Throughout August and now into September, Marvel has been putting out special annual issues dubbed “Acts of Evil.” These books have mostly been stellar as they hinge on a hero fighting a villain they’ve never faced off against. This week, Vita Ayala and Pere Pérez have Ghost-Spider face off against…Arcade!
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
Ayala is one of the strongest new voices in the Marvel Comics scene and her work here is proof of that. This is also a great way to introduce yourself to Ghost-Spider, as she tackles a ton of robot Spider-Man rogues.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This annual serves as a good primer for Ghost-Spider who recently got a new #1 series explaining how she’s skipping over to the 616 universe to attend college. She’s not as familiar with the main universe and soon she finds out the hard way how true that is as she faces off against Arcade for the first time. Ayala has plotted a very good issue here. This is basically a fight comic concept and she nails that aspect by forcing Ghost-Spider to fight all of Spider-Man’s rogues in robot form. This could have devolved into a boring fight book, but Ayala never lets us leave Gwen’s head via captions. Her thoughts on each of the robots she fights allow us to probe and understand her a bit better. This all leads to a doozy of a confrontation, forcing Gwen to literally live through the horrible thing that happened to her 616 counterparts. This is where the book goes from good to great.
In this sequence, Gwen must save Gwen Stacy as Arcade’s Murderworld seems to be running on older storylines. The captions here point out how Gwen Stacy’s role in Spider-Man’s life was to be a victim and nothing more. An “inciting incident for a man in a mask” as Ayala puts its. It’s a bold statement about damsels in distress and how women being used in this way is an oversimplification and insulting to the woman heroes save.
The art by Pérez, with colors by Rachelle Rosenberg and letters by Clayton Cowles, comes together perfectly to make every bit of action intense and interesting. A lot of speed-lines are used to enhance the feel of a scene which works well. Given all the captions peppering the issue, I have to say Pérez did well to open up the book and leave plenty of room so nothing feels cramped. There are some clever layout designs too, like a page where Ghost-Spider fights Lizard and the panels crisscross across the page, conveying how zippy Gwen is as she beats down the Lizard. The use of Ben-Day dots is great too, giving the book an old school feel which links up well to the obviously old Arcade murderworld Ghost-Spider has fallen into. The color is quite bright in this issue, giving it a hopeful feel. Letters, colors, and pencils come together beautifully in an epic full page splash of Ghost-Spider fighting Spider-Man, further enhanced by the message Ayala delivers across the captions.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
It’s a fight comic through and through, so if you’re not one for kicking and punching, steer clear!
Is it good?
Acts of Evil continues to wow me each and every week. The creative team has put together a comic that will satisfy any action-frenzy itch while mixing in great character development and a strong message. Don’t miss it.