Christopher Yost (Writer), David Lopez, Andy Owens (Artists), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist)

The Story: The Avengers sees Spider-Ock acting crazily, punching everyone in the street. I guess that means he has to be stopped.

The Review: As superior spider-month goes on, with its new series and the focus on how Otto is moving in new directions, we get here the second series that debuted in this market approach to the character, which is actually a reboot and retool of Avenging Spider-Man. However, does this title go farther in its own tone and status quo, differencing itself from its predecessor and does it actually tell a good story in the process?

In a way, this does feel like an extension to what came before, as Spider-Ock interacts with a lot more characters in the issue, proving the fact that this might be a bigger book and a shift when compared to the ancient title. Having scenes with many of the superheroes living in New York and an encounter with the Avengers in the second half of the book. It does seem a book that is unafraid to go large, using many characters, some of them not even possessing their own book, in favour of the story and the feeling of cohesion of the Marvel Universe.

As far as the story go, though, it’s a mixed bag, as the concept in itself is very good, yet executed in a way that does not do it justice. The problem here lies in the pacing, as we get many scenes involving Spider-Ock punching and fighting many costumed heroes, sometimes to hilarious result (the first one come as a surprise and was very entertaining to see), yet the second half comes too late, leaving not enough page to properly develop the tale it wanted to tell. While many of the scenes of Spider-Ock beating various superheroes lend to humour and deepen the mystery that is viewed by both the readers and the Avengers, there could have been some of them cut out in order to lead more pages to the resolution and to the actual conflict. The problem, mainly, is that when we actually understand why all of this is happening, it ends too soon, leaving us a few funny lines and some bedazzled Avengers and that’s it.

Really, it’s a shame as there are some solid elements here, like the dialogue, some of the humor and the characterization of several key characters. Yost understand the arrogance of Otto, playing with it both to advance the story and to provide entertainment as it clashes with the innate nobility of Steve Rogers among other characters. The problem itself is brought up in an efficient manner and the action is solid enough, even though the page counts for the build up and the explanation of what is going on could have been done better.

What could also have been done in a much better way, as much as it pains me to say, is the art. It never amuses me to bring down an artist, one that put some decent time and work into something, yet David Lopez is really off his game in this issue. What ails the artist, from what can be seen, is a clear lack of details and a rather huge variation in terms of visual quality from one scene to another. In the Avengers fight scene, Lopez does not even bother with any elaborate background, which does not help the readers in identifying clearly everything that is going or even in relating to where this is taking place. What is worse, though, is how he draws many characters, with his traits and lines being a bit butchered, making the characters a tad ugly and rushed in terms of facial traits and expressions. It’s really saddening to see this, as the first few scenes in the book aren’t affected by those problems at all, as if he had taken his time on the first half, then rushed the job on the second half.

Rachelle Rosenberg, though, does not suffer so much from this problem. She does a good job in most scenes, depicting blows, energy, explosions, the areas and characters in a credible way, yet is brought down by the lack of details brought in the fight scene. It is a pity, as color wise, this is a strong issue in some pages.

The Conclusion: Even though it is a natural expansion on the theme brought by the previous title under Chris Yost and that there is a neat concept to tie things together, the execution fails to bring a good pacing to the story and David Lopez is not up to the level he can very well be. A rather weak beginning to a new title.

Grade: C

Hugo Robberts Larivière