By: Dan Slott, Christos Gage (Writers), Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Dell, Terry Pallot (Artists), Antonio Fabela (Colorist)
The Story: Spider-Ock deals with Alistair Smythe and his goonies inside the Raft as things get rather chaotic.
The Review: If there’s something that a superhero fan needs to face sometime, it’s the fact that a lot of those capes and tight comics are build on a very specific thing: action. Now, many might argue, with legitimacy might I add, that the superhero genre has evolved in the many years of its existence, yet a lot of them are based on the infallible principle that those men in costumes fight evil or crime or whichever cause they see as wrong in violent ways, much to our delight.
We see here the second issue of a three-parter dealing with Otto fighting people he had put in the Raft, a prison for super-humans, enhanced criminals and the likes. As he fights Alistair Smythe, he also has to contend with Scorpion, Vulture and Boomerang, three super-villains that he has beaten quite violently in the early issues of Superior Spider-Man. The issue is mostly fighting, as Slott and Gage moves several other pieces on the board for the conclusion as they try to give us a story that both encompass plot points from Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man.
Most of the action here is taken from the latter title, as Spider-Ock has to fight three villains at the same, with each of them hungry for vengeance at the terrible beatings they received from the much more brutal Spider-Man. Here, the fuel for the fight is the payback-driven characters versus the planning and deceitful Otto as they duke it out. Giving us his always entertaining arrogance and self-confidence in his intellect, it is always good to see how much Otto differs in his methods, using everything to his advantage. Always planning several moves ahead, it gives us some good and surprising twists to see just how Otto uses everything at his disposal in order to win his fights. Sure, sometimes it seems like Otto sounds a little bit like a child saying ‘’Ahah! But I have a counter-measure for that as well!’’, but I do believe it’s part of the fun, as one of the main reason why Otto is entertaining is the fact that he is different from Peter in many aspects, including the way he fights.
Many of the points that come from Amazing Spider-Man, however, form the story. The Alistair Smythe conflict with J. Jonah Jameson and the fact that Curt Connors is aware of his lizard form all comes from the Peter Parker era of Dan Slott’s tenure on the Spider corner of the Marvel universe. While not all of these points are fully taken advantage of, the feud between the Spider-Slayer and J. Jonah Jameson is a sound one, albeit it is a tad silly as well. Sure, the man wants to see Smythe pay for his crime and he has a personal vendetta against him, but even Jameson, in most of his portrayal, knows when a situation is much too dangerous for him. It is not entirely out-of-character and it is part of the character development he is receiving, yet it seems a tad excessive and forced that Jameson might want to throw his life in such perilous danger like this. It fuels the story and gives us some tension for what might come next, yet it is not the most logical thing I have seen the character do in a while.
What is most logical, however, would be that Marvel let Giuseppe Camuncoli continue to be a part of the team of artist on rotation on this title. The last issue was pretty beautiful to look at and this issue continues the trend as he rocks the action that makes those superheroes book so enjoyable to begin with. The many poses he gives Spider-Ock makes us believe that each blow he receives and give has an impact, as he does so for the other characters as well. As lot of his pages vary between the classic panelling and the more inventive one, which does give a lot more value to the panels that have more amount of work in them. It is a double-edged sword, however, as it also makes the rather unoriginal one seems even more so in the prospect, but the balance is even enough as to makes this a compelling package nonetheless.
What is a little bit less compelling, though, would be the colorist work. While Antonio Fabela does a pretty decent job here at showing us the darker area of the Raft as he uses some shadowing techniques that are fairly impressive, he subdues his work perhaps a little bit much in certain areas. This gives us the feeling that the colors aren’t actually that important to begin with and it clashes a bit with the more bombastic work that had been the staple of this series in terms of colorization to begin with in some specific panels. However, there are a lot of panels where Fabela participates in the tradition of the series, especially where energy, explosions and big action are presented to us. It is by no mean bad and it is fairly excellent in some places, yet in many others it is rather dull.
The Conclusion: This middle issue of this three-parter gives us a good dose of action and moves its elements in rather interesting areas, yet some of these elements are rather questionable. Still, the art is lovely and the story is exciting enough to makes this a pleasant experience nonetheless.
Hugo Robberts Larivière