Posted November 20, 2012 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW, MAXIMUM SPIDER EDITION: Amazing Spider-Man #697, Scarlet Spider #11, Venom #27

Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Giuseppe Camuncoli

It’s geeks versus goblins in the last installment of Danger Zone, the second to the last story arc in the soon-to-be-replaced Amazing Spider-Man. Peter Parker and Max Modell are on the run from Hobgoblins Roderick Kingsley and Phil Urich, and it’s going to take every bit of wit and ingenuity in them to survive.

Dan Slott and Christos Gage present to us an epic, action-packed conclusion, as Spider-Man faces off against both Hobgoblins using their own gear. Well, technically, Norman Osborn’s gear, but, well, a goblin’s a goblin. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Slott and Gage make a great team. Admittedly, the way the Goblin conflict is resolved is somewhat predictable, but I have faith in Slott, and I’m sure he knows character potential when he sees it. We get a bit of character development for Max Modell as well, and we find out the fates of some of the integral members of the Spider-cast. A major foe also resurfaces in this issue – a re-emergence that is apparently due to the events in this comic book.

Giuseppe Camuncoli brings his A-game here as well – this is the best Camuncoli’s art has been in years, thanks in no small part to inkers Daniel Green and John Dell. For some reason, his characters look less thuggish now, which I greatly appreciate.  I can almost stand seeing him become a regular artist in next year’s Superior Spider-Man.

VERDICT: 4.5/5

Amazing Spider-Man #697 is a nice end to this story-arc, and provides the last piece of the puzzle for the next arc, Dying Wish.

Scarlet Spider #11 by Christopher Yost and Khoi Pham
Venom #27 by Cullen Bunn and  Declan Shalvey

Minimum  Carnage continues in the newest issues of Scarlet Spider and Venom.

The plot thickens and reaches its climax when what started as Carnage’s escape from answering for his crimes and that pesky Spider-Man becomes a full-on threat to the Microverse and, subsequently, the whole universe as well. It’s up to our two currently-pint-sized heroes to get along (boy, that’s gonna be difficult) and pick up the slack in order to save everything and finally send Carnage back to whatever ‘90s hell he crawled out of.

It’s no secret that I have no love for Carnage – let’s just say that on the comics character hierarchy, he ranks much lower than Sentry for me, and Sentry ripping him in half remains one of my favorite guilty-pleasure moments in comics. I was never really fond of Venom’s earlier incarnations, either, and Kaine was just too boring and unnecessarily complicated for me to fully appreciate.

This is why I really like what the creative teams on Scarlet Spider and Venom have done here. Aside from the fact that this is essentially a Spider-Man event without Spider-Man, it also gives both Kaine and Flash a chance to shine, and to prove that they’re not just useless duplicates of the real thing for Marvel to cash in on. The story is packed with action and a lot of violence, and it’s quite refreshing to see Spider-people on the side of the angels who aren’t afraid to step out of line a bit and swear a little. If Spider-Man is the happy-go-lucky do-gooder, then Scarlet Spider is the angry, disgruntled vagabond looking for a purpose in life, and Venom is the quintessential soldier who tries to strike a balance between following orders and following his own moral code (AND dealing with a crazy killer symbiote, on top of all that).

The transition between books is damn near seamless; the central characters retain their voices, and, despite a few differences between how Pham and Shavley depict Carnage, the look and feel of both books are consistent. I was one of the people who were worried about both books taking a dive in quality after their original creative teams leave them. I’m glad to say that I was wrong.

VERDICT: 4/5 (both issues)

Seriously, who would have thought that something good would ever come out of using freakin’ Carnage? Scarlet Spider and Venom are definitely two titles that deserve to be on your pull list. These newest issues are definitely enough to make me stay for the ride.



It’s a wonderful time to be a Spider-fan.

The end times are coming, though…


This triple-combo review is powered by Comicx Hub!

Mikael Angelo Francisco