Here we are at the 5th issue of the Ends of the Earth epic storyline in the Amazing Spider-Man title. Spidey has had his hands full! Taking on the Sinister Six (with the help of the Avengers), getting his butt kicked by the Sinister Six (along with the Avengers) and then roaming the earth with two very hot heroines, Black Widow and Silver Sable, as they attempt to discover and destroy Doc Ock’s ability to fulfill his one last wish for humanity, or so it seems. What am I wasting time with an introduction for? Let’s jump right into the action!
On the Symkarian and Romanian boarder, Symkaria burns to the ground. Silver Sable is in shock at seeing her homeland in such ruin. It’s up to Black Widow and Spidey to save as many people as they can. As Spidey tries to do what he does best, Widow has other plans. Cut their losses and attempt to find the remaining bases belonging to Octavius. If they can find those, they might have a chance of saving what’s left of the rest of the world. As Spidey and the Widow yell at each other, and the team from Horizon Labs is still trying desperately to figure out what Otto is using and where he is, we pan over to none other than Mysterio and Chameleon! Could this all just be an elaborate special effect by the master illusionist himself? Who better to add to that illusion than sending in Chameleon to play the part of Octavius and really turn the screws on Spider-Man!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Dan Slott is one of the best writers Spidey has had in a long time. The beginning of the arc was great. It had a nice, fast pace to it, but as we a got to around the third and fourth issues of the arc, it just kind of slowed down and got repetitive. Here, in the fifth issue of the storyline, we’re starting to pick up our feet again. Slott is building up pace and giving us a ton of action here. With some unexpected turns in the plot, the sixth and final issue for Ends of the Earth is going to be epic. We see Sable in a ball of emotion here, Black Widow being the cold and hard edged character to counter Spidey’s willingness to sacrifice it all just to save that last person. It’s a great mix, and Slott weaves it very well. The personalities of each character, from Mysterio down to J.J. Jameson with the conversation (or lack thereof) with his father is character specific. It all fits.
The one thing that has me kind of turned around is, Stephano Caselli started the art for this. Then, Humberto Ramos, who’s a great artist in his own right, took over for issues 684 and 685. Was there really a need for that? It changed the style of the art, that’s for sure, but I think if we had seen Caselli’s art throughout, it would have made for a much more epic storyline. Here, I think Stephano’s artwork really shines. The way he draws Sable and Widow are perfect examples of this. As Silver Sable is breaking down, not only can you see it, but you can feel it in the artwork. With Black Widow, you can see that leadership role in her stance as she attempts to pull Spider-Man back to the task at hand, which is finding and stopping Doctor Octopus. It’s great to see visually, and with the words from Dan Slott added to that, it makes the issue that much better.
I have to give Slott credit though. He had me do a Wow moment. The last few pages of the issue got me, and I honestly wasn’t expecting it. I mean, who would have really thought that…. Wait a minute! I can’t tell you! You’ve gotta read it!
Ends of the Earth really is a great starting point for those of us that are either new to Spidey, or just haven’t read him in a while. It’s filled with action and drama and some good old fashioned nerdiness form Peter Parker himself. How else could we see this new Spider Armor or the magnetic webbing, or even the Spider Glider without his awesome intellect? Dan Slott takes what’s great about Spidey and keeps it in each issue, and with Stephano Caselli doing the pencils, we get to see just how awesome it looks.
Parental concern: Not much. Just some explosions and whatnot. No blood.