this does not make this issue bad in any way, as the story itself is still fairly enjoyable with some twists and turns and some good interactions from Spider-Ock with other characters from the Marvel universe.

The character this month is a pretty popular one: the Punisher. Here, Chris Yost makes Otto tackles this vigilante as he show us how this newer Spider-Man envision Frank Castle, creating a few parallels in the story. It is smartly done, as the two characters are rather brutal in their methods, yet they do differentiate in key ways. Using what happened in Superior Spider-Man, Yost show us a side of Punisher that isn’t always shown in most of his apparitions, considering most writers tend to make sure he doesn’t interact with the Marvel universe and its cast of characters. His vision that he has of Spider-Man, has seen by Frank Castle, is rather fascinating, as it is not outright said, but subtly referenced during their encounters in the issue. While it is not the most important aspect of the issue, it is well-handled and it does show that Yost has a handle on Frank Castle.

What is perhaps a tad weaker would be the story itself, who tries to do too many stuff at once, presenting us the mystery of the newer Mysterio, the clash with the Punisher and the identity of who is giving away old villains identity. Yost tries to connect everything together, with the result that not everything connects organically, giving us a story that moves perhaps a bit too fast for us to appreciate the better aspects it has. Many scenes with the Punisher feel like they slow the enigma behind Mysterion to a crawl, as if Yost had to include him in order to still make this a team-up book of some sort. While they are entertaining, they do not particularly contribute to the plot at hand, which is a shame.

What’s not a shame at all, though, would be the artist for this issue, David Lopez, who draws with a good deal of energy the adventure and the action related to the adventure of this superior Spider-Man. Replacing Marco Checchetto, he proves to be very different, yet equally effectice when it comes to the more kinetic action of Otto and the Spider-Man corner of the Marvel universe, with the many poses he gives to Spider-Man. Angry, acrobatic, ponderous, he can draw them all quite well, giving us the lack of facial features the mask unfortunately give to the character sometimes. He also has a good design sense with panels, giving us inventive pages like the way Otto sees with his mask on or his emphasis on the position Spider-Man has during some of the action scenes.

Rachelle Rosenberg, however, is a bit weaker here, with a much more subdued palette this time around. While it is decent enough and does not bring the story down in any way, the colorization is never rich enough to elevate it to new heights. Perhaps it’s the script itself that does not leave much to the imagination, yet she can do much better.

The Conclusion: Having some problem juggling with several of the elements of the plots and with weaker colorization than usual, the issue nonetheless has some quality with the art of David Lopez and Chris Yost handle on the Punisher.

Grade: C+

Hugo Robberts Larivière