by Dan Slott (Writer), Ryan Stegman, Livesay (Artists), Edgar Delgado (Colorist)

The Story
: Bizarre events in the present cause much trouble for Miguel O’Hara, Tiberius Stone, Horizon Lab and Otto Octavius.

The Review: Ambition and continuity can be great tools for any writers working in super hero comics. When the creative team are looking forward to a vast number of issues in order to tell a story, they need to pace out some of the elements in order for the readers to appreciate the larger pictures. Storylines are teased, some are seeded early on and so forth in order for the title to keep a certain level of excitement. If done well, it can give us some superb stories, but if done incorrectly, it can bring problems like obvious decompression. There’s a fine line between the two and not every writer is able to be on a unique side of the fence for most of their writing careers.

This issue has absolutely no problem in term of decompression, which may sound like a very good point in favor of its quality, yet in this case it isn’t. Simply put, there’s just too many things happening here as the pacing and the focus of the issue suffers quite a bit because of it. Many of these events are of consequences and are things that some readers might have been looking forward to, yet all of them are crammed in this issue without the necessary space to really let it sink in. There are many characters receiving development and panel space, with the people at Horizon Labs, the Goblin King, Miguel O’Hara, Otto and Tiberius Stone all seemingly fighting for relevance in this issue.

The various developments are rather interesting, though, as Otto gets fired from Horizon Labs, the people from the labs discover some of the secret of Tiberius Stone, Miguel makes a decision about the future and so forth. There are many fascinating tidbits that could have took a page or two more in order to make the most of it. Some events here could change the book and its future, yet they are almost hand waved in favour of other events.

The focus on multiple protagonists also doesn’t really serve the issue quite well. Either the story focus on the heroic Miguel O’Hara, or it focus on the arrogant and usual protagonist Otto Octavius. The jumping around on the multiple characters make the direction of the story a bit obscure, as are the central themes. The inclusion of Miguel in the story makes for a sharp contrast to the not-so heroic Otto, yet it feels like a missed opportunity as it is never really brought to the forefront. Bringing Horizon Labs to the center is also a nice touch, as it makes for a good throwback to Amazing Spider-Man as the company had been important to that series, whereas in Superior Spider-Man it has been delegated to the background at best. It makes for a good comparison, yet bringing them up once more steal a bit of the thunder that the Miguel and Otto confrontation clearly needed.

While the story could certainly have been better in some important aspects, one of the biggest in terms of importance is very much respected as Ryan Stegman and Livesay bring out the action and the chaos nicely on the pages. There is a lot of motion and a lot of energy in these panels and pages, as nothing remains static for long, with Stegman being especially wary of the fact that this is sequential art he’s doing. Despite the lack of focus in the story, the flow in terms of visual is apt and never miss a beat. The characters, with their poses, faces and general expressions are also very well done, even with the masks covering their faces. A large amount of what is shown in the pages looks good, which does wonders in terms of merely enjoying the issue.

The colorization by Edgar Delgado is also really great, as the large amount of light, energy and various sources of luminosity is done really well. There might be an abundance of shining effect in some places, yet it never really hinders the art nor the story in place as he collaborates with Stegman nicely.

The Conclusion: We may have some lovely art by Stegman along with the colorization by Delgado, but the lack of clear direction and focus on a central theme makes the story a bit of a mess here. Some of the developments are interesting, yet it feels like it could have been centered a bit more.

Grade: C+

-Hugo Robberts Larivière