Amazing Spider-Man #679.1
Written by Dan Slott and Chris Yost
Art by Matthew Clark, Tom Palmer, and Rob Schwager
The short of it:
The mystery of Lab 6 is getting a bit out of control for Horizon Labs employees Peter Parker and Uatu Jackson. Uatu sees their boss, Max, walking out looking unhappy, Peter’s spider-sense gets all tingly, and then there’s that ominous scratching on the door. They have to know! Is it Beast? Evil Beast? Zombie Albert Einstein? Who could possibly be behind that door? Well, to the reader it’s made no secret that the lab belongs to Michael Morbius! Using this lab and anonymity given to him by his friend Max Modell, Morbius searches for a cure to his condition of Living Vampirism, but alas, it is not to be. A botched cure, a flying face kick by Spider-Man, and it’s on! Enter Uatu The Monster Hunter, and then angry Max! There’s no saving the day when you fight a man with an incurable disease that makes him crave blood!
What I liked:
- I admittedly haven’t been on board with Spidey since Big Time started, really just coming in during Spider-Island, so the employees at Horizon Labs are still pretty much blank slates to me. I’ve grown to like and respect Max over the past few months, and Grady completely was sold to me after his time door (the last few issues). Bella, Sajani, and Jurgen I don’t mind, but then there’s Uatu. Uatu Jackson, whose name I hate, winds up taking center stage in this issue and has joined Max and Grady on the list of Horizon Labs people I like to read about. The fact that he’s ready to take on any monster at any time? So awesome.
- I’m not sure who did what with this issue between writer Chris Yost and Dan Slott, but given how much I enjoyed the issue, I’m content to just say that Spider-Man is in more than capable hands. Dan Slott has been doing some awesome work since taking over full time, and Chris Yost is one of the more underrated guys around and happens to write the already awesome Scarlet Spider.
- Matthew Clark isn’t the regular penciller around here, hell, he’s not a regular penciller at Marvel. This is a DC guy if I ever did see one, but something about that adds to the work here. Spider-Man in action, Morbius, Uatu the Monster Hunter, all the big money shots in the issue look great. He is able to emphasize the right things when it comes down to action and just setting up the perfect pose.
- Holy crap I love the cover to this book. John Tyler Christopher? I had not heard of you and your three first names before this issue, but now you’re on my list! Especially since now that I research your work I find that I’ve been enjoying awesome covers for months without even realizing it! He does the Voodoo covers! And the coolest Venom piece I’ve ever seen!
What I didn’t like:
- I fail to see why this issue was a point one and not just an issue in the regular numbering. Sure, it’s an accessible issue, but the point one gimmick is getting ridiculously tired.
- Peter is way too open to throwing on his tights at work, where Spider-Man really has no way to randomly pop in. Seriously, it’s one thing during a Spider-Island like event where he’s trying to save the city and they have the resources to help. It’s a completely different story when he comes swinging out of random ventilation shafts on an average work day.
- Morbius is there but he doesn’t go around going “Plassssmmmmaaaa” like he did in the animated series. I know, minor issue, but in all of the years of me reading comics, I think this is only the fourth or fifth issue I’ve actually bought that featured him. He’ll always be his “I was Twilight before Twilight existed” emo animated self to me.
- For as much credit as I’m going to give Matthew Clark for his handling of the action in this book, I just didn’t like his regular people characters. Not horrible, just sloppy. Especially Peter. He just didn’t look as comfortable handling people normally as he did with the costumes on.
Can we call the Point One experiment over yet? It started off with the idea that the issues could help new readers ease into books with an obvious jump on point issue, and now it’s turned into a way for Marvel to milk readers. What is going to spin out of this issue? A future arc of Spider-Man? Why wasn’t this just the next issue in the series? If nothing else, it disguises just how many issues are actually hitting stands. This is the second point one issue for Amazing Spidey, or am I missing one? This was a good story on its own, and it just really didn’t need the stupid numbering.
I really don’t understand how I’ve only really been exposed to Morbius through the cartoon. I’m digging through his appearances, and I think it’s very likely the last time I saw him in a book with Spider-Man (that I actually read) was back in Amazing #420 when they did a crossover with X-Man for the holidays back in 1997. Yeah, how do you like that? I can even tell you it was X-Man #24 and Nate’s powers convinced him he was a vampire after Morbius bit him. I know in the past few years he’s been anywhere with a needed monster presence, but I’ve avoided Marvel Zombies since Kirkman left, so yeah, this is my first time dealing with him in about fourteen years. Wait, no, I definitely saw his cameo in Spider-Island.
I love how the issue opens up with Peter being so happy that his job lets him get in and out as Spider-Man nice and easy, and at the end they’re putting up anti-Spidey safeguards. That’s Parker Luck. Anything he says can and will become a jynx against him.
I think the fact that Morbius is trying to adapt the Spider-Island cure to solve his own condition is a clever use of the recent canon. Now, I don’t expect him to succeed anymore than I expect the other potential cure recipient to come out the better for it. It’s so rare that anyone actually cures a ‘monster’ status quo to give the character a happy ending, and I can’t expect one to go to Morbius. Not even if he starts screaming for “Plassssmmmmaaaa”.
So yeah, this was a really serviceable fill in issue. It didn’t break from what was going on, it elaborated on a plot that has been sitting, and it set up what’s to come next. If anything, the only glaring flaw with this issue was Marvel’s insistence on making it a point one issue for no real apparent reason. Other than that, great job by the creators involved!