Comics : Avenging Spider-Man #10

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This review was first published on: Aug 2012.

Background...

As far as I’m concerned, a team-up comic should either get its story told in one issue, continue the story with a different guest-star, or have a story so good it doesn’t matter that the guest-star appears more than once. Captain Marvel is the guest-star for a second straight issue. This better be good.

In Detail...

Avenging Spider-Man #10
Oct 2012 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man & Captain Marvel
Editor:  Ellie Pyle
Writer:  Kelly Sue DeConnick
Pencils:  Terry Dodson
Inker:  Rachel Dodson
Colorist:  Edgar Delgado
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Review

When we last left Spidey and Captain Marvel on Boston’s Zakim Bridge, the mysterious Robyn Hood had grown to giant-size after being struck by a missile launched by an armored member of Blackbird Security. Other armored guards surrounded them, announcing, “Anyone moves, you die!” This issue picks up just moments after the last one left off. While Carol argues with the main Blackbird guard, Robyn blasts off with her jetpack. (Which has also grown to giant-size as has her clothing, her weapons, and the band-aids on her face.) Spidey tags along by attaching a web to her and gets dragged on a wild ride. And the other Blackbird security guards who created last issue’s cliffhanger by surrounding the threesome? They just fly away. Seeing Spidey’s predicament, Captain Marvel rescues him, then intentionally blasts Robyn so that she grows even larger. But then her jetpack fizzles and Robyn falls back down to the bridge. (There are plenty of cars and trucks on the bridge but she apparently squashes no one.)

Carol has taken advantage of the Square Cube Law, the fundamental scientific concept that asserts that any object that is squared in area is cubed in volume. Carol apparently reasons that the squared rocketpack will not be able to support the cubed weight. (None of this has ever affected growing or shrinking Marvel characters before, as far as I know, but I applaud the use of a comic story to educate its readership.) Carol starts to organize the clean-up but Frank Larrikin of National Federal Bank interrupts her. He wants his property returned to him. “The RG-026 is the joint property of National Federal and Blackbird Industries,” he says. The RG-026 turns out to be Robyn Hood who is, I’m sorry to say, a robot. (Though this may explain why her band-aids grew giant-size too. Maybe they’re part of her design?)

Meanwhile, Spidey does some calculating. “The mass of the rocket increases by the cube of growth. So, 2x growth is 8x mass. But the cross-section of the exhaust valve only increases by the square of growth. 2x growth is only 4x escape mass.” Spidey announces to those assembled that Robyn is going to explode. As Robyn awakes and stands up, Carol convinces the Blackbird guard (who tells her he is “Agent Adams”) to help with the crowd. (He leaves and, though he appeared to be the main antagonist in the previous issue, never returns to the story.) Larrikin insists that Robyn is his property but Shelley Godwin, formerly of Blackbird, runs up and declares she is Robyn’s creator.

Robyn strides off with Spidey in her hand. Captain Marvel follows, taking Shelley with her. Shelley reveals that “The bank wanted eyes and ears in the Occupy Movement, so I wrote code for that personality, but she…it started adding to the code,” apparently adding things like the jetpack by itself. Everyone thinks that Robyn is planning to blow up the bank along with herself so Spidey tries to talk her out of it. He succeeds (or she wasn’t planning to blow up the bank to begin with) and Robyn requests a boost from Carol to get high enough into the air to blow up harmlessly over the city.

One week later, Carol and Peter Parker fill up two pages with some useless chat masquerading as character development. Meanwhile, at Future Flora Robotics, Shelley makes contact with Robyn, apparently downloaded into her computer before exploding. When Robyn refers to Shelley as “Mother,” Shelley seems thrilled to death.

In General...

The first issue seemed to promise a story exploring the complexities of the economic disparities in the USA, of the 99% and the 1%, of the way banks have jobbed the system but are “too big to fail.” But, except for the inference that National Federal had a robot built to spy on the Occupy movement and one or two suggestive lines like Larrikin’s “Corporations are made up of people,” riffing off of the “corporations are people” Citizens United Supreme Court case, none of this is really discussed. It’s all just window dressing for a sentimental tale of an idealistic robot who sacrifices herself to protect Boston but who may get a second chance; presumably raised by her “mother” without any bankers around. It’s got some cool science lessons in there about the Square Cube Law but it sure didn’t warrant two issues to tell this story.

You know what the coolest thing in this issue is? Look at panel two of the story’s first page. Carol is pointing her finger at Agent Adams. See the dark blob that goes down from that finger and covers the next two fingers on her hand? That’s her finger’s shadow as cast by one of the bright lights held by one of the other Blackbird guards flying above her. Her finger’s shadow! You have to love that sort of attention to detail. There are some other cool shadows cast here and the Dodsons’ artwork is pleasing to the eye but…you know…the story that goes along with it…eh.

Overall Rating...

Last time I hoped for a stellar conclusion. I didn’t get it. One and a half webs.