You’ve got to hand it to writer Dan Slott: he knows how to ramp things up to 11. After his fantastic Spider-Verse storyline and the nearly perfect Superior Spider-Man I trust the guy completely when it comes to Spidey. That said, I was slightly perturbed to see a rather outrageous cover to this issue that just screams schlock. Now, to review the bugger!
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
“THE OSBORN IDENTITY” PART 3! Norman Osborn has slowly worked his way to a position of power in the Eastern European nation of Symkaria, and now has a goblin-ized army behind him. With Symkarian hero Silver Sable at his side, Spider-Man has all the forces and weaponry that Parker Industries can gather to take the battle to Norman. SPIDER-ARMY VS. GOBLIN ARMY!
Why does this book matter?
Given Peter Parker now has a global industry with incredible technological advancements at his fingertips it seems fitting the hero has brought his heroics to a global scale. This issue is the epitome of that as Spider-Man takes on an army and even defies SHIELD! Whether or not you like Spider-Man more as a street level hero you can’t deny how cool it is to see a story with the character you’ve never seen before.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
When you take a step back and look at the narrative of this issue it’s really just Spider-Man vs. Green Goblin all over again. The only difference is the stakes are higher (Green Goblin has an entire country manufacturing weapons) and the fight is on a battlefield. At this scale you’d think Slott would lose sight of the character, but Spider-Man continues to be as strong and silly as ever. He drops his quips, does the heroic spiel and Slott never loses sight of his character.
Longtime fans are going to need to read this issue as major revelations are discovered in regards to Silver Sable’s death and there’s major development concerning Green Goblin. Actually there are multiple, and it’s exciting to see because the character has felt irrelevant for so damn long. There’s also a fun twist when it comes to his look that should make him even more disturbing going forward. Both Harry Osborn and Silver Sable have great bits of dialogue to show off their bravado and Slott does a good job supplying tight believable dialogue.
Stuart Immonen litters this issue with double page layouts, which helps open up the action and make it feel big. One of his strongest skills is making technology look sharp and quite cool. With Spider-Man driving a motorcycle of his own design one might think of the coolness of the motorcycle of Akira. It’s slick and makes the somewhat goofy idea of Spider-Man on a motorcycle worth a look. Much of this book is wide sweeping shots with an occasional but rare close up, which requires Immonen to draw a lot of elements in a single panel. There’s a depth and detail that I’m not sure most artists could pull off here.
Ah, too much botox.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There are a lot of characters juggled in this issue, which takes the focus off Spider-Man and makes it have a different feel than you might be expecting. Due to the wide sweeping angles of battle it also isn’t as granular when it comes to character work. Silver Sable and Green Goblin steal the show in regards to character development, but it never feels that intimate due to the plotting and art. By the end of the issue it’s clear this is a war comic that progresses the plot, but leaves you wanting more in regards to character.
Is It Good?
Silver Sable and Norman Osborn steal the show in this wide sweeping story all about war. It’s a new take on Spider-Man to say the least, which makes the narrative particularly fun for longtime readers. It also contains major reveals and sets up high stakes for the next issue. In a storied history, this is bound to be an instant Green Goblin/Spider-Man classic.