It’s a spider kind of week. In part one, we looked at the offerings from DC comics. This time, we’re examining the books from Marvel, including SCARLET SPIDER #6 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #687.
The events in SCARLET SPIDER #6 may seem tame compared to the threat of nuclear annihilation from last issue, but bear with me. This is actually an important installment, for a number of reasons. The plot revolves around Kaine going to a concert by Annabelle, and gets attacked by Ana Kravinoff, daughter of Kravin the Hunter. So naturally, this is important because it hints at future conflicts with Kravin.
But there a multiple little scenes that bring up or progress certain plots. We learn definitively that Aracely has a physic connection to Kaine, though neither of them know why. This connection allows her to know what Kaine is thinking and feeling, as well as how to speak English (thereby explaining that bit of weirdness in favor of many more). We learn that Scarlet Spider has become famous in Houston, with a mostly positive public opinion.
It just goes to show Texans apparently think more highly of tight-wearing people swinging around and fighting crime than New Yorkers do. Who knew?
The fact that they refer to him as the Scarlet Spider also gives Kaine no end of grief. All of this is tied to the old Scarlet Spider, Ben Reilly, and how Kaine doesn’t see himself as being worthy of the name or the positive attention. In various scenes throughout this issue, we see Kaine grow as a character.
And a couple other things get teased at. But that would be spoiling, now wouldn’t it?
Next is AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #687, and the conclusion of the Ends of the Earth. This is it people. Doctor Octopus is a few steps away from activating his planetary shield/genocide machine. And Spiderman, Black Widow, and Silver Sable have entered into a shaky alliance with Mysterio, formerly of the Doc Ock’s Sinister Six. And while only the Rhino stands beside the mad genius, Doc Ock has the Avengers under his control. How will this tense situation be resolved? Was Spiderman wrong about Ock’s intentions? And was this storyline worth following for like three months?
The answers are: awesomely, not really, and absolutely, respectively. And if you understood that sentence, treat yourself to a gold star.
This is an issue that makes use of every character’s…well character traits effectively. From the fight against the body controlled Avengers to the final confrontation with Doc Ock, most everyone gets a nod to their character history or who they are as a person. I especially like how they even remember that Thor’s hammer can only be used by one who is worthy, which apparently counts if the one controlling Thor is unworthy. I got a kick out of that.
But it’s not all laughs and stuff. Not going to lie, someone dies in this issue. And it’s not who you think.
My only major gripe comes from the ultimate non-use of the Horizon crew. They’ve been working in the background on the whole stealth satellites problem, but when push comes to shove they don’t really accomplish much. Maybe they’ll take the satellites down next issue, as stuff gets wrapped up and we prepare for the next story arc, but not here.
Which is a shame, because I like these guys and think Peter Parker becoming a scientist at Horizon to be one of the best things to happen to him. Remember years ago when Peter became a high school science teacher? That was so much better than him remaining a simple freelance photographer, and lent itself to interesting story ideas. But because it wasn’t his iconic profession, they eventually put him back into his old job, and so many opportunities were lost.
This is why comic companies need to be wary of giving fans everything they want. As smart as fans tend to be, they can also be really, really dumb.
In summary, I really liked Ends of the Earth, my initial misgivings and skepticism of global warming notwithstanding. My only regret is perhaps not having picked up that oneshot of the various heroes from around the world that answered Spiderman’s call to action. Actually forget it, I couldn’t be bothered then and I can’t be bothered now. Besides, a storyline should be able to stand on its own, and Ends of the Earth certainly did.
There was also the release of THE SPIDER #2 recently, but my hands were full already from all the other series I follow. Which is a shame, since it would have fit so well with the ‘Spider’ theme of this post.