Friday, April 13, 2012
Comic Review -- Amazing Spider-Man #676: Tomorrow, the World! / Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado
I'm generally not a fan of covers with dialog on them, but I guess I'll forgive this one, as it's literally the only appearance Spidey has in the story. And besides, it's a corny, amusing-enough Spidey line, so it's not like it's out of place. Artistically, I like the action pose and the reflection of the Sinister Six in the glass behind Spider-Man. It is, at the very least, upfront about the premise, as the Sinister Six do take over this issue.
It's made clear from the get-go that the Sinister Six are preparing for something big: Sandman and Rhino are training up on their powers, Electro is helping put the finishing touches on the final suit Doctor Octopus will be wearing when he dies. After the Intelligencia, a team of smart super-villains, quickly (and remotely) dispatch a super-team known as the Winter Guard through the use of their doomsday weapon, the zero cannon, the Sinister Six move in on their secret geo-base headquarters in the North Pole and attack them.
What follows is your typical inter-team fight, with various members from one side paired up against someone from the other side. Eventually, the leaders of each team, Doctor Octopus and M.O.D.O.K., engage in a battle of wits, with Ock quickly gaining the advantage and forcing M.O.D.O.K. to admit that he's Ock's inferior. The Intelligencia, defeated, are then kicked out of their headquarters, with a warning to stay out of the Sinister Six's way. Sandman asks why they saved the world from the Intelligencia's doomsday weapon, and Ock simply responds that it was a means to an end: the Sinister Six would be taking over the world in 2012.
I have to admit, this was a fun issue. It's always nice to see a focus on the hero's adversary squad, particularly this incarnation. Ock's resignation to his impending mortality is not without ambition, and it was especially interesting to see Sandman talking to the Wizard in the middle of their battle, with their past friendship coming to light. I like small nods like that to continuity, however distant, as it shows the writer actually reads and cares about the source material.
Mysterio's line about thinking of the Intelligencia like Big Bang Theory, only evil, was pretty amusing as well.
From a larger perspective, it's also interesting to see the Sinister Six engaged in something that isn't directly either world domination or killing Spider-Man. Sure, I imagine this story was a stepping stone to it, but it's nice to see them laying the groundwork by doing their own little version of saving the world. And I have to say, at this point, I've seen Chameleon get caught twice in the last few issues. He's no Vulture; at least with him, you knew he could play his part. Chameleon keeps screwing up, and I want him to go away.
Artistically, I have to say that I like Humberto Ramos's pencil work in this issue. It's not perfect, and feels a little sloppy in places (like the Winter Guard's brief scene), but when he concentrates on the main parts of the story, it looks great. All of the characters look engaged, expressive, and the action is dynamic and fluid. Ock's look is both terrifying and pitiable, but he conveys such an overwhelming sense of viciousness that it's easy to forget that this is a dying man. Very good work.
Overall, this is a good stand-alone story that nevertheless adds a little bit of stock to the current "Ends of the Earth" story arc going on in ASM. The portrayal of the Sinister Six is both amusing and compelling in places, the artwork is very fitting, and it sets up the current arc nicely. Anyone who likes "Ends of the Earth" so far will want to read this. Highly recommended.