The Clone Conspiracy took a lot out of Spider-Man, his supporting cast and Parker Industries. As tough as The Clone Conspiracy was on everyone in the Spider-Man Universe it may not be the hardest challenge they have all faced. How can that be after everything that happened during that event? Well Dan Slott is going to show us how things are going to get even harder by bringing Norman Osborn into the fold. Norman is one of, if not the greatest, threats that Peter has faced personally and as Spider-Man. Though he hasn’t played a big part in Slott’s run so far Norman has maintained his presence in this Spider-Man’s life during this time. And with Spider-Man so distracted by The Clone Conspiracy events Norman has had ample time to develop his own plans without being hindered. Now that he has planned things out it is time to find out what the old pumpkin thrower is up to. Let’s see what it is with the extra sized, and priced, Amazing Spider-Man #25.
Writers: Dan Slott (The Osborn Identity Main Story& Secret Empire Back-Up); Christos Gage (Police & Thieves); Jacob Chabot (Spider-Man Tsum-Up); Hannah Blumenreich (Mutts Ado About Nothing); James Asmus; Cale Atkinson (The A-May-Zing Spider-Aunt)
Artists: Stuart Immnonen (The Osborn Identity); Todd Nauck (Police & Thieves); Ray-Anthony Height (Spider-Man Tsum-Up); Tana Ford; Hannah Blumenreich (Mutts Ado About Nothing); Giuseppe Camuncoli (Secret Empire Back-Up)
Inkers: Wade Von Grawbadger (The Osborn Identity); Walden Wong (Spider-Man Tsum-Up); Cam Smith (Secret Empire Back-Up); Jordan Gibson (Mutts Ado About Nothing)
Colorists: Marte Gracia (The Osborn Identity); Rachelle Rosenberg (Police & Thieves); Jim Cambell (Spider-Man Tsum-Up); Andres Mossa; Jason Keith (Secret Empire Back-Up); Jordie Bellaire (Mutts Ado About Nothing)
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Las Colinas Rojas, the drug capital of Delvadia, Spider-Man uses some spider drones to take out some men to clear the area for an operation. As he does this a woman using cloaking tech to hide her presences as Spider-Man arrives.
Spider-Man, Mockingbird, Devil Spider, Tarantula and some SHIELD agents use Parker Industry diggers to get underground to begin their operation to find Norman Osborn. Though everyone questions Spider-Man taking the lead both Spider-Man and Nick Fury insist on Spider-Man leading the way.
As they make their way through the tunnel Spider-Man thinks back to his meeting with Kingpin, where he obtained the information on Norman.
His flashback does not last long as some Goblin grunts attack Spider-Man and his team, blinding them with flash bombs. Spider-Man is able to use his spider sense to fight off the Goblin grunts.
On the streets of Las Colinas Rojas the woman who is cloaking her presence sets some charges. Before she can detonate them some people start walking on the street. The woman fires her gun so everyone can run away before the bombs go off.
Underground Spider-Man successfully uses his spider sense to buy his team time so they are now able to fight help the Goblin grunts. As the fighting goes on Mockingbird notices that Spider-Man aggression continuing to intensify. Spider-Man says that after all he has been through he needs a win and yells out Norman Osborn’s name.
As the fighting continues “Norman” finally appears, guns blazing and angry at Spider-Man for marching into his home.
Suddenly the cloaked woman sets off her bombs, causing the street to collapse.
As the street crumbles above them Spider-Man and Mockingbird leave the others to arrest the Goblin grunts while they chase after “Norman.”
Spider-Man is able to quickly find and tie up Norman with his webs. With the street above them still coming down on them Spider-Man and Mockingbird dive into a nearby pool with Norman. They end up trapped under the rubble. Spider-Man thinks quickly and uses some pumpkin bombs he found to blow a hole in the pool.
The hole sends Spider-Man, Mockingbird and “Norman” end up in the sewers. As they end up in a river “Norman” reveals that he is not Norman Osborn.
Sometime later at SHIELD HQ, Nick shows Spider-Man and Mockingbird results that show that they did not capture Norman Osborn, which pisses Spider-Man off. Nick tells Spider-Man that there is some good news as there someone else with the Facoquero’s face making deals around the globe. Spider-Man knows that is Norman and thinks it gives them a leg up.
In his hideout Norman expresses frustration over Facoquero being captured, blowing his cover in the process. Norman goes further underground and into Doctor Dragovic’s lab to get another facial reconstruction to hide his appearance and go back “home.”
As Peter nears New York City he is talking to Mockingbird in his plane. Mockingbird mentions that there are five sightings of the other Facoquero. Peter says they can start their investigation in Hong Kong since his charity foundation is holding an event there in a few days. Mockingbird agrees. She then mentions that SHIELD has taken care of the thing Peter wanted help with.
Later that night Peter arrives at the cemetery, where his Uncle Ben’s remains have been returned to its resting place. Peter talks to his Uncle Ben about how crazy being Spider-Man and the events of the Clone Conspiracy doing a number on him.
The next day Peter visits his Aunt May, who has been with Harry Osborn and Betty Brant. After some light bantering Peter mentions he wants to take Aunt May’s place at the charity function in Hong Kong. With everything that has happened, Aunt May forgot about the event and says she is fine with Peter going in her place.
Harry pulls Peter aside to say he is happy to keep watch over Aunt May. He then mentions to Peter how Betty has been acting weird.
In the kitchen Peter talks to Betty, who reveals she has a new voicemail with Ned’s voice in it. She freaks out that this may mean he is alive. Peter reassures her that he’ll find out the truth, while remembering once again what recently happened.
Peter meets Bobbi at JFK Airport, where they take a normal plane to Hong Kong. While waiting for their flight they talk to each other about everything they have been doing since they last saw each other.
Later, on the plane Peter wakes up a snoring Bobbi. Peter awkwardly asks Bobbi if they are going out. Before he can get an answer Aunt May appears to call out Peter for his awkwardness. Peter wonders what she is doing there. Aunt May shows Peter that Harry came along to watch her like he promised. Things get even more awkward for Peter as Aunt May starts showing Bobbi his baby pictures.
At Hong King Airport Peter gets some transportation for Aunt May and Harry. After they leave Peter and Bobbie suit up to look for Norman. As they change Bobbi reminds Peter that SHIELD will not be helping them out in Hong Kong.
Spider-Man and Mockingbird make their way through the Hong Kong underworld looking for answers on Norman’s location. As the night goes on Spider-Man mentions how uncomfortable he is beating up only on Asians. Mockingbird reminds Spider-Man that they are in Hong Kong but to make him more comfortable she takes him to another gang location with the members wearing masks.
At the gang’s warehouse Spider-Man and Mockingbird end up finding crates with pumpkin bombs in them. Spider-Man questions the gang members about Norman’s location. Fearing for their lives the gang members reveal Norman will be at an exclusive black market party. The gang member goes on to say Norman is using another event called “Oobie Yeff” as a cover. Spider-Man realizes that “Oobie Yeff” is the Uncle Ben Foundation party.
Spider-Man and Mockingbird rush to get to the UBF party Norman in his new face is scoping out the party out. He ends up spotting Aunt May and Harry at the party. He overhears that Harry changed his last name to Lyman, which pisses him off as Harry is throwing away the Osborn legacy.
As the party goes on a sniper at a nearby rooftop using cloaking technology sets her sights on Harry. Spider-Man and Mockingbird spot the sniper and are able to cause her to miss her shot.
The sniper is able to sneak around Mockingbird and kick her away. Spider-Man is able to detect the sniper and uses his electrified web cartridge to short out her cloaking tech.
Spider-Man is shocked to see the sniper is Silver Sable, who he thought was dead. Silver Sable yells at Spider-Man for saving Norman Osborn. End of main story.
The Good: There is no rest for the weary and that is a lesson that Spider-Man continues to learn even more since the Marvel Universe rebooted itself and he became as rich as Tony Stark once was. Now things seem to have gotten even worse for Peter Parker with how Dan Slott is moving him into yet another massive story, this time involving Norman Osborn. That sense of escalation makes at least the main story of Amazing Spider-Man #25 a very good start to “The Osborn Identity” story arc.
As big of a threat that Norman Osborn will always be Slott does not make that the main attention of this opening chapter of “The Osborn Identity.” Instead Slott uses this latest conflict with Norman as a way to show us how mentally beat up Peter continues to be. Even in the moments where he is trying to put up a front with Aunt May, Harry and Bobbi there are constant reminders of what happened during The Clone Conspiracy. Betty mentioning having a voicemail from Ned on her phone was just another reminder of all that Peter lost once again.
That all helped frame why as Spider-Man, Peter was more motivated than usual in finding and capturing Norman. The fact that he was constantly on edge that even Mockingbird and others reacted to how insanely driven he is right now speaks to all that Slott has put the character through. This not only helps show us how mentally beaten up Peter is but also how Norman can actually continue to hide in plain sight. Because for all of the tech Peter now has at his disposal his current state of mind can be his greatest weakness in as he makes rash decisions.
This nicely mirrors where Norman is himself. As much pleasure as Norman is getting from evading Spider-Man it’s clear he is ready to stop hiding and changing his face. Learning that Harry changed his last name was a good way to finally pull the switch on this as Norman now may become even more obsessed with maintaining the Osborn legacy he believes is so great. How that plays into the plot builds further interest in how things will play out during this arc.
Adding the returning Silver Sable to the story provided Slott with the opportunity to have a wild card character in play. Given how Slott has previously developed Silver Sable’s relationship with Spider-Man there are a lot of ways he can go from here. It’ll be especially interesting to learn why she has decided to suddenly make her presence known after such a long time off screen since almost dying.
With all this going down Slott was able to find a good way to balance things out to show us Peter still trying to be himself. That is best shown through his developing relationship with Bobbi. This isn’t a relationship that I didn’t think have legs when Slott first introduced it. Now that we have had more issues with Peter and Bobbi interacting with one another we have been able to see how the pairing can work for both of them. Giving us moments like Aunt May embarrassing Peter was a great touch to build the relationship between the two.
While most of the back-up stories felt like padding for Amazing Spider-Man #25 there was a few stand outs. Of all the back-ups the one that stood out was Hannah Blumenreich’s “Mutts Ado About Nothing.” This back-up is exactly the type of stories that a collection of anthologies for a major character should be. It was short and to the point that actually added a neat look at Peter’s history as Spider-Man. Making the story about Peter’s extremely short period as a pet owner is a reminder of how relatable of a character he can be when creative teams write him right.
The Secret Empire back-up was also a good set-up for what Spider-Man’s role may be in the upcoming event. Though I am still trying to get my head around whether Secret Empire will be an event comic I purchase Slott did make Doc Ock’s role an intriguing one. Out of all the villains that could join the current Hydra’s cause, Doc Ock makes a lot of sense to be a member. Slott has given the character the type of build that makes him a very dangerous character to be part of Secret Empire.
The artwork throughout Amazing Spider-Man #25 was all solid with each artist bringing something different to the table. For his debut as an ongoing artist, Stuart Immnonen delivered when it came to all the action sequences. Immononen made enough tweaks to the style he brought during his Ultimate Spider-Man run that made this feel like we were watching an older Spider-Man having adventures. The opening sequence in particular had a sense of chaos that went along with how intensely driven Spider-Man was throughout this issue.
The Bad: No matter how Marvel wants to cut it $9.99 for a single issue comic is a crazy high price point and an instant turn off for readers who haven’t read Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man run. And with the price point being so close to that of a trade paperback it hurts the perception of this not having a complete story. Instead this is just an opening chapter of a bigger story. If Marvel wanted to charge so much for an “anniversary” issue they and Slott should’ve made this like Amazing Spider-Man #600, which Slott also wrote, and given us a complete story from start to finish. At least then the price could be justified for readers looking to jump in for a fun Spider-Man story that is like a trade paperback.
Outside the back-ups mentioned above they mostly all felt like padding to justify the price point of Amazing Spider-Man #25 rather than true compliments to the issue. There was very little in the way of risks taken with these back-up stories. If Marvel really wanted to go with an anthology angle with the story they should’ve had each writer write a story that took place in different parts of Spider-Man’s continuity or alternate reality counterparts. At least in that way there could’ve been a better sense of each story being unique, rather than just using the present day events of Spider-Man’s life.
Not using one of the back-ups to tell Silver Sable’s story since apparently dying would’ve been a much better choice with how the writers choose to tell present day events. At least then we would’ve gotten something that relates to the main story. In turn that would add value to the issue as we are getting more of the main conflict of this issue, which is what fans are buying Amazing Spider-Man #25 for.
Overall: For the opening chapter of “The Osborn Identity” Amazing Spider-Man #25 is very successful. Dan Slott creates a lot of intrigue on multiple angles with Spider-Man’s latest clash with his greatest enemy. The surprising return of Silver Sable added to the intrigue of where things will go. Unfortunately the hefty price point of $9.99 make Amazing Spider-Man #25 virtually impossible to recommend to anyone outside the hardest of hardcore Spider-Man fans.