|THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 6, March 2016|
Featuring Bill Mantlo’s human mutates Cloak and Dagger in what many of this title’s 76,517 readers must surely have subsequently seen as a tactless marketing ploy following an announcement by “Marvel Entertainment” in April 2016 “that the duo would appear in their own television show”, this opening instalment to “The Dark Kingdom” story-arc starts excitingly enough courtesy of Dan Slott penning a dramatic jailbreak on board the floating Department of Justice Prison Transport, Stronghold One; “Quiet. You can scream for me later. First things first.”
Unfortunately however, any enjoyment gleaned from the uncharacteristically brutal attack upon Mister Negative’s goggle-mask wearing penal guards by the “two beloved Marvel heroes”, and the super-powered runaways’ intriguingly different ‘reversed’ abilities, is soon sadly diminished by an uninspiring ‘peek’ at Peter Parker’s rather flirtatious relationship with employee Lian Tang and his global industry’s business dealings with Shanghai’s Mister Quinghao. Indeed, not even the Berkeley-born writer’s introduction of Shade-influenced construction worker Bingwen and his rampaging wrecking ball can help re-energise a somewhat apathetic narrative that seemingly enjoys showboating Spider-Man’s numerous technological gadgets far more than actually telling an engaging tale as to how the wall-crawler is helping “save the world”.
Admittedly the Diamond Gem Award-winner does come close to salvaging this publication’s substandard storyline by having it conclude with Webhead’s three-piece suited alter-ego being ambushed in his “swankiest office” by Cloak and Dagger, as well as their Boss, Martin Li. Yet even this wonderfully theatrical cliff-hanger can’t help dispel the memory of the former Daily Bugle photographer patronizingly preaching to a dejected Doctor Wu that the best medical research man in China must drop everything “whenever… Spider-Man has one of his little adventures” and help him simply because “it’s all for the best.”
Perhaps the biggest disappointment to “Turnabout” though is Matteo Buffagni’s rather lack-lustre and bland pencilling. The Italian artist’s panels depicting Negative Man’s escape from Stronghold One are undoubtedly dynamically drawn, especially Tandy Bowen’s initial entrance having been teleported above the vessel by her long-time partner Tyrone Johnson. But as soon as the excitement dwindles and Parker begins eating “pork and spinach dumplings”, the “Daredevil” illustrator’s pictures seemingly lose all semblance of vitally and life, even when they’ve showing Spider-Man utilising his web-shooters’ cartridge seven… “Quick-drying web-cement.”
|Writer: Dan Slott, Artist: Matteo Buffagni, and Colorist: Marte Gracia|