After reading Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #9, I have some observations, but before I get to those, let me give you a short recap of what happened in this issue.
One night, while Spider-Ock is swinging through a very quiet city, he ponders why he’s feeling uneasy even though he’s laid waste to the majority of New York’s crime syndicates. A series of shots ring out and Spider-Ock narrowly avoids being ventilated by a mystery sniper. While bullets wiz all around him, he uses his newly reformulated webbing (Deus ex machina) to create a makeshift bullet-proof vest and takes the sniper head-on.
Turns out it’s just the Punisher and Daredevil who’ve been trying to get his attention. So, what do they want? Punisher’s safe house has been broken into and some Green Goblin hardware, namely a Bat-glider, has gone missing. Daredevil and Punisher want some sort of an assurance that Spidey hasn’t taken it. Spidey brings the duo to Spider-Island to prove that he doesn’t have the gear. After weaving through a myriad of added security measures, Spidey-Ock discovers that the cache of weapons he’s been hording has gone missing. A pumpkin bomb is lobbed at them by an assassin who is dressed as a Spider-Minion.
After a failed attempt to kill the trio, the Mole-Minion, is discovered to be wearing a suicide vest made of Pumpkin bombs. He speaks to someone over his headset, but his secretive co-conspirator refuses to respond and cuts off communication, leaving him twisting in the wind. The co-conspirator on the other end of the line is none other than the Green Goblin himself. Being the evil mastermind that he is, he reminds an agitated Hobgoblin that the Mole-Minion is but an expendable pawn in his overall grand scheme (Gobby didn’t respond to the minion over the headset because he didn’t want to tip off Daredevil to his secret identity). After a brief beat-down interrogation, Mole-Minion lets Spidey in on a big secret. In Spider-Ock’s attempt to rid the city of all of its crime bosses, he has unwittingly assisted a mystery villain in his bid to take over.
This cliffhanger ends with Spidey, Daredevil and Punisher finding themselves looking down the barrels of, and surrounded by, an army of turncoat minions newly outfitted with Sinister Six-looking weaponry. This was a fast paced story and, even though it was 20 pages long, it ended too quickly for me. Too many details seemed to be glossed over in an attempt to get it all in.
I have a few small nits to pick. A pet peeve of mine is when a writer takes for granted that the audience knows the characters he’s writing about. Kevin Shinick, apparently a good writer, assumes we all know that Daredevil, Punisher and Spidey have a history together. A new reader to comics would understandably wonder why Punisher is shooting at Spidey, seemingly with the blessing of Daredevil. In my opinion, this storyline demonstrates that writer Kevin Shinick doesn’t seem to know the characters very well. I can imagine Punisher, who is clearly insane, shooting at Spidey, but Daredevil is Spidey’s friend and co-adventurer from years back. I can’t picture Murdock allowing this irresponsible behavior, let alone initiating it. While an amusing chuckle for the Punisher, rifle shots point-blank to Spidey’s chest, bullet-proof or not, are simply not an acceptable way of getting his attention. It reminded me of the recent bullied boy back-up story in Amazing Spider-Man #700.4 where the boy sets fire to a roof in order to get Spidey’s attention.
In other concerns, I wonder if Spider-Ock is even aware of his past relationships with Daredevil and Punisher given he deleted Parker’s memory several issues ago? It’s all treated sophomorically, but I’m thinking that an attempt on Spidey-Ock’s life would warrant a much different reaction. If Spidey-Ock was in character, he would’ve, at the very least, ripped the Punisher to shreds and asked questions later.
Nitpick #2. Is it common knowledge among all heroes and villains that Daredevil is blind and has heightened senses? I know there are a lot who do know his identity, but for the sake of argument, let’s say that not everyone knows. Judging by Punisher’s joke that he hears as well as Daredevil sees, Castle seems to know Murdock’s secret. Also, later in the story, the Green Goblin doesn’t give the go-ahead for faux-minion to detonate his bomb vest because Daredevil would have heard his voice command and known his identity. He obviously knows that Daredevil has heightened hearing.
Later in the story Daredevil announces to a room filled with dozens of Spider-Minions that he’s detecting an incredibly rapid heartbeat emanating from a specific minion. I can see the author conveying those words in a thought bubble, but having Daredevil speak about one of his most closely guarded secrets in public makes absolutely no sense. Daredevil heightened senses are his wild card. If everyone knew about them, the only weapon they’d need to defeat Daredevil would be an air-horn. This leads me to further lines of question: If Daredevil heard the Green Goblin’s voice, would it be someone he’d know from his past? Could it be someone other than Norman Osborn?
Those nitpicks aside, I thought this issue of Superior Spider-Man Team-Up was very entertaining and it moved the current plot-line along nicely. This issue actually felt like a team-up, unlike some previous issues. The cover and interior art by Marco Checchetto were really nicely done. Specifically, the panel with the Green Goblin on a throne, flanked by Menace and Hobgoblin was worth the price of admission. The muted colors by Rachelle Rosenberg set a dark and appropriately moody tone to the story. In general, the art on Superior Spider-Man Team-Up has been stellar.
On a side note, I love the Daily Bugle catch-ups on page one! What a fantastic way to keep us abreast of the story so far. I know this isn’t a new thing, but I’m giving credit where credit is due.
All images from Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #9: Kevin Shinick, Marco Checchetto, Paolo Rivera, Rachelle Rosenberg, Joe Caramango, & Ellie Pyle