Posted December 26, 2012 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Avenging Spider-Man #15.1

Writer: Christopher Yost
Artist: Paco Medina

Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 is an epilogue of sorts – or, actually, THE epilogue – to Amazing Spider-Man #700. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past two months, you’ve doubtlessly heard of the events happening in recent issues of Amazing Spider-Man, and you also probably know that next month, Marvel will start publishing Superior Spider-Man to replace the flagship Amazing title (the last issue of that title, #700, is out this week as well).

The fallout of events in Amazing Spider-Man #700 is the focus of this issue. Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 takes place a few days after #700, and takes us into the mind of the man who’ll be wearing the mantle of the Superior Spider-Man. Christopher Yost manages to make Superior Spidey endearing, in a sick and twisted way, and helps to remedy the pain caused by #700. It feels like he’d been writing the main character of this issue for years already – he’s got the dialogue down to a science, and the way he writes the character’s actions, state of mind, and emotions are telling, without being too hamfisted.

I’ll get this out of the way right now – I’m not happy with #700 . That’s definitely not a complete evaluation, though, since my answer to the question “was Amazing Spider-Man #700 a good book” is a LOT more complicated than that, as you’ll see in my essay on the book. However, there is no possible iteration of events across any and all multiverses wherein you could show me a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #700 and expect me to be happy about it. Admittedly, Yost helps make the events in issue #700 a bit more believable and a bit more acceptable. Not by much, though, but that hinges more on the actual circumstances than Yost’s writing. For his part, he manages to take a concept so volatile and even bordering on rancid and makes it a bit easier to swallow.

Kind of like making rat poison taste like week-old roast chicken.

Of course, Yost only bears half of the burden in this issue, and thankfully his partner here, Paco Medina, is definitely no slacker. The characters are beautifully drawn here, aside from the occasional awkward face or two.  Furthermore, I love how Medina’s art captures the in-universe subtlety of the true identity of Superior Spider-Man. There are little clues here and there that all is not right in Spider-Man’s world, but if you were in there, you’d have very few clues that something’s amiss. There is a definite hint of darkness in the panels, especially during Superior’s moments of introspection. The only things I could probably criticize about Medina’s art would be his action sequences, which looked a bit flat to me. I’m still not sure, though, if it was because of the inking or coloring, or if the characters just really looked static.

Now, the true measure of a Spider-Man artist lies mainly in the way s/he draws the hero (or in this case, the “hero”), and I’m glad to say that Medina doesn’t disappoint. The stages of development of the Superior Spider-Man’s new costume are shown to us here on step at the time, and the last two pages – showing Superior donning the new costume for the first time and swinging off – are a visual treat. I’m still not crazy about the design, but given the tone intended for Superior Spider-Man, I’m guessing that the costume was designed specifically to evoke this kind of feeling.


I’m telling you now, this is required reading if you’re a Spider-Man fan or if you’re on board for January’s Superior Spider-Man.

Buy it – Buy it, buy it, buy it.

Better reserve your copy now, though; it’s been said online that retailers seem to have under-ordered this issue. Also, make SURE to read Amazing Spider-Man #700 before you read this issue.

(By the way – the answer to the question I posed here? Wolverine and Doc Ock (as Superior Spidey) both first appeared as last-minute cameos in someone else’s book.)

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Mikael Angelo Francisco