So here’s where we’re at: Peter Parker was supposed to go out on a date with Carlie Cooper. Next thing you know, Lily Hollister comes smashing into the Coffe Bean and pops out Norman Osborn’s baby, the first human born with Goblin Serum in its veins, which makes him very valuable to Doctor Octopus. Y’see, Doc Ock believes that the kids DNA can cure him of his crippling illness, so he’s hired a whole bunch of superhuman thugs to ensure that the baby is delivered to him. Spider-Man snatched the kid up and was made to look like a babynapping lunatic on the news. Spidey ran into Harry and dropped the kid off with him, but it turned out the kid died.
Not really. And it wasn’t Harry either; it was the Chameleon. But Spidey doesn’t know that and now he’s totally pissed and seeking revenge, which brings us to the events of this issue…
There’s a great scene at the beginning of this issue in which the Hypno-Hustler turns himself into the police in order to escape Spidey’s wrath. It’s comedic at first, due to the nature of the villain in question, but the mood very quickly turns dark when the police realize the gravity of the situation: their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man isn’t feeling too friendly tonight. No quips, no jokes, no silly banter - the whole issue pretty much boils down to Spider-Man kicking the crap out of a bunch of villains like Spot, Looter and Electro. Waid and Azaceta keep us on our toes throughout this book with breakneck pacing and a legitimately creepy Spider-Man. It’s a good, old fashioned “That’s all I can stands and I can’t stands no more!” that illustrates Peter Parker’s classic loser status without having him get dumped by another girl or fail to make rent. Like the hero in Kenny Rogers’ “Coward of the County”, all of Spider-Man’s pent-up frustrations boil to the surface when he realizes (falsely) that he’s failed to save the life of this newborn child. And as Kenny so perfectly illustrated through song, sometimes you gotta fight when you’re a man.
And it’s all pretty badass.
The downside? Well, normally I’m an enormous fan of Azaceta’s artwork, but something seems off here, like maybe he was trying to make a deadline or something. Or maybe Matthew Southworth isn’t his regular inker? It still looked good, but not as good. And that breakneck pacing I mentioned earlier? Sometimes that breakneck pacing feels a tad rushed. It kind of feels like we’ve just got to get this issue out of the way to get to the grand finale. And when did the Chameleon become such a whiner? Isn’t he a criminal mastermind on the level of Doc Ock himself? It isn’t so much that he buckles under pressure – I expect that from a supervillain – but he’s just such a bitch about it. Sorry, there just isn’t any other way to say it. It seemed a little odd to me, but maybe he’s always been like that and I just didn’t know. I guess if I had been attacked by the Lizard and a rampaging Spider-Man, I’d probably be cowering in a corner too. It’s not like it ruined the story or anything.
Meh. Honestly, my complaints are few. I’ve been enjoying this Origin of the Species storyline and I’m looking forward to the conclusion next month or next week or tomorrow or whenever the next issue comes out while Spidey’s on this weird schedule.