Aug 13, 2011

Spider-Mannotations: Amazing Spider-Man #667, Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #1, Spider-Island: Deadly Foes

Spider-Island continues!  There's a lot less to explain in this week's Amazing Spider-Man #667, so I'll also be covering the two Spider-Island tie-in books that came out this week: Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #1, and Spider-Island: Deadly Foes!

Amazing Spider-Man #667

Somewhere in Rhode Island, a Hasbro executive is drooling.
(art by Humberto Ramos)

Creative Team: Dan Slott (writer), Humberto Ramos (pencils), Carlos Cuevas (inks)

Capsulized Review: Good first issue.  Introduces the heroes, the villains (Tarantula and the Spider-King aren't too exciting so far, but I'm sure we'll learn more about them), and the situation, and ends with a nice manifestation of the ol' Parker Luck.  Excellent work from Ramos, too.

Page 7: The Maggia is the Marvel Universe's equivalent of the Mafia.  Going back all the way to 1965's Avengers #13, it's a Marvel tradition now, but it apparently started out to avoid offending the actual Mafia, who controlled comic book distribution back in the '60s.

"As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a guy with a burlap sack on his head."
(X-Men #22, written by Roy Thomas, art by Werner Roth and Dick Ayers)
Page 13-14: Humberto Ramos really went nuts with the Spider-Man costumes here!  In addition to the standard red-and-blues, there's the black costume (from ASM #265), the Negative Zone costume (from Peter Parker: Spider-Man #90), the Future Foundation costume (from FF #1), and the recent stealth costume (from ASM #650).  On later pages we see the Scarlet Spider costume (from Web of Spider-Man #118), the Iron Spider costume (from ASM #529), Ben Reilly's Spider-Man costume (from Sensational Spider-Man #0), the armored costume (from ASM #656), the Captain Universe costume (from ASM #329), and the never-used Alex Ross Spider-Man movie costume.

Page 18: The guys in robot suits are Mayor Jameson's Anti-Spider Patrol, cops in high-tech Mandroid suits modified with Spider-Slayer technology.  They debuted in Amazing Spider-Man #602.

Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger #1

Dagger's costume; still embarrassing.
(art by Mike Choi) 
Creative Team: Nick Spencer (writer), Emma Rios (artist)

Capsulized Review: The story is good, but the art is amazing.  Rios is one of the best artists Marvel has right now.

Page 1-3: These give a pretty concise summary of Cloak and Dagger's origins, so I won't have to elaborate too much.  Tyrone's reference to "his guilt" refers to an incident where his stutter prevented him from warning his friend about an oncoming vehicle; his friend was struck and killed.

Page 6: The Coffee Bean was Peter Parker and company's college hangout.  When we last saw it, it was owned by Harry Osborn...and apparently now it's franchising.

Page 8: Steve Rogers owes Cloak big time because he teleported him and his "Secret Avengers" out of Tony Stark's Negative Zone prison in Civil War #7.

Cloak and Dagger briefly lived with the X-Men on their Utopia island, following the Utopia crossover.  "But wait, Rob!" you say.  "This issue said they got their powers from a drug experiment!  They aren't mutants!"  Well, in the '80s, Marvel decided that the best way to get a book to sell was to make it about mutants; thus, it was revealed that they were latent mutants whose powers were only activated by the drug experiment.  They even went so far as to title their ongoing series The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger.  In 2009's Cloak and Dagger one-shot, X-Men scientist Dr. Nemesis did indeed determine that they weren't mutants after all, and thus they left Utopia.

Page 11: Norman Osborn recruited C&D into his own team of "dark" X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #513.  Eventually, they realized that Osborn was a maniac, and defected to the actual X-Men, along with Emma Frost and Namor.

"Not while we're wearing these costumes, at least.  I'd trip, and you'd ruin this book's all-ages rating."
(Uncanny X-Men #514, written by Matt Fraction, art by Terry and Rachel Dodson)
Page 16: The man in the metal demon mask is an Inner Demon, one of Mr. Negative's henchmen.

Page 17: Mr. Negative is a natural foe for C&D: as revealed in the Dark Reign: Mr. Negative miniseries, he received his powers in the same experiment that created them.

Spider-Island: Deadly Foes

The name's an homage to Deadly Foes of Spider-Man, and the cover's an homage to ASM #238!
(art by Stefano Caselli)
Creative Team, Hobgoblin story: Dan Slott and Christos Gage (writers), Guiseppe Camuncoli (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks)

Creative Team, Jackal story: Fred Van Lente (writer), Minck Oosterveer (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks)

Capsulized Review: The Hobgoblin story provides a nice and unexpected wrap-up to the Phil/Norah/Randy love triangle.  The Jackal story is tremendous fun; good fight between a bunch of crazy villains, and Van Lente gives the Jackal some great lines.  I do worry that some of the Clone Saga references might be lost on readers without my encyclopedic knowledge of Spider-Man arcanum, though.

Page 2: Phil Urich stumbled into a vat of Goblin-goop in 1995's Green Goblin #1. The ex-hero twelve-steppers he refers to here are Excelsior (later the Loners), who debuted in Runaways #1.  In the Loners' eponymous miniseries, Phil fell in love with Turbo, late of the New Warriors, but she was in love with Darkhawk.  This sent Phil over the edge and left him about as nutty as he is now.

Page 4: Urich battled Spider-Girl in Spider-Girl #4.

Page 10: The poison stingers Randy manifests here are intriguing.  The closest thing Spider-Man's ever had to them are his retractable non-projectile wrist-stingers, which he manifested in 2006's The Other storyline (and which have subsequently mysteriously disappeared)...but they also bear quite a resemblance to the mechanical sedative stinger-launchers Ben Reilly had as part of his arsenal.  Curious.

"Oh man, Wolverine's gonna kill me."
(Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #4, written by Peter David, art by Mike Weiringo and Karl Kesel)
Pages 21-22: This...oh man.  The sheer continuity clusterf*** of the Gwen Stacy clone is TOO MUCH for this post to handle!  To find out who this is and why she's calling herself Joyce Delaney, join me in a few days.

There is a good reason for a Gwen Stacy to turn up in London - after her father George died, she went to stay with her uncle Arthur and aunt Jean there for a while, starting in ASM #93.

Page 26: This battle took place in ASM #149, and seemingly ended with the deaths of both the Jackal and the Spider-Man clone.  Neither turned out to be dead.

Page 30: We've never seen a failed prototype version of the Gwen-clone before, but that doesn't preclude one from existing...

Also, in case you missed it: Abby-L.  As in Kaine and Abby-L.  Fred Van Lente, you will feel my wrath.

Page 35: The Carrion virus...jeez, that'd take almost as long to explain as the Gwen Stacy clone business.  That's a story for another post.  To make a long story short, the Carrion virus was developed by Miles Warren, and transforms all those infected with it into a living corpse; it also bestows a number of powers, including (as demonstrated here) a death-touch and enhanced regenerative abilities.

Dammit, Carrion, we're never taking you to Antiques Roadshow again.
(Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #28, written by Bill Mantlo, art by Frank Miller and Frank Springer)
And that's a wrap!  Join me next week for Spider-Island: The Amazing Spider-Girl #1!

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