Random Team Ups, Assemble! A Review of Avenging Spider-Man

 

Avenging Spider-ManHe’s been known as the menace of NYC, the savior of the little person, and one of the smartest guys to sling a web from a skyscraper.  He’s got no personal life, a full-time civilian job, and helping out with several superhero teams to the point of exhaustion; however, the one thing he does have, that he never loses or compromises, is his overwhelming sense of pun usage and joke telling.


He’s the one, the only, the geekish Avenging Spider-Man.

SPOILER WARNING!


Summary (Covering up to Issue #7)


Spider-Man and the other Avengers are fighting A.I.M. while J. Jonah Jameson opens a marathon in NYC that takes place over the George Washington Bridge.  Moments later the Moloids come up out of the ground and start terrorizing people while the Avengers clean up after their fight.  Spider-Man has to get back to NYC for his job, but no one seems to want to take him, until the responsibility falls squarely on the rather broad shoulders of the Red Hulk.  Leaping high through the air, the duo makes their way back to Manhattan, when they’re informed of the situation on the bridge.  Jonah is being taken underground by the Moloids, who summon a large worm to take care of the two Avengers following them.  After a brief fight, the Red Hulk and Spider-Man are swallowed and rendered unconscious by a neurotoxin.


Underground, at the footsteps of Subterranea, Jonah is handed to the Mole Man, king of the Moloids, because he’s the “king” of New York and the Moloids wanted help from another king to best the oppression of Ra’ktar and his Molans of the Uber-Depths.  Jonah refuses to kowtow to Ra’ktar, a gesture that the Molan interprets as a direct challenge to his authority and prepares to meet him (or his champion) in combat.  Meanwhile, the Red Hulk and Spider-Man are . . . ”expelled” . . . from the giant worm and regain consciousness, only to find that the Moloids are suffering and only seeking help.  The avenging duo arrives just in time for the Red Hulk to step in for Jonah as his “champion,” only to have him be slice, diced, and impaled with relative ease.


Following the aftermath of the battle, Spider-Man grabs Jonah and sneaks back to the Moloids.  He asks for the Moloids to take Jonah back to the surface while he goes back for the Red Hulk, knowing that he’s out of his league.  On the way back, Spider-Man encounters Ra’ktar, who tells him to leave, so he may slaughter the Moloids; not willing to let innocents suffer, Spider-Man stands up to Ra’ktar and prepares to fight him.  During the battle, Spider-Man cuts loose the layers of clothing that Ra’ktar has on, exposing him to his subordinates and shaming him in battle, thereby winning.  He works out a treaty with the Molans just as the Red Hulk rushes in, having recovered from his earlier ordeal.  Once he sees that all has been handled, he and Spider-Man return to the surface where they meet other Avengers preparing to come down to save them.


Later on Spider-Man and Hawkeye go out on patrol, though Hawkeye is all about doing and not going with the flow.  The pair runs across members of the Serpent Society, who—after being knocked out by Hawkeye’s stun arrows—inform them about some gas that is going to be released that night.  After dealing with a decoy, the two Avengers find Sidewinder with a grenade launcher; Spider-Man leaves Hawkeye to fend off a half-dozen serpents while Spidey rushes to take out the bad guy.  Hawkeye manages to get off a shot, which misses, but distracts Sidewinder long enough for the web-head to knock him out.  A moment later, Spider-Man places the stun arrow in Sidewinder, allowing Hawkeye to believe he made the show.


A week later Spider-Man finds out that Captain America drew comics back before he was given the super soldier serum.  Feeling as though the two have a “nerdish” connection, Spidey practically hounds the man, even during a mission, until he comes right out and buys a copy of the old comic to be displayed in the Avengers' mansion.  Cap feels as though that time was bad for him, that his drawings were pathetic, and thinks that Spider-Man should grow up and stop idolizing.  Not long after, Spider-Man makes to throw away his very first chemistry set from childhood, but when he sees Captain America drawing again, he stops and goes to help him knock out some ideas.


Spider-Man agrees to help Reed Richards by talking to Daredevil, who came to Reed earlier with a drive holding information about the five mega-crime cartels.  After taking information off of the drive for Daredevil, Reed finds that the man without fear left when it wasn’t looking, and Reed wants the drive back.  Spider-Man show’s up at Daredevil’s alter ego’s law offices and is instantly attacked by ninjas of the Hand, while inside the Punisher is trying to persuade Daredevil to give him the drive.  Moments later Spider-Man busts in with some ninjas on his tail, and the three of them easily take them out.  The Punisher continues to push for the drive, and Daredevil says he’ll share it, if they don’t kill anyone.  Soon Spider-Man hatches a plan to take on all four crime syndicates in one night, with assurances that there are no killings involved (followed up in Punisher #10 and Daredevil #11).


After the She-Hulk and Spider-Man take down some unknown creature in the sewers, the green-skinned attorney catches a cab to an Egyptian exhibit sponsored by her firm.  Feeling really hungry, Spider-Man follows via the rooftops and spots some mysteriously cloaked figures entering the building.  Inside, the emerald lawyer spots them, too, and goes to investigate, running into Spider-Man along the way.  They both find the cloaked figures trying to steal a statue of Bestat, and after a brief fight, take them out easily with one problem: She-Hulk now has a tail, and there are dozens of cats appearing out of nowhere.  Moments later Bestat herself appears, as tall as a giant, and demands the She-Hulk be her servant.  Spider-Man disguises himself as a servant of Neith and convinces Bestat that the She-Hulk is needed to protect the people on Earth.  Bestat leaves and all returns to normal (for Marvel’s NYC, that is).


Personal Observations & Reactions

It seems to me as though the entire series is much like the previous Marvel Team-Up series, in which Spider-Man teams up with random superheroes throughout the main Marvel universe for one or two issues.  It’s a great way to showcase characters, and I have no problems with that, but it doesn’t really have much of an interactive, far-reaching plot.  What happens in one issue doesn’t seem to directly impact what happens in another, and while that makes it easy to pick up the title and read from just about anywhere, it doesn’t make for long-term success in my opinion.


I have also noticed that it seems as though in all of the issues, he’s teamed up with at least one superhero who has been, or currently is, on an Avengers team (the only except being the Punisher and his partner).  I’m not sure if that was intentional, given the name of the title, or if it just happens to be a coincidence.  But, then again, nearly every superheroes in existence have been on one of the Avengers teams, so finding ones who haven’t been might be too much work.


The best aspect of the series, however, is the classic, snarky wit that Spider-Man has.  The creative team did a really good job of keeping Parker’s personality, including his sense of overwhelming responsibility and loyalty.  The way he let himself take the fall for Hawkeye’s miss showed that he really doesn’t care if he gets the credit, so long as his friends are okay.


Another great part of the series was the entire 5th issue where he teams up with Captain America (Steve Rogers) concerning their childhood.  To me it was a really touching issue; there was no real threat, no real danger, no action, just the desire to reconnect with an important part of their past, and struggling to make sense of where it fit in their modern-day lives.  It was a very touching moment, and I hope there are more of them to come.


Final Thoughts

I’m not really sure what to expect of this comic, or even if I’m going to continue to read it.  I’m very much a Spider-Man fan, but I’ve also never been big on his random team-ups with other superheroes, just so they can get in some face time.  As I mentioned earlier, the fact that there’s no far-reaching plot for the series doesn’t hold well in my opinion, but for the moment I think I’ll give it some more chances.  After all, it does show Spider-Man and his usual wit, and thus far the team up choices have been relatively realistic; it’s when the unrealistic partnerships turn up that I’ll probably stop looking at the pretty pictures.

 



 

Last modified on Thursday, 27 December 2018 17:28

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