Dan Slott, Christos Gage (Writers), Giuseppe Camuncoli, John Dell, Terry Pallot (Artists), Antonio Fabela (Colorist)
The Story: Spider-Ock deals with the Spider-Slayer once and for all as the chaos at the Raft ends.
The Review: It can be hard to have a fitting and decent conclusion to any arc, however long it may be. Most of what is written, be it the action, the conversation, the exposition and so on usually leads to a finale that leads to the next arc or set up something else for the title in question, which is per course for pretty much every superhero books published nowadays. As we have seen Spider-Ock fight a big crisis at the Raft caused by the Spider-Slayer, many other elements went into the situation, as we are now in the very end of the whole deal. Does Slott and Gage manage to give us something exciting in the process of closing that chapter, however?
In many ways, they do succeed admirably in making the most of what Slott had set up in his early run with Peter Parker and with the new character that is Otto. The action is still pretty good, the character work that is to be found here is entertaining and solid and we do get some big surprises along the way. Both writers do a lot of good there, despite some minor fumbles here and there.
One of the most preeminent piece of the story is the action, as we get to see Otto trying to accomplish what he had promised in the previous issue: kill Alistair Smythe, the Spider-Slayer. The confrontation between these two, taking places two times in this issue, reads very well as it is, after all, a villain fight. As Alistair tries to play the nobility and heroism that was more akin to Peter Parker, it is always fun to see just how Otto differentiates from what was previously established. The fight between those two is brutal in some ways and it does show some surprising twist in the second and final encounter between the two. There’s also some other action scenes featuring some of the other characters, like the Lizard, which are actually pretty fun to read too, as the writers uses this character that had been teased during the whole arc. In short, the action is fun and it does play up to may things introduced before in smart ways.
What is also pretty solid would be the character interactions and how everyone plays with each other. Slott and Gage knows who these characters are, as J. Jonah Jameson, the Vulture, the Scorpion, Boomerang and others all reply to each others in ways that sounds true to how they have been written in the long period of time they have existed. Of course, the character that plays very well against the other would be Otto himself, who is always so delightfully arrogant and sure of himself, a true scumbag that seem to be in control of every situation he’s in. The way he deals with Jonah near the end of the issue is particularly surprising and it does show promise for what will be coming in the near future.
As good as some elements were, however, there are some weaknesses here as well, chief among them being the pacing. It’s not a huge problem, yet it seems that the situation is resolved rather quickly in this issue. There are, of course, many elements that come into play in this issue an no doubt Slott and Gage had a lot to introduce here, yet it seems that close to everything is a tad rushed here and there. It’s by no mean something that break the issue and makes it completely unable to be entertaining, yet the issue could have taken it’s time a bit more.
Another small aspect, which could be almost nitpicky on my part, would be the fact that the Lizard is not very present in this issue. Considering the fact that he is heavily featured on the cover of this issue and that he had been teased quite a bit during this arc, it is a bit disappointing to only see him in about a page and some panels, only for him to have been a bit useless in the aftermath. Considering what has been done with the character, it feels a bit like a missed opportunity that his presence is so small in this issue.
What’s much less disappointing, however, is Giuseppe Camuncoli. During this arc, he had been in splendid form and here it is equally so. His panelling is excellent, as he combines bigger panels with smaller ones in order to provides big and small moments together, which does help in creating tension as we see the reactions from the multipe characters. This effect is, of course, enhanced thanks to the rather expressive, yet nuanced expressions of the characters. Camuncoli is not one to exxaggerate the character proportions and faces, which does help his style. However, he is much bigger in the poses and actions, which does help a lot in an action-oriented title featuring a superhero like Spider-Man.
Antonio Fabela is also very good here as well. The somber palette he uses for the prison and the warmer and lighter one he uses for the outside of the prison creates a rather great contrast, which does bring some visual diversity that is always appreciated. Much like Camuncolli, he can be very expressive, yet nuanced in alternance, which does some rather good work to set the mood in some key areas of the comic.
The Conclusion: Despite some minor problems here and there with the pace of the issue and the use of some characters, this issue entertains very well thanks to the character interactions, the action and some of the surprise brought in that makes the future uncertain for our character.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière