On the Panel – The Amazing Spider-Man
Spider-Verse rages on in The Amazing Spider-Man #11 with more subgroups splitting off from the whole to accomplish various missions.
I’ve had a bit of a hiatus from comic writing lately due to lack of time and lack of anything worthwhile to say but I’m making up for it this week with 2 reviews. Both of them are Spider-Man related but I love Spider-Man and there was plenty of him in the last batch.
I will say this about Spider-Verse; I am having more fun with that than any other event in recent memory. It’s much easier to follow than a standard event and gives more than enough focus to the individual characters involved. It’s also not afraid to be fun when it really needs to be. In general I approve.
This issue gives us something that I’d personally been waiting for since this event started. The Doc Ock possessed Superior Spider-Man goes toe to toe with Peter Parker’s Amazing Spider-Man. Their initial conflict is over who gets to be in charge of the group with Ock unwilling to budge on this as he’s the one who basically got them to where they are now through his brilliance and careful study of the opponent.
Ultimately the fight becomes about something much more than that. Peter is clearly still struggling with what Ock did to him so to be able to physically confront him offers some much needed closure for him on that issue. What makes it more interesting is that Peter keeps quiet about this while Ock assumes that this version is from an earlier point in the timeline. It outlines the differences between the characters as Ock doesn’t consider the possibility of failure whereas Peter is all too aware of it. Bit of a side note but it’s odd that Ock never considers that he might fail considering how often he did so in the past. Right enough he was mostly stopped by Spider-Man and believes that he’s defeated him so I suppose it makes sense from that point of view.
Peter and Ock come to an understanding when Peter proves that killing isn’t the way to go. It hasn’t been working against the inheritors so far so it makes sense that something else should be attempted. Peter proves himself to be the better hero through his admission that he’ll never be as ruthless. It nicely mirrors the realisation that Ock will -chronologically- come to later when he relinquishes his consciousness to Peter. It also shows that Peter doesn’t let his personal grudges get in the way of the bigger picture. All very in character and excellently written stuff.
What follows this fight is mostly setup for other comics which both works and it doesn’t. Part of it feels a bit like admin that needs to be taken care of before the story can continue. It was never bad but lacked a certain sophistication that moves the story along organically. There was a really nice moment between Peter and Spider-Gwen where Peter seems to realise that Gwen can take care of herself and tries to let go of the hangup he has about putting her in danger. Gwen’s situation mirrors his where she failed to save her Peter so she completely understands where he is coming from.
The introduction of the villain Solus really increases the stakes. From the first panel he appears he looks hugely imposing and the fact that he manages to so easily defeat the Captain Universe Spider-Man solidifies him as a massive threat to the group. There’s a chance this might result in a contrived defeat but for now he’s a great villain.
Probably my favourite part of the issue was seeing Miles Morales and the animated version of Ultimate Spider-Man crossing into the 60s Spider-Man universe complete with simplistic animation. This part is basically a teaser for their own story but it works really well. I loved the observations on a Manhattan building being only 6 windows wide. The cutaway popping in courtesy of Ultimate Spider-Man was a great touch too.
A good installment of the Spider-Verse event that balances the serious nature of the story with the more fun and sillier aspects of it. The long awaited confrontation between Doc Ock’s Superior Spider-Man and Peter Parker’s Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t disappoint and cleverly highlights the important differences between these two characters.
Solus initially seems to be a threat to the group worth being concerned about. His first appearance raises the stakes in a big way and gives the story some extra pace to continue with following this.
The major problem I have with this issue in particular is it’s all setup with little in the way of payoff. Around half of the issue is devoted to promising development elsewhere. Captain Universe Spider-Man’s defeat is a promise of a bigger threat to come, Miles and Animated Ultimate Spidey cross into the 60s Spider-Man universe to give us a tease to be continued in another comic and other Spider-Men embark on the missions that have been seen already in some cases.