Writer: Zeb Wells, Artist: Patrick Gleason, Colors: Marcio Menyz, Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna, Writer G.O.D.S page: Jonathan Hickman, Colors G.O.D.S. page: Erick Arciniega
We enter a new story arc in what is undoubtedly the weirdest Spider-Man run in years. Weird not necessarily in terms of tone, but what’s being done in the book. This new story see’s Kraven (actually a clone of the original) team up with the Goblin Queen (Ashley Kafka) to take the badness out of her and put it back into Norman Osborn. The motivation for doing this is that clone Kraven (Claven? Krone?) wants to hunt Spider-Man’s deadliest foe given that his ‘dad’ only beat Vermin when he tried to prove himself better back during the immortal Kraven’s Last Hunt.
This hook, isn’t the worst thing in terms of Kraven hunting the Goblin. Even without the ‘logic’ Krone is using here, the characters have a long history. Way back in Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1 47 it was revealed that Spider-Man got on Kraven’s radar because the Green Goblin (Norman at the time) hired him to do so. The Goblin didn’t pony up the cash (as they would have said back in the day) and was thought to be dead so Kraven hunted an amnesiac Norman instead. This little subplot was resolved MANY years later in Amazing Spider-Man annual 96 in a flashback story, but still, the connection is there. Having Krone with the extra motivation of killing the man who started his ‘father’ on the road to his suicide might be an interesting plot to pull on. It’s not mentioned here and I’m not expecting them to but we’ll see.
The whole thing about the evil essence being transported from one person to another is stupid. I don’t care that this is comics, and I’m willing to buy men who crawl up walls, girls with wings and nb’s with magic swords, but I hated this plot device when they turned Sandman evil again during the Mackie/Byrne era and I hate it now. Using a ‘mystical spell’ (its magic, we don’t have to explain it), Kraven sucks the evil out of the Goblin Queen who stays as is. I love Ashley Kafka as a supporting character and I hate what they’ve done to her here for the Goblin Queen character. I feel a similar way to Janine Godby who they’ve turned into Hallows ‘Similar but legally distinct from hit sensations Punchline’ Eve. Both characters deserve better, but I digress. I’m not even sure why these characters are working together as they only showed up together last issue in a fight, got down and dirty before now, teaming up. I’m assuming Krone hunted to kill her in stealing her badness or whatever and decided to cure her as a plus to his whole plan.
Anyway, Peter is unaware of all this, goes on a date with the lawyer he met last issue (called it), calls his ex for advice and it goes very badly. He then goes to speak to Norman who he knows is working late. I’m a big believer that any story can be done well if you sell it enough, but good guy Norman Osborn is a HARD sell and it’s not working. It was a plot line introduced during the atrocious Nick Spencer run; it was dumb then and it’s dumb now. Peter talking to Norman like they’re about to hug while casually bringing up the death of Gwen like Osborn left his clothes in the drier too long, just kills me a little inside. The stench of good guy Norman is something that hangs heavy over this run.
Kraven attacks, Peter gets stabbed and he’s turning evil now. I won’t hold my breath for anything half as good as ‘Revenge Of The Green Goblin’ where Norman tried to make Peter his new apprentice.
Glenn: Storywise, it’s a chore. It always is during this run. Is it bad? No but only because Nick Spencer’s run was bad and this isn’t as dire as that. It’s just bafflingly odd decisions that seem mainly designed to piss fans off. The fridging of Kamala Khan a few issues ago also weighs over this run more than good guy Norman and may be a decision that this run by Wells NEVER recovers from.
We’ll see how evil Peter does, I guess. Can’t wait for best hero ever, Norman Osborn, to lock up that evil Spider-Man or whatever.
Steve: This issue seems to be Wells doubling down on bad ideas. Rather than fresh storytelling, Wells continues to run with an ill conceived idea of good Norman. It works a little better if Peter simply works with him to watch him, sure he will break form at some point. But, as Glenn pointed out, they seem to have a sweet father/son moment. After 60 years of history, this should never happen. And now it seems we have the reversal with Norman good and Spidey bad. Peter is receiving some really poor treatment. To start the run everyone is mad at him. No one trusts him. As it was revealed what happened, Peter acted out of character to end up where he did. Now he will likely be evil. Not good Zeb Wells. The only high points here were the dinner with Tombstone’s lawyer. Of course, that is the ol’ Parker luck and very much in character. Felicia’s response to Peter’s date was also a cute page. Their interactions have been excellent throughout.
Glenn: Everything looks very nice because it’s Patrick Gleason and he always does a great job. Since coming to Marvel, Gleason has worked exclusively on Amazing apart from variants so he’s got it down in terms of drawing Spidey’s world. I just wish, like I did when Ryan Ottelly jumped from Image (he’s since run screaming back) that he was being given better stuff to draw. He’s doing a great job and will continue to do so I have no doubt. The art is a real saving grace here.
Steve: Love, Love, Love this!!! I have always loved Patrick Gleason. His run working with Damian at DC is one of my favorites artistically. He is refreshing after looking at JRJR’s awful character work throughout this run. Gleason’s faces and expression are so good. His action work is frenetic and realistically over the top. The page where Spider-Man is stabbed while covering Norman is fantastic. No detail spared- Norman cowering and covering below Spidey is brilliantly done and says a lot about Norman’s true character. The coloring is spot on her as well and brings his art to life- A+
Overall Rating: Based on 0-5 web cartridges
Glenn: 2 Web Cartridges
Steve: 2.5 Web Cartridges- only lifted by the art
Next Up: Amazing Spider-Man 33