Ever since Amazing Spider-Man #600, Doctor Octopus has been plotting his final villainous masterpiece. Succumbing to a lifetime of radiation and brain damage, he plans to go out with on both a great and terrible note. He has assembled Sandman, Mysterio, Chameleon, Rhino and Electro to create a new Sinister Six and has spent time besting some of the brightest Marvel brains: Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic), Hank Pym (Giant Man), Tony Stark (Iron Man) and even the evil Intelligencia. Now his time has come…
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Queseda|
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Senior Editor:||Stephen Wacker|
|Assistant Editor:||Ellie Pyle|
|Cover Art:||Stefano Caselli|
|Lettering:||VC's Joe Caramagna|
|Colorist:||Frank Martin Jr|
Terry Sorenson, Equinox, who holds with power of both Iceman and Human Torch, has been torching buildings for protection money. Spider-Man, with knowledge of this, arrives at the scene of his latest crime prepared. He flies down on his spider-glider and throws two spider-bombs! Filled with a retardant gel that keeps the hot powers cold and the cold powers hot, he brings Equinox down! Spidey turns to see a fire-fighter, who was on the scene but caught by one of Equinox’s ice blasts, snap his foot clean off! Determined to help, Spidey clears the traffic with his glider as the medics race him to hospital! In hospital, Spidey learns that the foot can be reattached. He is about to take the thanks but the doctor explains it’s down to the man who invented the Cryo Cube that bought the foot to hospital intact (who we know was in fact Peter in Amazing #666)! Later, Peter mulls over the impact he’s making working for Horizon. The Cryo Cubes, the polymer he designed for motorcycle helmets (Amazing#663) and the noise reduction headphones (Amazing#663). Proud, he arrives at Horizon and enters his lab where he looks over six cardboard boxes full of technology inspired by his foes. These six boxes are specific: Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Mysterio, Chameleon, Rhino and Electro! There is a commotion outside and Peter joins his colleagues to witness a showdown between Mayor J. Jonah Jameson and Max Modell. JJJ wants Horizon shut down after recent events. He’s not happy that they’ve destroyed the spider-jammers (Amazing#666-673), or that New York was almost destroyed (Amazing#678-9), or that Morbius is working there (Amazing#679.1) or that they almost killed his son John (Amazing#680-1)! JJJ swears to bring Horizon down but, after he’s left, Max explains that they all just need to weather the storm. In a secret underwater location, Doctor Octopus gathers The Sinister Six and tells them that The Fantastic Four, Defenders and X-Men are all occupied and that he is prepared for The Avengers so the time to strike is now! He presses a button and his massive fortress (his Octahedral) rises from the sea! He activates dozens of satellites which heat up the side of the Earth facing the Sun! Birds die, crops begin to wither and people begin collapsing and writhing in pain! He broadcasts to them all and, upon switching off his Octavian Lens, explains that he has given them a taste of what global warning will do to the Earth in generations to come. Octopus explains that his device can reverse this effect and he begs that the people of Earth let him give them a future before he dies. He sends the plans of the Octavian Lens to the top scientific minds so that they know he simply wishes to atone for his past and leave a gift. Peter, who was having lunch with MJ, leaves for Horizon, worried that Doctor Octopus has gone too big for him to handle on his own this time! He overhears people wondering whether Doctor Octopus is actually that bad, including some of his Horizon colleagues! He gathers his six cardboard boxes and leaves. Max stops him but Peter is honest, saying that the boxes are for Spider-Man. At home Peter realises that the stakes are too high on this one. He simply cannot fail. He puts on the contents of the boxes! At Avengers Mansion, there is a heated debate over what to do about Doctor Octopus. Spider-Man enters, concerned that they are even discussing it. Wearing a new armoured, black, red and grey costume, he slams his fist on the table and yells… “Avengers Assemble!”
As an opening volley goes, Dan Slott produces an issue that is solid, entertaining and provoking. He delivers a comic of two halves: Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus. The former’s pages are laden with involving and important continuity, continuing scientific genius and bold steps forward in character (new costume, new attitude in front of The Avengers and a bigger threat than ever before to stand up to). These outstanding elements mean that the opening seven pages, in particular, create an perfect introduction to the new story line. Not quite the reverse of this, but the Doctor Octopus section seems a little awkward to me. We’ve had a taster of him over the last few months, and across the Marvel Universe, to see what he is capable of but here things happen very quickly. Whereas Spider-Islandmay have had too many tie-in issues, does Ends Of The Earth suffer from lack of character investment already? From the moment the Octahedral rises, Ock’s speech is not enough to narrate what is actually happening and the reveal of the Octavian Lens and its capabilities is clunky. The pages of the world’s reaction to this are strangely silent and thus come across as over-dramatic. This isn’t down to Stefano Caselli’s stunning pencils though. He doesn’t put a foot wrong, delivering a high level of detail, a great sense of storytelling and some a brilliant opening sequence that crams so much in but with poise and style. He delivers on the big moments (the suit, the shot of Spidey on the Spider-glider, the 2-page Sinister Six) and the smaller, character moments where subtle emotion and reaction is needed. In all, his toned down style, accompanied by lighter inking by the man himself, make this an issue that is a true pleasure to behold. In another ongoing subplot, it’s clear that changes are on the horizon for Horizon. As Slott, through JJJ, correctly surmises, they’ve been getting themselves into a spot of bother recently whilst trying to single-handedly save New York. To pit JJJ against Horizon is a great twist, allowing Slott to naturally put JJJ in opposition with Spider-Man/Peter Parker again and to change to lay of the land. Since Big Time, Peter’s been (pretty much) winning thanks to the fact that he can use Horizon to fuel his heroic capers (as perfectly illustrated against Equinox). I think Slott’s setting this up as too perfect. Prepare for a twist.
As an opening issue of an important arc goes, this one is very good. There is some clunky writing but the impact and intrigue of the new costume, Sinister Six, Ock blackmailing the world and the awesome artwork make up for it.