This continues the Gauntlet origin stories With Vulture
Adrian Toomes is in prison and, for some reason, not happy about an abundance of the colour red. Some prisoners accost him and take him to the head of a skinhead gang. As Toomes insults him and shows his strength by squeezing the guy’s fist, he is handed a mobile phone. On the phone are other members of the gang gathering outside his family’s house.
Titus Purves, the leader of the gang inside, says he wants Toomes’ help to escape the barge they are all imprisoned on. Purves explains that, through their network of contacts, the gang can get together any parts Toomes might need to create a new Vulture harness.
Later that month, Toomes helps Purves fly straight over the wall. After Purves has escaped the rest of his gang try to double-cross Vulture. But Toomes, who has built a speaker into the contraption he’s given Purves, reveals he cut a deal with the African brotherhood. They’d be able to take out the leader of the Aryan Brand while having no links to it. So the gang still outside Toomes’ family’s house (a month later?!) are gunned down, the inmates trying to double-cross him and knifed and Purves’ contraption stops working. He is left to plummet to the ground while Toomes is still in his cell.
The Web Of Spider-Man relaunch is increasingly frustrating in that it’s producing needless dull stories. This is a prime example. In one line: the Vulture’s in prison and gets one over a racist gang.
Except that one line is drawn out to 12 pages with backup stories and sold for $4. It’s a story that adds nothing to the overall Spider-Man narrative and, in essence, has no reason to be told. And companies wonder why sales figures slide and people stop buying comics. It’s because of issues like this that don’t tell a story, don’t add anything and charge a premium for the privilege.
In its defence, there’s nothing outright wrong in the story and Francis Portela’s art is strong – but there’s just so little here to recommend.