Max Dillon has been having a rough time as of late. His power levels have been fluctuating wildly and he’s long been known as a laughing stock in the supervillain world. But to top it all off, he’s lost his life savings and he’s none too pleased about any of it. Meanwhile, DB publisher and owner Dexter Bennett has managed to engineer a government newspaper bailout. With unemployment at a record high, the public isn’t happy that rich folks are getting handouts after running their businesses into the ground. Sound familiar?
So Dillon, in his Electro garb, promotes himself as something of a modern-day Robin Hood. Using You Tube as his soapbox, he wages a grassroots campaign to inspire the common man to rise up against the corporate bigwigs and bureaucrats who continue to get rich while the little guy gets stepped on. When the Amazing Spider-Man decides to intervene, the citizens of New York seem to forget that Electro has a criminal record a mile long and Spidey finds himself in over his head.
This was the first chapter in the Gauntlet story arc, which aims to reinvigorate some of the members of the wallcrawlers’s rogues gallery that have lost a bit of respect over the years and so far, so good. Kicking the whole thing off with Electro worked well: he’s not quite as outlandish as some of the old Spidey villains (no bubble head and he’s not named after an animal). It’s always easy to get behind the guy who’s been down on his luck and even though he’s a criminal, Electro’s rabble rousing had a lot of truth to it. I can appreciate a story that deals with current events.
I cannot, however, appreciate Mark Waid’s attempts to sound hip and young when he is clearly neither of these things. There were a few lines here and there that sounded so awful and out of place, as though he was desperately trying to convince you that he’s “with it”. There wasn’t a terrible amount of them though, so I’ll let it slide. For the most part, he did a great job of portraying Spidey/Peter as the eternally downtrodden everyman, J. Jonah Jameson as a humorous tyrant and so on and so forth. Your basic Spider-Man tale. It’s Mark Waid: He writes a good superhero story.
Paul Azeceta draws well too. Really well. His work reminded me of Sean Phillips from Incognito if he and Mike Mignola had a baby with David Aja but the baby was a bit cleaner than any of its three (curiously male) parents, and it was a great fit for the story. So were Dave Stewart’s colors – shadowy and moody when dealing with Electro and sufficiently bright and poppy when the Webhead hit the scene.
I thought it was a good issue of Spider-Man. Of all the writers currently working on the character, Mark Waid has a good handle on the “classic approach” to Spider-Man. But the star of this show was Max Dillon. While I’m not yet completely convinced that this is an “all new Electro”, the opening of the story showed promise. I’m a big fan of Rhino, Mysterio and Sandman, so I’m looking forward to subsequent chapters.
And I appreciated the use of current events in the storyline and the way in which Waid used them. I’m sure that in Electro’s head, he really is a victim of the system and something of a hero now. It all came out in the story without Waid having to beat you over the head with it. Electro’s just a common thug looking to take advantage of a situation and if it makes him look good and Spider-Man look bad - all the better.
Oh yeah, there was a backup story too that I didn’t really care much for one way or the other. It was about the Black Cat. Been there, done that. Yawn.