Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The Amazing Spider-Man [2015] #11 - Marvel Comics

Wrapping up both the “Scorpio Rising” story-arc and the ‘Zodiac Saga’, it is hard to believe that many of this twenty-page periodical’s 73,643 readers in April 2016 obtained too much satisfaction from a script littered with celestial-inspired gobbledygook and nonsensical astronomical gibberish. For whilst Dan Slott’s narrative undoubtedly contains enough explosions, fist-fights and energy blasts to sate the thirst of even the most action-demanding junkie, it does so for seemingly no other reason than to frustratingly ‘pad out’ the final (perhaps fatal) confrontation between Peter Parker’s alter-ego and Vernon Jacobs Fury.

Foremost of this comic’s substantial failings is the Berkeley-born writer’s ill-placed belief that he can simply have Spider-Man’s main antagonist, Scorpio, rationalize all of the script’s bizarre plot developments by crudely explaining that it is all connected to the Grand Orrery, “a gift from the same dimension as my Zodiac Key”. This hand-sized “clockwork model of our Solar System”, a device which has conveniently lain undetected within the Rosetta Stone for millennium, is insignificant-looking at best and yet the American author would have his audience believe it can generate an energy pulse strong enough to encourage the twelve zodiacal constellations in the sky to mysteriously “blaze a trail” towards some mystical doorway buried deep within the grounds of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London; “So, just to be clear… Yadda yadda holy ascension. Blah blah blah Key to your destiny.”

Such lack-lustre lazy writing is further compounded by Slott’s inability to explain just what is happening within the white abyss Scorpio unlocks with his “giant key”? Just where is this chamber's precognisant power coming from and how is it possible that the Zodiac’s leader can ‘tap into it’ in order to obtain a knowledge of future events and not the titular character? It’s certainly unclear as to why Spidey shoulder-barging his nemesis further into the brightly-lit compartment so very simply “took out” his potentially all-powerful opponent?

Perhaps because he was as bemused by his co-creators unfollowable penmanship as doubtless many of this publication’s bibliophiles were, Giuseppe Camuncoli’s breakdowns for Issue Eleven of “The Amazing Spider-Man” are somewhat disappointing. The Italian illustrator’s depiction of the wiry Wall-crawler himself is excellent, as is his wonderfully retro imagery of the Living Brain battling Zodiac with his large whirring arms. But such pulse-pounding energy-charged panels are somewhat marginal, with the vast majority of the artist’s drawings appearing rather overblown and superfluous, as if there simply wasn’t quite enough story to go around…
Writer: Dan Slott, Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Inker: Cam Smith

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