Comics : Amazing Spider-Man: Ends of the Earth
If you check out our reviews of the “Ends of the Earth” storyline running from Amazing Spider-Man #682-687, you’ll see that our reviewers started strong, giving 4 webs, 4.5 webs, and 5 webs for the first three issues but then only 2 webs for the fourth issue and, at this writing, not even bothering to review the fifth and sixth issues at all. This doesn’t surprise me. The story got tiresome fast. It was an Avengers story masquerading as a Spider-Man story. If I want to read Avengers, I’ll read Avengers. And, worse, it was an event story. I understand why event stories exist. Companies are always looking for ways to draw in new readers or to re-shuffle the same old readers. Slow, steady work that garners strong word-of-mouth is all very well but doesn’t necessarily do the trick. But events draw in the curious, the speculators, the fans of all the various characters that appear. Look at how well Avengers vs. X-Men is selling right now. You’d have to be insane to suggest that the companies stop doing such things. So, I’m not advocating that. But I am lamenting that most of these events end up being pretty awful, story-wise. Some of these events also have a one-shot issue that you must read in order to get the full story and that is so special that it has to be published separately from the series itself. These usually end up being the worst of all.
Amazing Spider-Man: Ends of the Earth
Jul 2012 : SM Title
Sometime after Amazing Spider-Man #684 or during Amazing Spider-Man #685 or something, Spidey realizes he must assemble heroes around the world who believe in his contention that Doc Ock is planning to destroy the world rather than save it. The best he can scrape together is Union Jack in London, Sabra in Jerusalem, the Kangaroo in the Australian Outback, Titanium Man in Siberia, and Big Hero 6 in Tokyo. Ock is firing off satellites that will be the instrument of his wrath. Spidey wants the recruited heroes to destroy Ock’s missile bases and to grab one “stealth chip” from a satellite with which they’ll be able to track the others already in orbit.
The Kangaroo, former Legion of Losers member, finds the missile base but Lady Deathstrike is guarding it and she immediately kills him. (Which sort of puts the lie to Spidey’s vow of “No One Dies,” which he doesn’t whine about until whatever it is that happens to Silver Sable. Apparently the Kangaroo is not on the “No One Dies” list.)
Sabra encounters octobots and Crossbones, who shoots her. Another one not on the “No One Dies” list.
In Siberia, Titanium Man (who I thought was a bad guy) battles the Scorpion who looks like he re-designed his suit after going to a Renaissance Festival. Scorpion wins and the satellite is launched.
In London, Union Jack (who I thought was a World War II hero) faces Slaymaster MK II (who is a stranger to me) and wins (but spouts bad British accent clichés as he does so…”Who’s a pretty boy, then?”…really?). It’s all set up so we’ll think Jack loses too but somebody has to win and retrieve a stealth chip or the whole comic is pointless. (Well, the whole comic is pointless but you know what I mean.) He gives the stealth chip to Spidey and goes on his way.
But, wait, there’s a “Part Two” to this story. What can that possibly be about? It takes place in Tokyo with Big Hero 6, a bunch of heroes with vague and uninteresting powers. They have to fight Everwraith who is, believe it or not, “the psychic maelstrom of those slain in atomic fire!” The Big Hero 6 defeat Everwraith in an excruciatingly large number of pages in which their wit seems to consist of calling him, “Everbutt,” “Everstink,” and “Everugly.” The satellite is launched but the 6’s big robot Baymax intercepts it, causing it to explode. For a moment it appears that the robot is destroyed but no such luck. If Baymax had been destroyed then there may have actually be a purpose to this whole section but as it stands…no. In case you’re wondering, Spidey doesn’t appear in Part Two at all.
This is really as bad as it gets. It’s only marginally a Spidey comic but it is wrapped up in a package that has “Amazing Spider-Man” at the top of it and “Ends of the Earth” at the bottom of it to lure in the unaware. The stars are second-tier heroes. There’s no attempt to make you care for these characters or even learn who they are. They are mere fodder. So much so that Kangaroo and Sabra die and you don’t even care. (And these are characters I actually know.) Part Two is especially miserable with forgettable characters uttering forgettable lines in a melee of pointless action that bores rather than excites. I don’t recognize either of the writers or the penciler here. If Marvel wants to put out a try-out book, I’m all for it. But don’t then dress it up as a special event and pretend it’s a must-read.
As with the SATs, you get points for signing your name. But that’s about it.