Avenging Spider-Man: Threats & Menaces

Writer / Artist
Avenging Spider-Man: Threats & Menaces
Avenging Spider-Man Threats & Menaces review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 978-0-7851-6573-6
  • Volume No.: 3
  • Release date: 2013
  • UPC: 9780785165736
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

This third selection of 2012-2013 Spider-Man team-ups follows the pattern of The Good, the Green and the Ugly, except it used up most stories from the comic series still featuring Peter Parker as Spider-Man. It leaves this as rather the hodgepodge, gathering material from all over, and dropping the idea of team-ups midway through.

It’s fairly obvious what Cullen Bunn wanted from the opening story: heavy dinosaur on dinosaur action, and as seen on the sample art, Gabriele Dell’Otto surely provides it with magnificence. It’s the last outing for the old Devil Dinosaur before being co-opted by Moon Girl. Spider-Man’s in the Savage Land as Peter Parker, part of a scientific expedition interrupting some villainous goings-on, but that’s about all the backstory needed before the action begins. The wonder’s almost all in the art, and that’s magnificent, although the twist ending’s also good.

Rob Williams and Brad Walker focus on Spider-Man and the Thing tracking down two idiots with alien technology that amplifies bad moods to violence. It has a few enjoyably daft moments, but without being anything other than a story read once and forgotten.

At this point in Spider-Man’s continuity he’s working at Horizon Labs, where experimentation is everything, and sometimes there’s not the regard for safety there ought to be. Under Brian Reed and Lee Garbett, when an experiment goes wrong Peter Parker still exists in the world, but he’s been wiped from existence in the manner of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life. What would the world be like if Spider-Man had never existed? It’s clever in suggesting what changes may have occurred, not least Uncle Ben still being alive. It’s really good, although a quibble is perhaps Garbett might have injected greater feeling.

Dean Haspiel’s ‘Spider-Man For a Night’ dips back into the past when Peter Parker decided being Spider-Man was more trouble than it was worth and discarded his costume in a dustbin. It’s found by a petty criminal in what’s a sentimental treat.

Sentimentality is ramped up by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Nuno Plati in what seems to be two stories stitched together. The first concerns the worst day Spider-Man could have without a villain in sight, but it’s topped by the second half featuring a bullied kid. Plato handles both neatly with unusual stylised art.

People temporarily transformed into vampires ends the collection with the weakest moment from Keith Grevioux and Roberto Castro. Blade’s inevitable appearance can’t save an over-wordy tale with average art.

Everything here is also found in Avenging Spider-Man: The Complete Collection, and that’s not a bad way to sample a series that has far more highs than lows.