What do you do when you have nothing but goblin gas? Apparently make a goblin slave army. Man, for a billionaire industrialist, Norman Osborne has lots of bad ideas. Fortunately for the humans of the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends are on the scene!
All the action is taking place in the Silver Sable native country of Symkaria, which is ruled by the evil Countess Karkov, dictator and ally of Osborne. Spidey and Sable are joined by the New Wildpack and groups of freedom fighters in their attempt to overthrow the Symkarian government, which put all of them on Nick Fury’s S.H.I.E.L.D. naughty list of people doing the right thing the wrong way.
Someday, I will need someone to draw me a map of Marvel’s Universe. Are Latveria, Symkaria and Sokovia all neighbors? Would the Doombots stand for a neighboring nation with an army of literal goblin zombies? Let’s leave all the politics to S.H.I.E.L.D. and move on.
The story quickly devolves into two pair of revenge stories, leaving Mockingbird to save the country. Silver Sable takes on the countess in a duel by swords. Spidey repeatedly falls for Norman’s traps that strip away his powers until they are left with a raw and primal slugfest.
This is the story that Dan Slott (Silver Surfer) has been driving toward. Stripped of everything but their anger and hatred, fueled by bitterness who would win? And what is the cost of that victory?
I have really loved Stuart Immonen’s art through the whole series but the rage becomes palpable on the page when Osborne asks why Spider-Man has made their fight personal and what did he ever do to Spider-Man. Immonen’s (A vs X, All New X-Men) single wordless flash to Gwen Stacy is all the explanation needed.
One problem that I have, is the story leans heavily on S.H.I.E.L.D. at the same time that we are seeing that organization heavily compromised throughout much of the Marvel Universe. It is one of the reasons I tend to dislike the “epic” multi-title stories that Marvel keeps pumping out with greater and greater frequency. They throw you off when you are reading the titles month to month and disrupt good storylines. Once we have separation from Secret Empire, I think it will help re-reading the story.
This has been a quick and fun story arc that Slott and Immonen have put together. It doesn’t have the operatic complexities of Slott’s Clone Conspiracy story, but by focusing on the anger Peter Parker and Norman Osbourne have for each other, the rest of the battle just become a proxy for their ideals which are quickly lost in their own fight. The first issue of the arc was a little shaky for me, but the end is well worth it. Go back and read all four together.
Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors: Marte Gracia & Andres Mossa