Written by Joe Kelly
Art by Paulo Siqueria
In this story arc, Peter finally decided to deal with the fact that his greatest nemesis is the nation’s most powerful man. Speaking of Norman Osborn, Harry is offered a job in Avengers P.R. by his old man at the same time. Oh, and Aunt May is getting married to the father of New York’s newly-elected mayor, J. Jonah Jameson.
This particular issue deals with Peter’s reaction to Harry’s suspicious betrayal to their shared belief of Norman’s scumbag nature and how he should react to that as a friend. After Peter’s argument with Harry, he seeks old standbys for advice. Peter ends up talking to a bunch of characters, from May to a Frontline co-worker to a special guest star. This gives the reader a chance to catch up with these characters in relation to the story and even their own little subplots (those that have them at least) while still maintaining the focus between Peter and Harry.
Harry, who is the story’s secondary focus, spends the issue trying to keep a hold on what is a struggling situation that he knows isn’t easy for him or those around him. Harry quite obviously would have an affect on Peter/Spidey’s mission to topple Norman, but it’s nice to see Harry being somewhat proactive. Proactive doing what, however, is saved for the next issue.
For a comic that features a fight between Spider-Man and Mac Gargan’s Venom, there really isn’t much of a fight. In fact, there’s only three pages worth of not much of a fight. Then again, if you’ve been reading comics for a while, you know better than to trust the cover. Besides, this issue isn’t meant to be action heavy. This is more for Peter to work things out in preparation for the bigger fights and struggles to come later in the story arc.
Siqueria does a good job in detail, showing individual bricks in background, creases and shadows in clothing, grain in wood and even shapes and wrinkles in facial movement. Even the lips and teeth of Venom’s smile are well done. However, it’s those faces that occasionally don’t fit the story, particularly a couple of (I’m guessing) unintentionally-comical angry faces from Harry. Also with the faces, there is occasionally the addition of cross-shape marks, particularly on Peter and sometimes on Harry. Not sure if these are meant to be random creases in the skin or maybe small injuries (nothing new for Peter), but they are apparent.
I particularly think the characters’ eyes pop out quite well in this issue. You can really tell apart Peter’s hazel eyes from Harry’s green and Bullseye’s deep blue eyes you could almost get lost in…if he weren’t a nose-picking psychopath. Additional credit should definitely go to inker Amilton Santos and colorist Jeromy Cox for that extra pop.
The backgrounds are well done. As mentioned with seeing individual bricks, detail shows through in May’s house, a dingy and dark alley and Avengers’ Tower. The background does simplify and even blur though when the panel calls to focus on a particular character, but not to a point where it’s disorienting for the reader. There are also a couple of nice touches in the background, such as familiar shadows of Peter and Harry, as well as a Peanuts-esque doll and a cleverly-named wine bottle in an alley.
There are a few instances of repeated panel usage, but there is usually enough added to make those repeats slightly different. However, one in particular does add a certain slimy body part to a repeated panel that does somewhat stick out like a sore thumb.
Finally though, I’m not sure if this is intentional or just my imagination, but the bald Mac Gargan reminds me of Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis. Is there something Marvel isn’t telling us about one of their most prolific writers liking to moonlight as a symbiote-suited cannibal?
It’s a decent comic in story and art for what’s shaping up to be a fairly good story arc about arch rivals and best friends being thrown together in a giant mix. Obviously not something new to the Spider-Man franchise, especially not with these characters, but for now it seems it will be entertaining.
Overall (Not an Average): 7/10