By: Adam Basciano
“The Doc Ock story you’ve waited 50 years for! Doctor Otto Octavius holds the
entire earth hostage with his dying breath. What price will Spider-Man have to
pay to buy the whole world one more day?” (Marvel)
After the “Spider Island” story line I was a bit surprised that Marvel would throw Spider – Man right back into a blockbuster event type story. With “Ends of the Earth,” that’s exactly what we have. I actually prefer this story over the aforementioned “Spider Island.” Since this is my first Spider – Man comic book review, I applaud the creative team for bringing science to the forefront of Peter Parker’s life. There’s a great page in the first issue of this book, where Peter recounts all the different inventions he’s come up with at his job at Horizon Labs, that have helped him in his crime fighting. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. It was nice to see Spider – Man take charge for a change when dealing with The Avengers. Especially in his call to arms to the team, and his leadership in battle. This is quite a change from Spidey’s role in The Avengers title, where he is used mostly as comic relief. Having said that, writer Dan Slott has a knack for inserting Spidey quips at just the right time. This issue features a Star Wars reference and a shout out to Michael Bay.
For those of you like me, who’s familiarity with Dock Ock came from Sam Raimi’s “Spider – Man 2” this book will be an interesting experience. I felt great sympathy for Otto Octavius as played by Alfred Molina. Not so in this comic book. He’s a vile, deplorable evil scientist. He’s pretending to save the world from global warming, when in reality he’s holding the world at ransom, with the intention of destroying it. I found this portrayal was overblown. It was too mad scientist circa the late 30’s and 40’s for my taste. I also thought the fact that the city of New York and world governments instantly believed Ock was a little ill-conceived. Seriously, this guuys come up with how many evil schemes over the years? Yet suddenly, you all believe he is out to do good for all of mankind just because he’s dying. Having said that, Slott does highlight Octavius’ intelligence, cunning, and power. This is apparent in the way Doc Ock organizes the Sinister Six to prey on all of The Avengers weakness to take them down.
The art like the story, has its good moments and bad. The issue is drawn by Stefano Caselli are superb. His work is incredibly detailed and action packed. Doc Ock looks sickly and like he’s on his death-bed. The fights between The Avengers and The Sinister Six are eye-popping. They rank up there with Steve McNiven’s depiction of fight scene’s in “Civil War.” Caselli draws the new Spider – Man suit in a way that it looks natural, as if it’s always been in use. Caselli also draws a damn fine cover, that teases the events inside the book. Unfortunately, I can’t bestow similar compliments for the issues drawn by Humberto Ramos. I’m not a fan of his art at all. As harsh as this may sound, he’s near the top of my list of worst artists in comic books today. For me, his art lacks detail and fails to pull me into the story. His art reminds me of those Bratz dolls/cartoon. It’s fine that the Spidey brain trusts want to have more than one artist on this book, I hope they give each artist a storyline all to themselves. Their styles don’t mesh well.
“Ends of the Earth” was a good story. I liked the concept of the story. Dan Slott juggles a lot of characters, while still making Peter Parker/Spider – Man the heart of the story. Sadly, an over the top Doc Ock, a head scratching reaction to Ock’s plan, and the distraction of alternating art styles keep this story from being amazing.
Overall Grade: 7/10