Dan Slott (Writer), Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba (Artists), Edgar Delgado (Colorist)
The Review: Spider-Ock takes care of Shadowland and Wilson Fisk, not with an eviction notice, but rather with an army and some surprises.
The Story: How does Otto actually differ in the way he does things when compared to Peter Parker? This question, it seemed, was the main point for a long time, as the role of Spider-Man had been taken from our heroic villain (or perhaps villainous hero?), to the ire of many. Dealing with many of the plot points and with some of the characters from the previous Amazing Spider-Man run, the series was entertaining as it showed the position about the super-heroic life both men had taken, yet it seemed always to be a bit restrained by such a vision. In a way, Slott had to take it very slowly, since Peter Parker, a character that is absolutely beloved by many, had been killed in a rather quick and unceremonious way. Ever since that big issue, the series took its time in presenting us with how things would be done from now on as we got to know a bit more about Otto, his methods and his goals.
In this issue, we see just how big the character was thinking, as he does something that perhaps a lot of readers of the Marvel universe were waiting for: the destruction of Shadowland, the big pagoda in the middle of New York that served as the headquarter of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin. While this was something that seemed terrific on paper, it did not particularly made a lot of sense that none ever dealt with it in a permanent manner, considering the Marvel universe has people like the Avengers to deal with such problems. Not only that, as there are more superheroes in the Big Apple than one can count, which went a bit far in my suspension of disbelief.
Thankfully, the downfall of Shadowland gives us a great look at just where this series might go and the scale on which Otto might operate. As the pacing of the first scene goes on, we see just how the people living in Shadowland have to deal with such a bizarre landscape and how it affected their live, as we see just what Kingpin is up to. The arrival of Otto on the scene here is dealt in a big way, as we see just how he use his many resources and how far he is willing to go to prove his superiority as Spider-Man, delivering the people in the process.
Here, Slott shows the biggest differences between him and Parker: ambition and confidence. Looking at how Otto assault Shadowland, readers can see how prepared he was, why he did this and just what he has in store for those that were in the wrong. In many ways, this is villainous Spider-Man is getting bigger, yet in ways that are morally ambiguous, with his army, his cameras and his willingness to make his own rules. Otto, as in the previous issues, remains an interesting lead thanks to this morality and the way he affect those around him, as the road is paved for more adventures that may yet surprise us like this issue.
Of course, there is more going on in this issue than the big action scene, as the writer juggles a bit with his plotlines, inserting two newer one with Kingpin and Hobgoblin, while playing with some more foreshadowing with the mysterious new Goblin. As the series move on, it seems to create a divergent identity for our hero and the potential the title has, which is quite something to read.
Of course, the writing and the plot is only but parts of a whole when it concerns comics, as it would not be near as enjoyable without a talented artist. Thank goodness we have the hyper-expressivity of Humberto Ramos, who brings his cartoonish postures and sensibilities to this title. He has a talent for exaggeration in the details, which can be seen very well in the slim Spider-Man, the tall and chubby Kingpin, the huge action and the general expressions on the faces of his many characters. However, he also possess quite a talent for scale, as he really know when the panels, pages and elements need to be big. The assault of Otto on Shadowland is something huge, memorable and Ramos really land the pacing and the size, both literally and figuratively, of such an act committed by the character. Simply put, he is marvellous here.
Still, it would be a waste not to mention Edgar Delgado, who brings the colors to life, helping the scale of such a comic to reach new heights. His work on the luminosity, the night effect and the use of warm colors like red and orange on a mostly dark background really do enhance the appreciation of a multitude of elements, like the action and the poses.
The Conclusion: Delivering a surprising issue with plenty of action, ambitious twist on the Spider-Man formula and some delightfully bombastic art, Slott, Ramos, Olazaba and Delgado manage to continue the entertaining adventure of Spider-Ock on a high note.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière