Christopher Yost (Writer), Marco Checchetto (Artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (Colorist)

The Story: Kaine goes to visit his friend Peter, only to discover that he has turned into a colossal jerk. Cue Spider-Ock and his arrogant shenanigans.

The Review: Crossovers aren’t always handled quite well. Sometimes, they are simply single issues where another character or team guest-star in another title, showing just who they are in order to boost their appearances. Other times, they are handled in multiple issues where both writers and titles share their characters in a multiple-part story. Both can be done right, yet they each have their weaknesses and strengths.

This issue is part of the latter and unfortunately show very well one of the main weakness of this type of crossover: the fact that it is not a complete story. Of course, most issues these days are part of a whole considering how many writers are writing for the trade paperbacks these days, yet this one does not accomplish much on its own.

The story here is that Kaine visits Peter, being unaware of the switch-up that made Superior Spider-Man a controversial series to begin with, as Otto reacts very violently to his presence and the fact that Kaine is a clone of the body he inhabits. The confrontation itself is precipitated perhaps a bit too fast, as Otto goes on and tries to kill Kaine almost as soon as he shows up, getting to the action scene rapidly after the introduction to Otto and his life.

This prompt the issue to go toward territory that aren’t particularly pleasant, as a lot of the characters become unlikeable and the plot make way for a lot of action without giving the readers much to latch onto in order to enjoy it. The reasons for Otto’s reaction are believable, yet they are not delved very far as we get some text, a panel and that’s it. It is a bit fast in terms of contextualisation for readers to invest themselves in the conflict show here.

Thankfully, the battle between both characters is interrupted as a threat appears, bringing the action toward something else. Sadly, the conflict there is a bit non-descriptive and lack real importance or relevance, as monsters appear to do battle against Kaine and Otto. While the action is nice and does show the difference in personalities between both protagonists, it does nothing to make the situation particularly memorable or emotionally relevant for any of them. Even though the threat is finally unveiled near the end of the issue, it does so near the very end as the actual conclusion and explanation is due in the second part of the crossover, which would be in Scarlet Spider #20. This is basically a whole lot of setup with some action without much payoff, which is disappointing.

It’s a shame the story isn’t particularly great, as Marco Checchetto is very good here, showing he has the chops to illustrate this darker tale with energy. While a lot of the characters expressions are rather stiff or non-existent, there is no denying the fact that he does bring motion and impact to the action in this issue, creating a flow that is easy to follow. The poses are evocative and he is able to tell the story and the emotions through his pacing quite well, collaborating with Yost instead of being burdened with the script. The backgrounds are especially nice too, considering that not all artists create that amount of details in most panels. While the backgrounds aren’t visible on every page, the efforts of Checchetto pays off as the setting helps the story rather than hinder it.

Rachelle Rosenberg does help too, in her own way, with her coloring. Adding some very dark and cold colors, Rosenberg emulates the city at night, creating a comparison with the warmer colors of the two protagonists that put them easily in focus for the readers. While it’s a shame that the story feels a tad unpleasant, she is able to take advantage of this as the very somber palette she uses enhance the visual flair of the whole issue.

The Conclusion: Even though the art is lovely in both the lines and the colorization, this issue does not reach any high height as the unpleasant story that adds up to a lot of noise without much substance to it does nothing to truly satisfy readers of both Spider-Ock and Kaine.

Grade: C

Hugo Robberts Larivière