|THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 11, February 2015|
Whilst there is no doubting the sense of gratification generated at the very start of this comic as Peter Parker defeats Doc Ock and reinforces his leadership over the ‘ Spider-Army’, “Higher Ground” ultimately proves to be an incredibly frustrating and dissatisfying read. This is predominantly due to Dan Slott’s ever expanding storyline unexpectedly veering sharply away from concentrating upon the exploits of this comic’s titular ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ and instead following Miles Morales from Earth-1610 and Peter Parker of Earth-TRN123 as the youngsters endeavour to recruit the 1967 animated television series Web-head to their cause.
However after just a couple of bizarre semi-hallucinogenic pages set within the Earth-67 universe, the reader is abruptly informed by Editor Nick Lowe that they’ll need to purchase Issue Two of “Spider-Verse Team-Up” if they wish to “follow this adventure” any further. This blatant salesmanship by the writer and publishing manager is both infuriating and unforgivably crass, and is categorically poor storytelling.
Worse having wasted valuable time and sheet-space with this ‘wild goose chase’ the story-arc’s creative team then make a complete mockery of any previous promises that no important plot threads would be missed if a reader did not wish to pick up any of the “Spider-Verse” tie-in issues. For rather than provide some sort of recap as to what the Earth-616 super-hero was up to within the pages of Issue One of “Spider-Woman”, Dan Slott simply picks up the action back on Earth-13 and sets about narrating the grisly downfall of that universe’s Cosmic Spider-Man at the hands of Solus.
Admittedly the action which follows is fast-paced and fatally energetic as familiar spider-totems such as Spider-Monkey and Captain Spider are savagely slain within the first few panels. But does the American writer really think it is in any way appropriate that a reader must purchase another character’s comic in order to ascertain what the lead super-hero for this book is doing during such a crucial conjuncture of the series’ ongoing storyline? And just to add insult to injury, Slott even manages, despite the velocity and frantic speed of the battle, to still gallingly squeeze in a page of events based upon Earth-802 and for a third time have Nick Lowe inform the reader that they need to purchase yet another “Marvel Worldwide” publication in order to further follow the sub-plot. The sheer arrogance of such a marketing ploy beggars belief.
Arguably the comic’s only true saving grace is therefore the exceptional artwork of Olivier Coipel. But even the French penciller’s finely detailed drawings are rather ruined by his two-page attempt to replicate the plain-looking cells of the long-bankrupt American animators of Grantry-Lawrence Animation. Admittedly the brightly coloured but uninteresting panels look strikingly similar to those of the 1967 cartoon show. But they unfortunately just horribly jar with the intense, high-quality visuals found within the rest of the book.
|Writer: Dan Slott, Penciler: Olivier Coipel, and Colors: Justin Ponsor|