Writers: Mark Waid and Tom Peyer
Artists: Salvador Larroca (p), Danny Miki (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
"There's no gene for fate"
The idea of Spider-Man being public enemy number one is hardly new, but I had high hopes for this story because this time out Peter had done something where it was quite easy to accept that people would be breaking out the pitchforks and torches welcome. However, I had hoped the writing would take a more intelligent approach to the idea than simply having Joe and Jane Mutant forming a Spider-Man hating mob. I mean at the very least show Peter making a failed bid at explaining why he lied to the public, as it's a little too obvious that the writing is holding our hand when it offers up plot details like a young child being severely beaten simply for wearing a Spider-Man shirt. Plus the scene involving J. Jonah Jameson reading embarrassing passages from Peter's dairy was downright goofy, as it makes Jameson out to have the emotional intelligence of a spiteful teenage girl. In the end I guess what I was hoping for was a more balanced approach, as right now it's a little too apparent the writing wants us to place our sympathies with Peter. Still the exchange between Peter and the mutant guard in the young boy's hospital room was a lovely example of how the rest of the issue should've played out, as one can understand where the mutant guard is coming from in his beef against Peter.
The last page reveal of the Green Goblin's identity certainly deserves credit for taking the story in a completely unexpected direction, and while I still haven't given up on the idea that this story will still be able to tie itself to the continuity of the main House of M miniseries, it's getting a little difficult to figure out how they'll pull it off after this little surprise. Still, taken on it's own merits the story did manage to do something that has become increasingly rare in today's industry, as I make a habit of visiting all the normal haunts of comic readers, and I didn't see a single reader suggest this plot twist. I mean I had all my money bet on Gwen Stacy, as her hostile take-over business meeting with Norman left me with the impression that she wasn't all sweetness and light, but this final page twist is even more shocking when it comes to the profound impact that it's sure to have on the future progress of the story. Still, one has to believe that the writers involved in this project have a set plan that they're following, and that this flying by the seat of our pants vibe is simply the result of a well executed surprise twist. If nothing else this last page is sure to make the final issues of this miniseries quite interesting, as the book has ventured into unknown terrain.
"News reader from the Black Lagoon"
Salvador Larroca's work on this issue leaves a little to be desired at times as I find there are moments when the characters look a little stiff, and the backgrounds have a flat quality about them, though part of the blame for this latter problem could be the one note colours of Liquid! which don't really pull the readers eye to any part of the panel. Still there are sections of the issue where the art does manage to offer up some moments that impress, as there's a lovely one page shot where we see the reception that the Rhino has prepared for the Green Goblin. The final page is also a great looking visual moment, as I loved how the madness was instantly drained out of this character's expression. The heated quality of the panels where Gwen tears into her father and Uncle Ben for the role that they playing in driving Peter away from the comforts of home was also well reflected by the art. The action scenes in this issue are also quite nice as I rather enjoyed the visual design of a powered up Electro. The cover visual is also a powerful image to pull readers into this issue, and it's easily the most effective visual renderings of the House of M main theme that we've seen thus far.
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