Marvel Knights Spider-Man #14 Review

Reviewer : Tim Byrne
Story Title : Wild Blue Yonder (Part II of VI)

Writer : Reginald Hudlin
Penciler : Billy Tan
Inker : Jon Sibal
Colorist : Ian Hannin (Avalon)
Letterer : Cory Petit (VC)
Editor : Axel Alonso

The examination of Spidey’s new routine as an Avenger continues, as he deals with his new partner and battles with the Absorbing Man.

I’m torn on this story-line, and I’m not helped by the reference on the title page to the fact that this is part 2 of a SIX PART STORY. Sheesh! SIX parts? Just for a battle with the Absorbing Man?

Anyway, although particular moments / lines / panels are interesting, I find it difficult in good conscience to recommend this issue, or this story-line overall.

For starters, some of the characterisation is waay off-base. Sure, Wolverine is a feisty loner, but the idea that he would casually stab Spidey with his claws in the middle of a training session, merely because of a spat over Mary Jane, strikes me as incredibly improbable. His refusal, in essense to accept responsibility and apologise comes across as childish and silly rather than ‘tough’.

The whole deal with ‘Ethan’ was cute for a about two panels in the first issue, but is now just tedious. He’s got superpowers! He’s a big, muscled, yet mild-mannered reporter! WE GET IT ALREADY! Again, the advice that this will be carrying on for six issues doesn’t sit well with me for the idea of meaningful story development.

In fact, this whole sub-plot causes real damage to the secret identity trope. Shoving in our faces how obvious secret identities really are doesn’t help our suspension of disbelief when it comes to Peter and his double life.

The Absorbing Man is mildly interesting, and his interactions with his ‘seductive’ off-sider certainly can produce a wry grin. Its even a little clever when she picks up on his monotony of approach, considering the wide range of application for his powers. This story-line is moving slowly, but at least we feel that its going somewhere.

The art is mildly interesting, but some artistic decisions don’t sit well with me. Ethan is BIG…we get it. Proportionally about half as big again as Peter? Absurd. I know Peter is meant to be kind of spindly, but that’s just silly. Speaking of Peter, when did he become nineteen years old again??

As a Spider-Man completist, I’ll keep going, but for the more casual reader, there’s not a lot to see here.