Review: Avenging Spider-Man #6 by Mark Waid, Greg Rucka, & Marco Checchetto

Avenging Spider-Man #6

Written by: Greg Rucka & Mark Waid
Art by: Marco Checchetto
Coloring by: Matt Hollingsworth
Lettering by: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $3.99

Note: This review is for the digital version of the comic available from Marvel Comics on Comixology

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to pick up this book. As much as I like Waid’s run on Daredevil, this is the second crossover we’ve seen with a Spider-Man book in the last few months. I will admit that a few times I came awfully close to just dropping Daredevil, not wanting to support this and encourage Marvel to make this the new norm.  But I am like a junky who needs his fix, so had  to pick it up.

In Daredevil, Waid has built up a really cool story about Matt liberating an “Omega Drive” from Marvel’s major “crime families.” The Omega Drive is basically Fantastic Four unstable molecule technology which happens to contain everything you could possibly want to know about AIM, Hydra, Black Spectre, Agency Byzantine, and the Secret Empire.

Daredevil kept waiting for the groups to come after him, but they can’t seem to get their acts together. In Daredevil 10.1, he had Reed Richards extract all the information about the Black Spectre and allow SHIELD and other groups to completely destroy the organization, hoping to force a confrontation.

Summary (contains spoilers): Omega Effect starts with Reed Richards telling Spider-Man what’s been going on with Daredevil and this Omega Drive. Reed is tied up with an experiment that he can’t leave (conveniently), so he asks Spider-Man to check on his old friend Daredevil. As Spider-Man approaches Matt Murdock’s apartment, he finds himself under siege by Hand ninjas.

Inside the apartment, the Punisher has arrived to offer to take the Omega Drive off of Matt’s hands. I haven’t been reading Punisher’s series, but he seems to have seen better days…

Meanwhile, after Black Cat told him that his hiding place for the Omega Drive sucks, Matt has taken to wearing it as a necklace. Oddest bling ever!

Matt catches a hint of woman’s shampoo on Punisher. We find out that Punisher is working with a partner, a Marine Sergeant named Rachel Cole-Aves who’s husband was killed on their wedding day. She bursts in to help Punisher take the Omega Drive from Matt, and moments later Spider-Man and the Hand burst in as well. The heroes manage to defeat the Hand, and decide to come up with some kind of plan.

It is agreed that they will have Reed pull the data off the drive while making concentrated attacks on the “Megacrime” groups. They will then openly destroy the Drive in order to get “Megacrime” off of Matt’s back. Punisher reluctantly agrees, and that is where the issue ends.

Spoiler alert, I bet Punisher tries to betray them. Just saying…

Review: The characterizations in this comic were perfect. I loved seeing how these three very different characters all approached this situation, and what their motivations were. I don’t think I’ve ever not enjoyed a comic where Spider-Man and Daredevil teamed up. They are just such a natural pairing, and Rucka and Waid really showed that relationship perfectly.

This is the first comic I’ve ever read with Rachel Cole-Aves, but she seems like a great counterpart to Punisher. I especially liked how both Matt and Spider-Man commented about Punisher finally getting another woman in his life. I haven’t read Punisher in close to fifteen years, and this crossover probably won’t change that, but I do find myself curious to know more.

I also thought the art on this book was great. Marco Checchetto isn’t a name I immediately recognized, but looking at his work on Marvel Wikia it seems like I’ve read quite a few comics that he’s drawn (especially Amazing Spider-Man), and he is currently the artist on Punisher. This issue had some pretty complicated action sequences with dozens of Hand ninjas at a time, and Checchetto really made it work well. I especially loved this panel since you get a real good sense of what each hero was doing.

This might just be me, but I did think that Punisher looked a little like Sterling Archer from the beginning of the “Heart of Archness” trilogy:

While I did enjoy this issue, I did think it was far from perfect. For one thing, Daredevil is normally three bucks, and the Omega Drive story has been pretty self-contained (other than the other unnecessary crossover with Amazing Spider-Man…another four dollar comic). So I did feel like I was getting ripped off being forced to buy a series I had no interest in for an extra buck just to keep up with Daredevil.

Thankfully, Punisher is only 3 bucks, so I don’t mind that one as much. Also, like the Amazing Spider-Man crossover, this book didn’t even feature the normal Avenging Spider-Man creative team, so I couldn’t even get a sense of whether or not this was a comic I would normally read.

And while I liked how they pulled off the Hand fight, it really just felt like it was thrown in to give the story some action scenes. I almost would have preferred this story start with a quick three way brawl between Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Punisher. Instead we get “NINJAS” for no real discernible reason. Almost felt like some of the early issue of The Tick that way.  I know I am being picky, but I really was expecting one of them to say:

I also think that the heroes’ plan for dealing with the Omega Drive was pretty out there. Let’s go on a bad guy beatdown rampage and then destroy the MacGuffin. That should make sure the bad guys never bother us again. Uhm…yeah, I am not thinking that will work. Besides, I can’t see Punisher or Cole letting that drive get destroyed without them getting their hands on the data.

Overall, this was a pretty good comic. I didn’t regret buying it (though I did regret paying 4 bucks for it), and the characterization and art were great. I did think the unnecessary ninjas were kind of tacked on, and am not quite sure the heroes’ plan made a lot of sense. If you like Daredevil, you should probably pick it up, otherwise, there are better options out there for your four bucks.

OH! And anyone disappointed by a lack of Darkseid joke, I have two more comics of this crossover to review. I can’t waste all my material!

Final Score: 7.5 – Not bad, but no where near as good as Waid’s Daredevil run. Great art and characterization make up for a lot, but not enough to justify the price tag.

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