Saturday, May 19, 2012

Comic Review -- Amazing Spider-Man #685: Ends of the Earth, part 4: Global Menace! / Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, and Edgar Delgado

While I like the idea of this cover--Spidey and the two gorgeous superheroines Black Widow and Silver Sable posing all badass on a rooftop--it seems to fall flat.  The line work is good, and the composition's not bad, but it doesn't really seem to fit with the level of intensity the narrative demands.  The casual-ness of the rooftop scenario suggests they're in NYC, which is clearly not where the action takes place.  I also think Spidey should be depicted in his current costume now, and that the colors could have been a little more vibrant.  It's not bad, but it left me wishing it could have been more.

Spider-Man, Silver Sable, and Black Widow have taken out Sandman, but the odds are even more stacked against them.  Doc Ock has turned the world against the heroes, stepped up production of the parts for his lenses, and called out super-villains to help defend his factories.  Even S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to arrest them after they defeat the Rhino in North Korea.  Only Horizon Labs is working along with them, and Spider-Man reluctantly allows Sable to torture Sandman to get more information about Doc Ock's plans.  The remaining members of the Sinister Six, meanwhile, wonder if they should simply take the money Ock got for them and go their separate ways, but decide to remain with Ock when he demands they see the mission through to the end.

Spider-Man makes a counter-call to any and all superheroes who are willing to trust him, pleading for assistance in hindering Ock's plans, to which there are a number of responses across the world.  He and his team tackle a base in Symkaria, where they find a wealth of bad news: the factory is abandoned, Ock's satellites are finished, and he is about to implement his plan, which is not the friendly one he advertised to the rest of the world.  Bitter at his impending demise, Ock uses the satellites to deep-fry the world like he did in his first demonstration, starting with the portion that's currently facing the sun.  He intends to take the world with him when he dies.

Well, I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed that Peter turns out to be right about Octavius, but I can't say I'm very surprised about it.  Doc Ock has typically been a very spiteful and petty character (though there have been exceptions to this depiction), and I would imagine having to finally face down the endless maw of his impending death wouldn't do much to improve his disposition.  I think Slott took a good handle of the reins with this portrayal of him, and has set up a denouement that makes me want to see how Spidey can possibly beat him this time around.

I also like the scale on which Spider-Man is set in opposition to the world, thanks to Ock's manipulations.  He, Sable, and Black Widow are alone, with only Horizon Labs and a handful of heroes across the world agreeing to trust and help them.  It really ramps up the drama and the action, forcing Spidey to desparate actions like "acid-boarding" Sandman for information and using a pretty vicious detonation against Rhino.  Ock has clearly thought about the lengths to which he must go to finally beat Spider-Man, and at present, it looks like he's succeeding.

You REALLY think he didn't kiss
her back? (from ASM 679)
On a minor note, it looked like Silver Sable was about to admit she had feelings for Spider-Man, and while I wasn't a fan of the idea in the midst of a high-stakes global struggle, I was also let down that Peter essentially shut her down for Mary Jane.  I've always had issues with how Marvel ended their marriage, but I've never been a huge MJ fan, and have often felt that Peter should have a significant other who could hang in superhero circles (which is why I was a fan of the Black Cat's reunion with him).  Sable would definitely fit this bill, and I have to admit I was kind of wanting it to happen.  Oh well.

Artistically, things continue to look good, though I do wonder about some of the panels.  It seems some of the details get minimized or glossed over as Humberto Ramos continues to churn out page upon page upon page during this run.  It's not enough to make the issue look bad, though perhaps not as good as other issues I've seen leading up to this one.  Note to Marvel: please don't overburden your artists on your flagship titles.

Overall, this has been a good story, and I'm eager to see how it ends.  I'm not sure how much is left, but it feels like we're approaching the endgame soon--if not next issue, then the one after.  The story is compelling, and the artwork is good.  Highly recommended.


  1. One thing to remember is according to Dan Slott, Ends of the Earth was to have featured Black Cat and Agent Venom. But he did not have access to either character. So he used Silver Sable and Black Widow in their place. And speaking of Silver Sable's feelings for Spider-Man, the same could be applied to the Black Widow and Spider-Woman as well.

    1. I'll confess, I haven't read or heard that about either Black Widow or Spider-Woman. Do you know in which issues or story arcs those events take place? Clearly I have some reading to do...