Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #672

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This story is part of an Arc: "Spider-Island"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

This review was first published on: Nov 2011.

Background...

Spider-Island was nearly complete! Through genetically modified bedbugs, The Jackal and The Queen have transformed all non-powered residents of Manhattan into Spider-people (including Peter Parker’s girlfriend Carlie Cooper)!

But… the heroes fought back! They installed spider-sense jammers to keep the spider-people in Manhattan and with Reed Richards and Horizon creating a cure from Anti-Venom/Eddie Brock’s suit, turned Spider-King back into Captain America.

Peter Parker/Spider-Man eventually made it back to his laboratory at Horizon but came face to face with Tarantula/Kaine! Horizon, under the direction of Madame Web/Julia Carpenter, altered the spider-sense jammers to give her her future visions back and return Spider-Man’s spider-sense to him. They were successful and Spidey was able to deploy his spider-sense to flip Tarantula into a vat of the cure. He emerged as Kaine and revealed that The Queen was the big bad!

Furious with this turn of events, The Queen destroyed The Jackal with her sonic scream and now realises that whatever Horizon did to the spider-sense jammers has increased her psychic power over the subjects exponentially!

Venom/Flash Thompson has also played a pivotal role. He delivered Anti-Venom to Horizon and now fights alongside Captain America to take down The Queen!

In Detail...

"Boss Battle"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #672
Dec 2011 : SM Title
Arc: Part 6 of "Spider-Island"
Senior Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Assistant Editor:  Ellie Pyle
Writer:  Dan Slott
Pencils:  Humberto Ramos
Inker:  Karl Kesel, Victor Olazaba
Lettering:  VC's Joe Caramagna
Colorist:  Edgar Delgado
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Articles: Arana, Kaine, Queen

Captain America is dropped into Central Park to join Venom/Flash Thompson in battling The Queen! She uses all of her powers, telekinesis, psychic attacks, super strength, insect manipulation and sonic scream to kill them both! Venom manages to send Cap’s shield thudding into her but this triggers a transformation and she turns into a giant, Spider-Queen!

In Horizon Lab #6, Spider-Man panics as people approach the lab. He tells Kaine to switch clothes… Reed Richards, Max Modell, Grady Scraps and Bella Fishbach suddenly hear an alarm and dash to the source! They find Mary Jane Watson who has brought the survivors from Our Lady of Saints Church. Thing, Spider-Woman and Reed are surprised she is normal and, after scanning, Reed figures that she has an immunity to the Parker DNA after being so… close… with all these years! They go to Lab #6 and find Spider-Man/Kaine standing next to Peter who is only wearing his underwear! Peter directs Spider-Man/Kaine into his lab where they change suits – Peter gets his Spider-Man one on and Kaine wears the stealth suit which has sonic shielding. They set off to take on The Queen!

Spider-Queen descends on Union Square! Captain America flies in with Venom and calls all Avengers to the scene! She is now 28 stories high so Spidey and Kaine don’t find it too hard to locate her! They are intercepted by Madame Web who reminds Spidey that he must kill her to stop her! Spider-Queen is furious when they arrive and immediately targets them! She sends Spidey hurtling towards a building but MJ swings in and saves him! They land safely but Spidey believes that this is out of his league. MJ tells him that Spider-Man never made him special, being Peter Parker did. He needs to nerd up! Thinking about what Alistair Smythe/Spider-Slayer said (#671), he figures it out and they swing off to a 18th Precinct building together. Spidey uncovers a massive crate full of Doctor Octopus’ Octo-bots and puts on the control helmet (see #600!). He has a spider-slayer army at his command but he needs an antenna large enough to cover Manhattan…!

Union Square sees The Last Stand Of Spider-Island! Captain America leads The Avengers, X-Men, Hercules, Venom, Shang-Chi, Iron Fist and The Immortal Weapons, Cloak, Dagger, Gravity, Firestar and Spider-Girl against The Spider-Queen!

Spidey and MJ arrive at the Empire State Building. Spidey puts on the control helmet and orders the hundreds of thousands of Octo-bots to go to Horizon and collect a sample of the cure!

Reed, Thing and Spider-Woman panic when they see the Octo-bots arrive but Spidey contacts them and tells them his plan.

The Octo-bots have a sudden impact, injecting all those spider-people infected and instantly turning them back into humans! This jolts Spider-Queen into realising that she is losing her followers. She orders all her remaining spider-people to attack the Empire State Building!

MJ fights off dozens of spider-people as Spider-Man continues to control the Octo-bots. He lets a smile slip on to his face: he’s doing it – he’s saving everybody! He doesn’t quite hear it but MJ, fighting for him, whispers “I love you.”

On the ground, Kaine joins forces with Ms Marvel! She swings him from his web towards Spider-Queen! Madame Web realises that it is this Peter Parker who can deliver the killing blow! He activates his stealth suit and two stingers suddenly protrude from his wrists! He plunges through Spider-Queen’s sonic scream and through her head! The other heroes push the advantage and destroy The Queen once and for all!

Kaine stands among the victorious heroes with a message – it was the real Spider-Man who built the suit, who provided the moment, who healed millions in their time of need. He is the hero and the one Spider-Man!

Spidey gives MJ his shirt. He wonders what will happen now that everyone has had spider-powers. MJ tells him that they’ve only experienced the wall-crawling parts and that everything else Peter Parker has to offer is what really matters.

In General...

Complete genius. My worries from last issue are completely forgotten upon reading this scintillating conclusion and it turns out that Dan Slott is an intricate plotter, a weaver of stories and a complete genius! Upon this conclusion, it has to be said that this is one of the tightest, cast-encompassing and daring Spider-Man events ever but, most of all, one of the most successful Spider-Man events ever. Everything, from the tie-ins to the characters and how well they were used makes this one to remember and #672 is a fitting closing chapter. I know there are the loose ends to tie up in the Epilogue, but this issue is full of satisfaction.

Although a long time coming and something that has hurt Spider-Island, is the Spider-Man payoff. Waiting for our protagonist to finally catch on and do something truly heroic has been painful. Slott’s decision to keep him out the loop until last issue means that this issue he truly saves the day and comes up with a plan completely unconnected to anything else going on. Clever clever writing to have the battle fought on two fronts – the heavy-hitters vs The Spider-Queen and Spidey and MJ actually saving the lives of New York. I find myself truly on the side of Spidey and focussed on that fight.

Having Peter fights alongside MJ provides a great moment for these two and her unheard admission of love can be read in so many different ways that it simply hints at the future.

Slott’s planning and plotting has remained a constant throughout this story and here is no different, setting up the future for Kaine and a revising of the powers way back from The Other. Alongside this look to the future is a look to the past as Slott captures the heroic elements and grandeur of #600 by not only using the octo-bots but giving Spider-Man a true and recognisable win. The grin on Spidey’s face as he realises he’s saving everyone was plastered on mine as well. A true, fun, hero moment.

There is a down side to Spider-Island. Amidst the control over the tie-ins, the dozens of characters, the outstanding delivery of story and detail and the pure moments of brilliance, Slott fails to deliver a scene where Spider-Man takes on the villains. He faces Spider-Queen briefly but leaves after one page and is never in the same room as the Jackal. The Queen has more face time in Venom than here. That, and the lack of Spider-Man I’ve spoken about before, leaves me ever-so-slightly unfulfilled.

Humberto Ramos. I have always been a fan and I feel this issue backs up the decision to put him on these high-profile stories. The times where his characters are over-stylised are few compared to the countless panels filled with detail, emotion, spectacle, action and scale. Capturing everything that Slott’s thrown at him, Ramos is given more opportunity here to use the pages for impact and the final confrontation with The Queen and atop the Empire State Building is delivered with the space and power necessary. Kinetic, detailed and work filled with true energy.

This truly has been a truly epic Spider-Man story and one for the history books.

Overall Rating...

Perhaps the greatest Spider-Man epic ever. Slott has proved himself a genius and Ramos has taken countless leaps towards being a truly great Spider-Man artist.