Amazing Spider-Man #794

by Charles Martin on January 24, 2018

Amazing Spider-Man #794
Writers: Dan Slott & Christos Gage
Penciller: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colourist: Marte Gracia
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Bad news, Scorpio fans! Scorpio's made his long-awaited return and it's … really cheesy and nearly pointless? Well, perhaps there's a cool Spider-story here to console us. There is! Except it's not really gonna get started until next month. Uh, whoops? 

One year ago, Marvel Time, Spidey smacked Scorpio through a gateway that zapped him a year into the future. (That was 21 months ago our time if you're gathering data for a statistical report on the sliding timescale.) While Marvel's Mighty Marketers have never gotten this time-travel shenanigan straight - this issue's solicit has it almost perfectly backward - Dan Slott has always had it figured out.

Except this splashy rematch makes you wonder why he's bothered. It looks awesome but it's definitely not filling; it's a puffy aerated dessert of a fight. A meringue? A soufflé? Something in that neighbourhood. Mr. Slott is only telling us this story to set up the next one. Spidey doesn't even let Scorpio finish his villainous scheme monologue, and the remnants left behind are achingly generic.

Speaking of generic aching, this issue has a lot of disappointing dialogue. Actual grown-up professional guards talk about "ultra maximum security," a bystander says "that nutter's smashing up Big Ben" to subtly indicate we're in London-town, guv'nor, and more. Having both Dan Slott and Christos Gage on writing duty makes it tough to decide where the blame for this cheesiness lies. 

The script's also lazy about Spidey's status quo. Pete says this fight would be easier if he still had all his shiny Parker Industries resources. But he says it in front of a giant super-science "beat the badguy" cannon (let's call it the MacGuffinator) provided by his pals at Horizon U. It's exactly the sort of thing Pete would whip up if he still had PI. They even took the time to paint it Spidey-approved candy apple red.

There is one point where the script loops around the bottom of cliché and emerges into awesome territory: Bobbi delivers a clock pun at the base of the world's most famous clock while throwing a punch that makes a "Klokk" sound.

Stuart Immonen's art is terribly impressive from start to finish (Bobbi's corny clock-punch looks even better than it sounds). Marte Gracia's colours are a noteworthy part of the presentation, soaking each scene in intense neon shades that match the campy feel of the Scorpio story. A range of complex lighting situations are created and none of them clash - an easy-to-overlook but very impressive feat.

This issue opens with a pair of infiltrators busting into the Lockbox, a private underwater repository that's taken over SHIELD's "lock up the scary ☠☠☠☠" duties complete with the usual laughable vulnerability to plot-motivated theft. The thieves pop the Zodiac Key free for Scorpio and set this issue's plot in motion, but they press deeper into the Lockbox and the story keeps tabs on them. Turns out they're after a bigger prize, and we get to see it when we meet their employer at the end of the comic. The final page is major game-changer, and it promises insane developments (in a good way) in the near future.

This issue badly wants to be a "hop on board, things are getting great" point for once-bitten twice-shy Spider-fans. Though the new story arc has promise, I'm not sure that the campy, under-cooked cheese of this Scorpio yarn is the most tempting entrée for readers who feel burned out on Dan Slott's Spider-Man. The next issue might bring us into "OMG you gotta read this" territory … but we're not there yet.

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Charles Martin's picture
"Cor blimey, guv'nah, 'at bleedin' bounder's only gone and bollixed up the bloomin' Big Ben tower, 'e 'as!"