Friday, November 25, 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #671: "Spider-Island" Part 5

***** (five of five stars)

Favorite Quote:  "Don't worry, people.  It's gonna be okay.  I'm Mary Jane Watson...and I'm all the super hero you need!"

MJ fights off some mutated tarantulas and answers a cry for help at Our Lady of Saints Church, noting to herself that she really gets it, "The great power -- great responsibility.  The whole bag."  At the emergency command center, Spidey keeps JJJ, Jr. from killing the Spider-Slayer, webbing him in a cocoon and telling Glory to lock down the command center behind him, because he's leaving for Horizon Labs.  Using her connection to JJJ, Jr., the Queen "overhears" Peter and realizes that Horizon has developed a cure.  She takes control of Sajani, one of the infected persons, turning her into a mutated tarantula just as Reed is giving her the cure.  Spider-Woman subdues her while Reed injects Sajani with the cure, returning her to normal (and proving to the Queen that Reed has, in fact, manufactured the cure).  The Jackal sends Tarantula to Horizon Labs, where Grady and Bella are talking to Eddie Brock about his sacrifice.  Number Six appears (dressed in a hazmat suit) and asks them to leave.  He checks on Brock and then disappears in to the sewers, revealing himself to be Morbius.  Spidey, en route to Horizon, runs into Firestar and Gravity, who are protecting a Spider-Sense Jammer.  Madame Web observes their interaction, deciding it was time for her to take action.  At Horizon, the Thing is holding off the mutated tarantulas, pondering that it seems like they're setting up a diversion (as Tarantula enters the Labs).  Reed speaks with the staff members at Project:  Rebirth, who confirm they've cured Spider-King and reveal he's Captain America.  (Reed notes that, to synthesize a cure, they'd need to "cultivate antibodies from a living symbiote."  General Dodge tells him that how they did so isn't important at the moment.)  Madame Web psychically projects herself into Horizon Labs, telling Reed that the Spider-Sense Jammers are jamming her access to the Web of Life.  She also notes that they caused the loss of Spider-Man's Spider-Sense, which is news to Max Modell.  Max tells everyone at Horizon Labs to drop what they're doing to help "fix Spider-Man."  Meanwhile, Peter enters his lab...only to be attacked by Tarantula, who was able to enter given that he's got the same DNA as Peter.  Peter holds off Tarantula for a while with his Spider-Fu, but Tarantula, who has reviewed tapes of Peter's new moves, defeats him, making his way to the vat holding the cure.  Tarantula is about to throw a contamination capsule into the cure, but Peter webs it from his hands.  Tarantula grabs Pete and is about to throw him into the cure (which would eliminate his Spider-Powers) just as the Horizon Labs folks find the right frequency to restore Pete's Spider-Sense.  Pete is all the more powerful, with his Spider-Sense working with his Spider-Fu.  He fends off the Tarantula, hurling him into the vat.  Kaine emerges, totally healed, and informs Pete that the Queen has been behind all the shennanigans.  Meanwhile, Madame Web regains her ability to see the future, but realizes that the Queen also now has amped-up, almost godlike powers.

The Review
Holy crap, gang, a lot happens in this issue!  All threads (heh) come together here, setting up a truly awesome finale.  Even with two bad points, I'm still giving this issue five stars, because I found it to be a page-turning read.  I had no idea where Slott was going with the story (in a good -- nay, great -- way), and the surprise ending was not only a surprise but made sense in terms of the groundwork Slott's being laying throughout this arc.  Anyway, enough rambling.  Let's get to the good stuff!

The Good

1) I loved MJ with Spider-Powers.  All the more, I loved MJ noting that she understood Peter now, not only the power, but the responsibility.  I've mentioned a few times in these reviews that I was hoping that the people who love Peter and know his secret would feel this way, so I'm glad that Slott went there and showed it to us.

2) MORBIUS!  Awesome.  Awesome, awesome, awesome.  It makes perfect sense.  When Reed referred to Number Six's extensive knowledge of Parker DNA, I thought it might've been Tony Stark, given his experience with the spell that re-secreted Peter's identity.  But, Morbius is even better, because it makes sense why his identity was a secret.  (I loved his sewer entrance.)  Often, I find that these sorts of "secrets" just wind up being obvious ploys to inject drama into a situation despite not being all that shocking (see my "Control"/Misty discussion in "Spider-Island:  Heroes for Hire").  But, it makes sense that Morbius isn't just going to be wandering around Horizon Labs, grabbing a latte with Grady.  As usual, Slott really delivers here.

3) Yay, Spider-Sense!  When I first heard about "Spider-Island," I figured it'd be the way we'd see a return of Peter's Spider-Sense.  But, the way it's done here is awesome.  I loved Max's inspirational "call to geek," if you will, asking Horizon Lab's employees to focus all their energies on helping Spidey because they owed him.  Again, I've been hoping throughout this arc that people would see Peter and his awesomeness in a whole new light, and Max's speech just seems a great expression of the respect I'm hoping people keep for Spidey after this arc ends.  I mean, he'll always be misunderstood by the public, but having people close to him "get" him all the better would be great to see.  Also, I love that the Spider-Sense blended with the Spider-Fu.  Peter is BAD ASS now!

4) I don't know a lot about the Queen, but Slott really pulls off an intricate plot twist here.  I thought he did a great job connecting a lot of events.  The creation of the Spider-Sense Jammers is what interrupts Madame Web's ability to see the future, which in turn makes her desperately appeal to Reed to restore her connection, which leads to the resurrection of Peter's Spider-Sense, which leads to the super-powering of the Queen's powers.  Awesome.  Peter himself notes that his Spider-Sense is better, working with his Spider-Fu, so Slott makes sure not to only power up the Queen.  (See below, though, for the down side of this development.)

The Unknown

Is the Jackal dead?  Also, we still don't know how he knows Pete's secret identity.

The Bad

1) Spidey's conversation with Firestar and Gravity is a bit odd.  When they appear in "Amazing Spider-Man" #666, they were really awed and inspired by Spidey.  Here, they're kind of rude.  I mean, maybe, you know, it has to do with them battling crazed mutated tarantulas trying to take out the Spider-Sense Jammers, but still it was a little weird to see the tone shift without an explanation.

2)  Speaking of the Spider-Sense Jammers, I still feel like (as I mentioned above) Slott hasn't really fully explained them, or the "psychic barrier" they created, yet.  For example, they didn't seem to affect the Queen negatively, since she maintained her connection to the Web of Life, even though Madame Web didn't.  I still think Slott needed to do a better job of explaining how exactly the Spider-Sense Jammers created the psychic barrier.  He clearly connects Pete's Spider-Sense and Madame Web's visions to the mystical Web of Life, which also gives the Queen at least her psychic powers.  So, again, why would she not be denied her psychic powers if Madame Web was?  Also, why would this psychic barrier hem in the infected persons?  Answers we still need.

On Kaine
I thought having Kaine enter Peter's lab using his DNA was great.  Slott always thinks of this stuff.  Speaking of Kaine, I'm excited to see him healed.  I've seen the adverts for "Scarlet Spider," and, I have to say, I'm kind of excited about it.  I feel like Kaine has previously always been a character with an uneven characterization.  In "Who Was Ben Reilly," he was a crazed maniac trying to get his final revenge on Ben Reilly and Peter Parker for having the life he wanted.  (Like I said in review for "Spider-Island:  Deadly Foes," though, I still don't understand why was he furious at Ben Reilly and Peter Parker for having the life he wanted but not at Miles Warren for making him that way in the first place.)  However, in "Grim Hunt," he was heroic, sacrificing himself for Peter.  He's been a character who needed either to be purged from Marvel's history or to be rewritten from a new persepective.  I'm excited it looks like we might get that in "Scarlet Spider."  The author of that book, though, is going to deal with the blood that Kaine has on his hands.  I'm hoping making amends for his past will be part of his title, similar to Bucky in the upcoming "Winter Soldier" series.  (Next year is going to ROCK!)

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