Comics : Avenging Spider-Man #15

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This review was first published on: Dec 2012.

Background...

Dinosaurs, mutated by a mysterious “master,” have captured the Horizon Labs group touring the Savage Land. Captured all but Peter Parker, that is, who, as Spider-Man, teams up with Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy who leads them to the master’s headquarters, a cave wreathed with a demon’s face. While Spidey is still talking strategy, Devil and Moon-Boy attack the cave.

In Detail...

Avenging Spider-Man #15
Feb 2013 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man, Devil Dinosaur, & Moon-Boy
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Assistant Editor:  Ellie Pyle
Writer:  Cullen Bunn
Artist:  Gabriele Dell'Otto
Cover Art:  Gabriele Dell'Otto
Colorist:  Dommo Aymara
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Review

Held prisoner in the cave, the Horizon gang chats about deaths at the “hands” of large creatures in the films “Jurassic Park,” “Tunnels,” and “Jaws.” Outside, Spidey, Devil, and Moon-Boy battle the mutated dinosaurs. While Devil takes on a triceratops and chomps on a talking pterodactyl, Spidey and Moon-Boy slip into the cave. Moon-Boy says, “We must find the fiend who poisons the beasts of the land with foul spirits,” but Spidey doesn’t understand Lizard Language. He thinks they are going in to rescue the Horizon group.

Moon-Boy races ahead of Spidey. Finding the imprisoned Horizon people, Moon-Boy realizes that Spidey is only there for them. But then Spidey backs off. He tells Moon-Boy that he’s reluctant to rescue the gang as Spidey because they will know he is the missing Peter Parker. Moon-Boy doesn’t understand a word, of course, and thinks Spidey is telling him that “the kindly spirits brought you here to save your people and to help us!” He leads Spidey to a “mad scientist” lab with “mutant raptors, cyborg triceratops, souped-up steggies.” Moon-Boy points out his objective; dinosaur eggs stored in high-tech vats. Spidey realizes that these are Devil’s eggs and that Devil is female. Just then, the master arrives on the scene. He is Brainchild, the Swamp Man who was mutated by Magneto back in X-Men #62 (November 1969) as one of his Savage Land Mutates. Spidey encountered Brainchild in Marvel Fanfare #1-2, March-May, 1982 and New Avengers #5, May 2005. While Spidey shoots webbing in Brainchild’s face, Moon-Boy grabs the eggs. But Brainchild has another mutation that he created, his own tyrannosaur that he calls Demon Dinosaur.

Spidey and Moon-Boy flee with the eggs. Brainchild, riding Demon Dinosaur, follows right behind. The heroes exit the cave, leading Demon right to Devil. As the dinosaurs fight, Spidey knocks Brainchild off of Demon’s back. An enraged Moon-Boy pummels Brainchild bloody until Spidey convinces him to stop. Devil defeats Demon, forcing the mutated tyrannosaur to flee. Moon-Boy notes that Devil seems sad even though victorious. Spidey says, “Something tells me that neither the Devil nor the Demon had their heart in the fight.” Because, apparently, Devil Dinosaur is female.

In the aftermath, Spidey works out a plan with Moon-Boy to protect his secret identity. He returns to the Horizon camp as Peter Parker as Moon-Boy frees the Horizon scientists. They reunite with Peter and fly back to civilization. In the Savage Land, Moon-Boy wears Spidey’s mask as a hat. “There is honesty here in the Savage Land,” Moon-Boy tells Devil, “Before he left, the Man-Spider gave us a great gift. He gave us his trust and showed us his true face, the face of a hero.” He sits with the dinosaur eggs. One of them has hatched and a red dinosaur emerges. Because, you know, Devil Dinosaur is female.

In General...

So wait…Devil Dinosaur is female? As I said last time, I haven’t kept up with Devil Dinosaur’s changes but this has got to be a new wrinkle created just for this story. And if it is, I don’t like that one bit. This is a pretty major change (not only making Devil female but also a mother) for the sake of one little team-up tale.

As with last issue, the artwork and colors are vibrant and raw, filled with speed lines and blood, making us feel the dinosaur savagery (and Moon-Boy’s violent rage as he bloodies Brainchild). If you like dino vs. dino artwork, you can’t go wrong with pages 2-3, page 7 panel 1, and page 15. And the cover packs a punch with the red of Spidey’s costume and of Devil’s body seeming to glow as raptors with electrically charged breath surround them. I also like Moon-Boy perched on Devil’s neck, hanging on for dear life.

But, really, there’s not much of a story, with everything seeming just a little too easy. Spidey and Moon-Boy reach Brainchild’s inner sanctum pretty easily, quickly escape outside with Demon Dinosaur on their trail, and topple and pummel Brainchild with ease. As for the climactic battle between Devil and Demon, as Spidey says, “neither…had their heart in the fight.” So, the one takeaway from this story is that Devil is female…and a mother. Which I don’t think I like one bit.

Overall Rating...

Exciting artwork, a cool team-up, but wrapped up a little too easily. And…Devil Dinosaur is female? Two webs.