Amazing Spider-Man #679.1
Writers: Dan Slott and Chris Yost
Art: Matthew Clark, Tom Palmer [Inks], and Rob Schwager [Color]
Hot on the heels of Spider-Man’s team-up with his Horizon Labs coworker Grady Scraps, Dan Slott and Chris Yost join forces on Amazing Spider-Man #679.1 to team Pete up with another Horizon staffer–child genius Uatu Jackson.
For much of the past year, Slott has teased the identity of the scientist in Lab 6 at Horizon. Though he finally revealed the lab’s occupant to be Morbius (Spidey’s on-again, off-again vampire villain) during last year’s “Spider-Island,” the book’s cast were still in the dark.
It was only a matter of time until curiosity got the better of the other scientists, and Pete and Uatu set out to finally uncover the truth. One of the highlights of this issue are the list of suspects they put together for who the mystery scientist is. Among them: Dr. Octopus, Beast, Dark Beast, The Lizard, Stephen Hawking, and Zombie Albert Einstein, who is present on the list because of Uatu’s obsession with horror movies.
Meanwhile, Morbius, who it turns out is an old college friend of Horizon Labs boss Max Modell, is experimenting with blood to create a cure for his condition. Naturally, this goes awry and brings about the return of his bloodlust (which I don’t seem to remember still being a problem for him in Marvel Zombies 3 & 4, but whatever…) and the not-quite-a-vampire has a brawl with Spider-Man that spills into Horizon’s cafeteria.
As with the rest of Slott’s run, the writing on this issue works on a number of levels and Yost’s experience with grittier, darker, and occasionally supernatural characters and stories (SEE: 2009’s X-Force “Necrosha” storyline) really adds to this a bit. Morbius’ underlying humanity is kept in focus throughout this issue, as is the lack of understanding among others that would cause Modell to keep Morbius’ presence in the facility a secret.
Furthermore, this issue carries on the longstanding tradition of Spider-Man books having a fleshed out supporting cast by giving us more insight into who Max Modell is as a person, and giving us a reason to care about Uatu Jackson (who I had almost forgotten about until now). Revealing that Jackson isn’t just a child genius, but is also obsessed with horror movies to the point that he has a lab full of monster-fighting gear is brilliant. After all, what else would a horror-obsessed child genius do in their free time with their own lab if given the chance?
Finally, in line with the idea behind Marvel’s “Point One” initiative, this book gives readers a good place to jump on, as it introduces one side of the current supporting cast and spins new threads that set up a future plot–one that will likely unfold this July if the reveal on the final page is any indication.
As for the art, this issue leaves little to be desired. It’s easy to follow, with the exception of maybe one or two panels, like the diagram of Horizon Labs on page 5. However, the vibrance and amount of overall detail make it easy to overlook these instances.
This is another great jumping-on point for new readers, and essential reading for regulars.
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