Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Spider-Man 2099 #8 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

*** (three of five stars)

Favorite Quote:  "You know 'sinestry' isn't a word, right?  Just so we're clear."  "Yes, it is!"  "Is not!"  -- Lady Spider skoolin' Doc Ock on the grammerz

Miguel and May reel from the scene of death and destruction that greets them upon arrival at the "Safe Zone."  Miguel wonders to himself if he and May are the last of the Spiders and whether they're essentially just waiting for the Inheritors to kill them.  He's distracted from his reverie when he hears May vomiting.  She apologizes for being unprofessional, and a shocked Miguel reminds her that they're all unprofessional, since it's not like any of them gets paid for doing what they do.  They embrace as May asks if they're going to die and Miguel tells her, 'Yes.  But not today."  Miguel then notices the destroyed Spider-Voltron (from "Amazing Spider-Man" #13).  May suggests that they fix it, but Miguel reminds her that they can't return to 2099 with Daemos wandering around the place.  May tells him that she knows of a laboratory, cueing a flashback sequence.

On her Earth (Earth-803), May is having coffee with Lord "Harold" Osborn, and he tells her about his father's laboratory, dubbed the Stadium.  He says that it's gigantic and then asks May why she's inquiring about it. She asks him if he knows of Lady Spider, and he says that he does, reminding her that she "interceded" at May's party and stopped the Mayor's kidnapping.  May tells him that she was there because she's a friend and that she has need of the Stadium.  May says that the deal would require absolute secrecy, though Harold says that he'd have to ask his father.  In exchange for Harold getting her access, May agrees to go to dinner with him.  Later, Harold's father agrees to help, commenting, "How can we turn down the needs of such a brave woman?"  Of course, his father is the Goblin, though Harold is unaware of that.

In the present, May opens a portal into Earth-803 and they begin transporting the robot piece by piece.  Miguel wishes he were more of a technician than a biologist, and May reminds him that he has her.  Elsewhere on Earth-803, the Goblin calls his "fellows" to schedule a "visit" to Lady Spider in the Stadium.  Meanwhile, Miguel reviews May's schematics and suggests adding in radiation, noting that his autopsy of Daemos revealed that the Inheritors are especially vulnerable to it.  He asks if anyone in 1895 has it, and May says that she's just heard rumors.  At that moment, Peter calls (as seen in "Amazing Spider-Man" #13) telling Miguel and May to join the rest of the Spiders on Loomworld.  They're interrupted by Harold, who marvels at the size of the robot.  May tells him that he shouldn't be here, and he asks if they've met.  Before he can continue that line of questioning, the Six Men of Sinistry attack!

The Goblin notices his son there, and Miguel leaps into action, fretting that they don't have time for the distraction.  The Goblin tries to engage in banter, but Miguel slices his throat.  Miguel tells him that he'll bleed to death in two minutes.  However, he exposits to us that he deliberately missed the Goblin's throat, though he'll still bleed a lot.  He hopes that it'll convey the threat that he poses and encourage the Six to flee.  To underscore the point, Miguel tells him that he'll kill them if they don't flee and suggests that anyone with a problem with that leaves.  Mysterio promptly does so while Lady Spider engages Doc Ock.  Miguel attacks the Vulture, who distracts him so that Electro can zap him.  Miguel goes flying through a window, straight into Kraven's flying ship.  Kraven brags that the windshield is impenetrable and prepares to select a weapon to use on Miguel, but Miguel successfully punches his way through the windshield.  Inside, Doc Ock lands a punch on May, hurling her into the ground near the robot's head.  May hides behind it as Electro unleashes bolts of electricity at her.  Dock Ock, Electro, and the Vulture convene in front of the head, with one of them announcing that the Goblin had escaped.  As they're ready to attack, the eyes of the robot illuminate, and, suddenly, two fists pound Electro and the Vulture.  Doc Ock tries to rally them, but Miguel opens fire on him from the ship.

Miguel lands and asks May for a status report.  They confirm that they've defeated the team, though Miguel wants to make sure that Doc Ock is unconscious.  In inspecting the body, he expresses shock and tells May to find a lead container.  Later, Miguel exposits that the Six's first-rate technology enables May to rebuild the robot.  Moreover, Doc Ock had a radioactive power-center for his arms (hence the lead box) and would've been dead of cancer in another year or so because he didn't have the box properly lined.  May inspects her work and asks where Lord Osborn went.  Miguel notes that he probably left when he realized that his life was threatened, and May tells him to be nice.  Speaking of the devil, Harold knocks on his father's door.  His father tells him to leave, but Harold insists, barging open the door.  He discovers his father in his Goblin outfit, and his father coldly shoots him.  Miguel and May depart on the robot, and May wonders aloud where Harold will take her to dinner.

The Review
David does a great job of keeping Miguel and May at the center of this issue.  It doesn't spiral into chaos like many of the other "Spider-Verse" tie-in issues have, with too many characters passing through the pages for them to have any real impact.  Instead, David is able to focus only on two characters here, and it's a better story for it.  We see May's horror at the destruction in the "Safe Zone" and Miguel grappling with his feelings of inadequacy as he's exhausted everything he brought to the table with Daemos' autopsy now completed.  In other words, they both feel vulnerable in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds.  Given that the other "Spider-Verse" issues have had to do too much to explore the emotional impact of the stories that they're telling, David becomes really the only author to give "Spider-Verse" some sort of emotional grounding.

The Good
1) I loved Miguel cutting the Goblin's throat in the middle of his tirade.  People may argue with me on this point, but I always find steam-punk stories to be based on a certain innocence, since it implies that technology -- particularly technology capable of destruction on a massive scale -- doesn't actually cause large-scale damage to society.  (In other words, Doc Ock uses radiation to power his arms, but doesn't build a bomb from it.)  You can still have a quiet Old West kind of town, even if it's people move around that town on steam-powered hovercrafts.  Conversely, futuristic stories are almost always based on a similar cynicism, where technology was essentially destined to ruin the world where it's developed.  David throws those worlds together here, with the Goblin bombastically threatening everyone as if he has plenty of time to do so and Miguel, ahem, cutting right to the point.

2) The Six Men of Sinistry!  Loved it.  Miguel never saw the Sinister Six develop in his time, so I love that he got to fight one on May's world.  But, in typical David fashion, the Six Men aren't just there to be fun.  They're all masters of various forms of technology, and the raw material of their equipment provides May with the ability to reconstruct the robot.  In other words, the Stadium doesn't just conveniently have all the equipment that May needs; she and Miguel have to work for it.  No one works on a story on multiple levels like David, and this fight with the Six Men is an amazing example of that.

3) The art is really, really great.  The Six Men of Sinistry are just so amazingly well done.  Sliney needs to get himself on a steampunk comic fast.

The Unknown
1) We've now heard a few times that the Inheritors are especially vulnerable to radiation.  Silk first realized it in "Amazing Spider-Man" #12 when the Twins seemed more injured by the radiation on Earth-3145 than she was.  However, I'm not sure if she ever told Peter; she bails almost immediately in issue #13, once she discovers that Spider-Woman is trapped on Loomworld.  Miguel confirms here that the autopsy revealed that they are, in fact, vulnerable to radiation.  I don't remember Miguel coming to that conclusion last issue, but it at least fits.  I'll admit that I initially thought that the reason why Cindy fared better on Earth-3145 was that Spiders somehow process radiation better than the Inheritors.  But, with Miguel's comment here, it's clear that we've identified the Inheritors' one weakness, as we expected these tie-in issues would do.  We'll see where that takes us.

2) I'm glad that we returned to May's world.  I know that we're getting Silk and Spider-Gwen series, but I really hope that we don't see the last of May when "Spider-Verse" ends.  It makes me think (hope?) that she might be staying in Miguel's world (if he stays in 2099).  At the very least, I'm anxious to see her fate.

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