Welp, that was confusing.

[Yo. Comic Virgins is a regularly occurring DTC staple, where Amanda reads comics picked by Ben and Mike.]

When Ben walked in the door from work tonight (I’m writing this on a chilly Sunday evening), I looked up from the couch in a daze. I had a half-eaten bowl of delicious Hudsonville ice cream on my lap, but I wasn’t enjoying it. I was too busy trying to sort through the damn plot lines (dare I call it a plot web? Har-de-har-har) of Spider-Man: The Other: Evolve or Die. I told Ben that I had finished Spider-Man just moments before.

“Did you like it?” he asked while taking off his stinky work shoes.

“I’m…. I’m not sure,” I responded. “It was… hard.”

Not as hard as Peter had it from Morlun, but I digress.

Not as hard as Peter had it from Morlun, but I digress.

And yes, that’s how I’ll describe it. It was hard. This is my first “mainstream” comic, and I don’t think I was prepared for how many damn plot lines, characters and all around junk they crammed into it. Let’s break it down, as Spider-Man so perfectly does in one panel:

  • Spider-Man gets shot, and he’s got some sort of weird degenerative thing and BAM he dies but not really
  • There’s some super villain dude that looks like a dark Fabio who’s ominously following him around and then attacks him and EATS HIS GODDAMN EYE HOLY GOODNESS
  • MJ bitches a lot, but let’s be honest, we’d all bitch about safety if we dated a man that throws himself around skyscrapers with SPIDERWEBS, and then Peter brings up not having a baby with MJ which gives me lady-feels all throughout this thing – I can’t be the only one who wanted MJ to be the last panel and be like, “I’m having a baby, yo!” /ovaries
  • Spider-Man dies, but doesn’t, and comes back and kills something in his hospital room with STICKS THAT SHOOT OUT OF HIS WRIST is he Logan now? J.F.C.
  • Don’t forget that random ass side-trip to Africa where we see the Anasazi temple and Spidey eats a holy spinach salad or something (but nothing really happens)
  • HE SHEDS HIS SKIN LIKE A FREAKIN’ SNAKE
  • I REPEAT, HE SHEDS HIS SKIN LIKE A FREAKIN’ SNAKE
  • And then spiders eat the dead skin? Really?
  • Let’s not forget that now he’s got spidey-senses on CRACK and he can hold onto shit with his back skin and sense things with his arm hairs and WEIRD STUFF IS HAPPENING

There’s other stuff, but I’m just tired thinking about it. It was a packed comic. Like, it was akin to the “One Thin Mint” skit from Monty Python (spoiler: the dude is so full that he eats one thin mint and EXPLODES EVERYWHERE) – you couldn’t fit another thing in there. It was action-packed, which was fun, but it was also very crowded. I was overwhelmed, and not in a good way. This was not a good comic for a newbie like myself – I know I missed some pretty major stuff. I would’ve liked it more if they would’ve focused on one or two of the dozen or so plots they had in there.

Now, stepping beyond the plot, let’s look at the characters in general. These are all people that I’ve gotten to know from movies. Don’t shoot me, but I didn’t know that Logan existed in the same universe as Spidey and the Avengers. In fact, I’m not 100 percent sure I knew that Spidey and the gang existed together, either. I like it, though – I like that they don’t exist in a vacuum. I wish that they had come to his rescue more – it seemed like something the story creators (this thing had a big title page, so I know there’s someone to credit overall, but MAN, I don’t want to leave anyone out) turned to on occasion, but every time. Wouldn’t you expect it every time? If I were in the Avengers and someone was kicking my ass while I was out and about, you better believe that Iron Man would be there with his arc-reactor nonsense to save my life.

And can we just say that Aunt May is the sassiest thing ever? So adorable, that woman.

She looks so shocked - Peter probably just jumped off something high.

She looks so shocked – Peter probably just jumped off something high.

Now, there were a lot of people that I know I was supposed to know who they were, but that was definitely not the case. Characters, at least the minor ones, were poorly introduced. It made me feel like an outsider in the universe; I hadn’t earned my rights to understand all of the little stuff because I haven’t put in the comic reading time. That’s fine, I get that. I still say, though, that some names would’ve been nice here and there.

Onto the general design, where I always seem to have at least a comment or two. I like the panel variety here. Not a standard size or really any pattern, which was refreshing. However, sometimes when the layout put different sizes next to each other, I didn’t know where to read next. The same thing goes for the speech bubbles – most of the time I could follow the conversation, but when they all overlap and such, it gets confusing. However, all of this pales in comparison to my JOY while reading this comic when I saw the elusive, mysterious and under-utilized bless that is LOWERCASE LETTERS.

(Please, note the irony of my uppercase letters there. Just give it a chuckle. It’ll make my day.)

The creator(s) used lowercase to signify thoughts/inner monologues, or at least, that’s how I understood it. It honest-to-goodness made me smile. Finally, something familiar. I love a good lowercase letter. More comics should employ them. I also liked how thoughts were set out with rectangular boxes, while speaking was in actual bubbles. It definitely helped give me some pathway to follow, even when the storyline got crazy.

Now, the final verdict: is this something I’m going to keep up with? I’m not sure. I like the character of Spider-Man, and I can see myself reading Spider-Man comics and getting enjoyment out of them. However, I don’t know if I can do this cross-universe, 17-storyline thing. I think maybe I’d have a better time with earlier mainstream comics, back when were still figuring out who the big baddie was, and not battling his regeneration or something.

So, love it? Hate it? Also confused by the 17 story lines? Let me know in the comics! See you next time!

About The Author

Hey there! I'm Amanda, and I'm the managing editor for DetroyTheCyborg! I come to the job with a background in journalism, English, American culture and all-around interest in what makes up our site.

For a living, I'm a government reporter for a newspaper my hometown. Seeing as that can be a bit monotonous, I welcome the opportunity to write occasional book (and other) reviews for DTC. If you see a book coming up I should review, let me know!

My interests are many and varied. I love table top games, bad movies (and good films!), music of all genres and the occasional graphic novel. Ben P. is trying his hardest to increase my interest in comic books - stay tuned for the outcome of THAT adventure. When it comes to books, I've yet to find a genre that I won't read. I have a particular affinity to Lord of the Rings and non-fiction first-person explorations - see Mary Roach's Stiff or Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals for examples.

My other abilities? I find that I make a mean batch of cinnamon rolls, and I can (most of the time) keep the crayon inside the lines.

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