Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #679.1

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This review was first published on: Mar 2012.

Background...

Peter Parker’s job at Horizon Labs is one of the best things that ever happened to him! He can develop Spider-Man technology and gets to work alongside some of the brightest minds on the planet. Under the supervision of their boss, Max Modell, Peter, Grady Scraps, Bella Fishbach, Sajani Jeffrey, Jurgen Muntz and, young brainbox, Uatu Jackson all have their own private labs. So does the mystery man in Lab No. 6. A man influential in curing Spider-Island. A man we know as… Michael Morbius, The Living Vampire!

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #679.1
Apr 2012 : SM Title
Summary: Morbius, Uatu Jackson
Writer:  Dan Slott & Chris Yost
Pencils:  Matthew Clark
Inker:  Tom Palmer
Cover Art:  John Tyler Christopher
Lettering:  VC's Joe Caramagna
Colorist:  Rob Schwager
Editor In Chief:  Axel Alonso
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Assistant Editor:  Ellie Pyle
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Review

Weeks Ago: Uatu Jackson is having the greatest day of his life: New Yorkers have spider powers, Horizon is the hub of finding the cure and his hero, Mister Fantastic, is working alongside them all!

Now: Peter Parker/Spider-Man swings to Horizon Labs ready for work. He gains access, thanks to a little rewiring of the security system, and changes into his civilian clothes. Uatu knocks on the door and wonders what time Peter got in. He’s come to check Peter’s new experiment for him, but as he does it malfunctions, sending a bolt of metal spinning from it and catching Peter on the finger. Peter doesn’t say, but the device is designed to skin a Rhino! The bolt with Peter’s blood on is embedded near the ventilation shaft. In Lab 6, Michael Morbius gets a whiff of it!

The next day, Uatu sees Max Modell coming out of Lab 6 looking unhappy and Peter’s spider-sense goes off when he passes the same lab. Upon both hearing a scratching sound, they decide to solve the case of the mystery man! After careful deliberation and a flowchart full of likely candidates, Peter decides to investigate as Spider-Man.

Max goes back into see Morbius, bringing him samples of his own blood to work on. Morbius is working on a mimetic plasma that could, combined with the spider-island cure, cure a wide range of mutated humans. He tries the serum on himself, but it goes wrong, increasing his blood lust! Spider-Man arrives, via the ventilation system, just in time! Max yells at him not to intervene, but Spidey is determined to keep Morbius subdued! They scuffle, and when Spidey accidentally knocks over all of Max’s blood samples, it sends Morbius into a greater lust! Their fight crashes outside of Lab 6 where word quickly spreads that Spidey is fighting a vampire!

Uatu opens up his lab, thrilled that he can finally test his inventions – all designed to hunt monsters!

Max follows Spidey and Morbius as they fight into the canteen! He continues to shout that Morbius is reacting to the solution he’s just taken! Uatu enters the fray, determined to capture Morbius to study him! He fires UV Light Sticks, Light Grenades and a Light Crossbow and, with Spidey’s help, Morbius snaps out of it and is punched to the ground! Max picks him up, announcing to the gathered crowd, that Morbius has been working in Lab 6 and will continue to do so and be shown the respect he deserves. He is livid with Peter Parker for giving Spider-Man access to Horizon and making this situation worse. From now on, if he wants to visit, Spider-Man is going to have to sign in like everyone else.

That night, Morbius gathers his things from Lab 6. Angry at exposing himself to humans again, he prays that the last of the blood substitutes will keep him going long enough to ensure that his mimetic plasma works. He descends into the sewer system and eventually finds his new test subject – Doctor Curt Connors: The Lizard!

In General...

This Marvel Point One issue, designed as a jumping on point for new readers, is a mixed bag for me. The last Point One issue in Amazing Spider-Man was used to introduce Flash Thompson as Venom. This time it works more as a depiction of the current situation Peter Parker finds himself in, but does that mean its any better?

Mainly… yes but I’m not completely convinced. Dan Slott and Chris Yost include enough explanation and exploration of Peter Parker’s life at Horizon to please newcomers and continue the on-going story for long-term readers. The focus on Horizon fits both camps – that’s where the recent 2-parter emulated from, that is what is currently driving Peter and there’s been a story waiting to happen here for a while. Without a girlfriend, Aunt or other supporting cast members (Betty, Flash/Venom & MJ) this is Peter’s current focus so it makes sense to explore this a little more. We get enough of Peter’s thoughts, an obligatory tussle with a bad guy and Spidey putting his foot in it to make this a good outing for the character and an ok exposure to new readers.

A pity the story itself isn’t actually that exciting. For us long-term readers, the mystery of Lab 6 was solved during Spider-Island so the excitement level automatically slips into waiting to see how the characters react. This all transpires in a fairly typical fashion, I have to say. Slott’s use of Uatu makes the Spidey vs. Morbius confrontation a little more interesting, but I don’t feel there’s enough meaningful meat to this issue other than to progress the Morbius plot to involve another villain and set up another story.

Speaking of that other villain, the shot of The Lizard is a stunning piece of work by artist Matthew Clark. He has a far more realistic style to his faces and composition than we have seen recently so this will please a lot of people. I think he is perfectly adequate at telling the story, his Morbius is very haunting and his level of detail is the thing that stands out as being top quality. I can’t say much more than that as it doesn’t really excite me.

Overall Rating...

This is one of the weaker issues in a while but there are enough elements to push a few plot threads forwards. I just feel a bit like a patient commuter reading this though, letting this comic pass and waiting for the next, proper one to come along.