Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 3) #7

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This story is part of an Arc: "Ms. Marvel Team-Up"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: Oct 2014.

Background...

In the last ASM story arc, Spider-Man met Cindy Moon, a girl who got bit by the same radioactive spider he did. The difference between the two is that Ezekiel locked Cindy up after she got bit to keep Morlun, a man who feeds from spider-people's life forces, from finding her. Since Peter released her from her confinement, she believes that Morlun will now be attracted to their universe. Strangely, Peter and Cindy have a certain animalistic attraction to each other, leading to uncontrollable kissing and...such. Cindy has been trying to get her life together, looking for her old family and getting a job on the Fact Channel. She has decided to fight crime by creating a costume out of webbing and calls herself "Silk."

In another corner of the Marvel Universe, Kamala Khan is the new Ms. Marvel. She was given powers by the recent Inhuman Terrigen Bombs (see Infinity #4) and is emulating her hero, Captain Marvel. Kamala's main power is to shape-shift.

In Detail...

"Ms. Marvel Team-Up"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 3) #7 (Story 1)
Dec 2014 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man teams up with Ms. Marvel
Arc: Part 1 of "Ms. Marvel Team-Up"
Editor:  Nick Lowe
Plot:  Dan Slott
Script:  Christos Gage
Pencils:  Guiseppe Camuncoli
Inker:  Cam Smith
Lettering:  Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist:  Antonio Fabela
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Review

In Peter Parker’s Tribeca Apartment, our main character and Anna Maria are working on spider-tech while Cindy Moon sits at a computer. Cindy is frustrated because she can’t find her family on Netscape. She asks for Peter’s help and he explains that, since she was in her bunker, Facebook became the popular social media network. When the two unexpectedly begin to kiss, Anna uses a web shooter to stop them from getting too far. These events recur about every ten minutes until Cindy becomes frustrated with being squirted. “Act like dogs in heat and I’ll treat you as such,” Anna explains. Cindy realizes she’s correct and decides she should leave. After webbing up her Silk costume, she clarifies that she’ll stay with one of her fellow Fact Channel interns. “I don’t turn into Pepe Le Pew around them,” she rationalizes. As Cindy leaves, Peter considers following her, but Anna declares he has a more pressing issue: he needs to ease up on being Spider-Man. She explains he needs to learn “the difference between ‘great responsibility’ and ‘all the responsibility.’”

In front of the St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, a group of goons in green suits get into a getaway van containing a kidnapped patient. As they escape, the police fire at them. Luckily for the goons, a blue villain in an old Ms. Marvel costume easily halts the cops. An onlooker to the crime happens to be a member of the Carol Corps, a cult obsessed about Carol Danvers. The Corps member is appalled that somebody is committing a crime in the Ms. Marvel costume because it’s “like burning the flag!” She decides to spread a picture of the villain to the Carol Corps in order to prevent her from getting mixed up with Carol Danvers by a “media lunkhead.”

At the Coles Academic High School, Kamala Khan is walking with her friend, Bruno. He is worried that her being a superhero will result in “a vicious cycle of dropping grades, freaking parents, groundings…” Kamala explains she’s already grounded, and she’s not slacking but exhausted. When she gets the Carol Corps text, she races out of her school. She dresses in her costume and explains that someone’s degrading Captain Marvel’s name. “We Ms. Marvels have to look out for each other!” she yells as she sprints away with elongated legs. Bruno says he’ll tell her biology teacher she “hurled” as an excuse.

Back at Peter’s apartment, Anna explains that Peter has to cut back being Spider-Man because, now that he’s the head of a company, he’s responsible for many others’ jobs too. Peter explains he can’t just “blow off” somebody who’s in trouble, but Anna replies that he should let the authorities handle the “small stuff” like Otto did as Spider-Man. He still isn’t certain about Anna’s plan when his police radio alerts them of an apartment fire, a robbery, and a set alarm at a jewelry store occurring. Our main character is about to race off to save the day when Anna pulls him from leaving. Quickly, the radio explains the jewelry store was a false alarm, the robber had been detained by the police, and the fire is under control. Anna uses this as proof that, although Otto was a “jerk,” his methods work. “Ask me, if you don’t use [Otto’s methods] out of ego, he’s not the only jerk to wear the webs,” Anna states. Peter reminds her that Otto’s planning ultimately backfired against the Green Goblin, but he figures he could use the method to help him “prioritize.”

When the police scanner suddenly describes a superhuman crime, Peter quickly leaves. Anna is disappointed their entire conversation “backfired spectacularly.” As Spider-Man swings through the city, he admits, “Anna Marie has a point. More points than I want to think about.” He is lucky to be distracted by the crime in progress. He follows the police sirens and, when he sees the crime scene, describes it as one of the strangest things he’s seen.

At the crime scene, the Ms. Marvel impersonator is flying in front of the getaway van. She doesn’t think anything can stop them, but then Ms. Marvel’s foot crushes her. “Those are some big shoes you’re trying to fill, lady. Let me show you how it’s done,” Kamala quips. The heroine accidentally hits the getaway van too forcefully and it flips over. When she opens the van, she’s astonished to find a Terrigen-caused cocoon like the one she received her powers from. Ms. Marvel attempts to communicate with it, but the blue villain recovers and punches her into the air.

Luckily, Ms. Marvel is caught by Spider-Man! She is amazed to be in a Spider-Man team-up, and he humbly says, “I put my suit on one web at a time.” Kamala asks if he actually dated Captain Marvel. “I totally ship Spider-Marvel!” she fangirls (is that a verb?). She asks a bunch of questions about Carol’s personality, and Spider-Man admits he doesn’t know that much about her. “There was a date. Let’s leave it there, okay? That’s what she did…” Spidey explains. He instructs the young hero to follow his lead because “this sort of super-smash up is [his] specialty.”

Meanwhile, the Ms. Marvel poser instructs her henchmen to check if the cocoon was damaged. A goon uses a scan to confirm it’s uninjured. The other goon is worried that he saw Spider-Man because they have a history. (Foreshadowing, people!) The Ms. Marvel poser, who has been named by Dr. Minerva by her goons, gets the van back on its wheels, instructs the henchmen to get the cocoon to the rendezvous point, and prepares to battle the heroes. And soon enough, the heroes show up. Spider-Man jibes, “You’ve only got the early version of Ms. Marvel’s powers. And none of her class!” The villain admits that it’s true that her kind, the Kree, have reached “a developmental dead end.” Dr. Minerva plans on using the newly-transformed Inhuman genes to create “a new race of Kree super-soldiers!” Ms. Marvel refuses to allow her to perform the experiments, but Minerva reveals that she actually began the trials long ago on herself! “Behold the fruits of my success!” she yells as she transforms into a demonic-like creature. Ms. Marvel wonders if Spidey can take on the monster. “This is your specialty, right…?” she asks. Our main character replies, “What, in over my head and totally outclassed? Yeah. It kind of it..”

In General...

All in all, Slott, Gage and Camuncoli’s Amazing Spider-Man #7 is a utilitarian team-up with a few interesting qualities that keep it attention-grabbing. Like most superhero team-ups (especially the ones in Avenging Spider-Man), the two heroes are introduced separately, and then meet up to battle a common villain. Dr. Minerva is a pretty typical villain for these types of team-ups and her motives are also pretty standard. (It was kinda fun to see Slott bring in the Inhuman plot point; I like it when writers acknowledge other books.)

Surprisingly enough, the character that keeps this story interesting isn’t Spider-Man but Ms. Marvel. Kamala is a very fun and interesting character. Her dialogue with Spider-Man is very funny. Her fascination of Carol Danvers and Spider-Man’s past relationship with Carol led to a hilarious moment in the issue. Slott and Gage successfully set up an amusing rookie/unsure mentor dynamic between Kamala and Spider-Man. This story makes me interested in pursuing Ms. Marvel’s own title, which is the purpose of team-ups after all.

Another captivating quality of this book is the conversation between Anna Maria and Peter Parker. I predicted that, when Peter came back and took Otto’s place as Spider-Man, he would have to deal with Otto’s innovations that, truth be told, worked very well. Slott didn’t acknowledge this in the first arc, which was frustrating, but I’m happy to see Anna Maria bring it up this issue. I think Otto’s “let-the-authorities-solve-the-small-stuff” strategy will really force Peter to question his maxim about responsibility. It will make his question if he should allow the petty crimes to be stopped by the police. It does work efficiently, as seen in this issue, but if the police fail to stop the crime, is it his fault? I’m very interested to see where Slott goes with this.

As has become quite often with Slott’s Spider-Man, Christos Gage scripts this issue. I’ve always found Gage’s writing to be rather clunky. The transitions between sequences are particularly rough. For example, at the end of Page 6, Spider-Man says he sees one of the strangest things in his life, but we never actually get to see exactly what is so astonishing. Also, some of the banter and one-liners fall flat. Luckily, Gage is able to effectively cover up his scripting flaws with fun dialogue and a light-hearted tone.

As usual, Giuseppe Camuncoli delivers quality artwork. Camuncoli excels at dynamics and the panel layout is solid. He is great in setting serious or light-hearted tones for the various scenes. I find it fascinating how, when Camuncoli began drawing Spider-Man, he was more of an out-of-place dark n’ gritty artist than a mainstream superhero artist, but he developed to become as excellent a traditional superhero artist as any of Marvel’s star artists. I hope that, when Camuncoli eventually leaves Spider-Man, Marvel keeps him in their esteem and continues to give him big-title work. (Also, Fabela’s colors compliment the line work well.)

Overall Rating...

This is a typical team up, but Gage and Slott write some fun and thought-provoking character interactions that keeps it above average. Camuncoli's art is also fantastic.