“The Osborn Identity” didn’t get off to the hottest start following the events that took place in The Clone Conspiracy. The first issue of this new story arc certainly had it’s moments that help build excitement for what could possibly happen to Spider-Man and his supporting cast. It’s those moments that have given me hope that “The Osborn Identity” will turn out to be an excellent tone setter for the series following a big event. With Silver Sable returning at the end of the main story at the end of the last issue there are still a lot of ways that the story can go. Will it be as good as I expect it to be? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #26.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawdger
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At the rooftop gala for the Uncle Ben Foundation in Hong Kong, everyone is freaking out. Min-Wei gets Aunt May on the ground, away from gun fire. Norman Osborn, still in his disguise, does the same for Harry and ends up revealing his real identity to his son.
Norman tells Harry he has to get to work. Norman then calls in his Goblin army to kick start his plans.
Spider-Man, Mockingbird and Silver Sable see what is going on. Silver Sable is the first to go after Norman. Spider-Man and Mockingbird follow not long after, passing by the party in the process with Spider-Man revealing he knows Norman is there.
Harry asks one of the men that Norman talked to about what Norman was doing at the party. The guy is completely scarred and hands Harry a business card with the Green Goblin symbol and a special web url.
Elsewhere, Silver Sable is able to grapple onto one of Norman’s soldiers flying bikes. Mockingbird request some back-up from SHIELD but is denied. Nick Fury gets on the line and tells Mockingbird that this is not an official SHIELD operation and they can’t have China believing they are involved. Mockingbird hesitates at first but understands and decides to pull back.
Spider-Man sees Mockingbird pull back because of SHIELD’s orders and “thanks” her for being a good partner.
Further down the city Silver Sable steals one of Norman’s men’s bikes just as Spider-Man catches up with her.
Back at the rooftop gala Harry uses his webware to visits the website where Norman is running a livestream he is calling “The Goblin Army Expo.” The livestream shows Norman hosting the stream of him being chased by Silver Sable and Spider-Man.
Spider-Man and Silver Sable end up chasing Norman into a hidden bunker. Norman welcomes his audience to his weapons test, which he will be using Spider-Man and Silver Sable as target practice.
While Spider-Man and Silver Sable fight Norman’s army, Norman explains how his Glide-Cycle his men are using work. Spider-Man and Silver Sable end up destroying the Glide-Cycles during the fight. Norman expect them to do that and he brings out the Kingslayer Mark 1, a giant mech tank that towers over Spider-Man and Silver Sable.
As Norman talks about what the Kingslayer Mark 1 is Harry continues to watch the livestream. Phillip Chang and Max Modell contact Harry about all the complaints they are receive about the webware being hacked. Harry can’t believe it since webware saved the world from Carrion. Anna gets on the line and says people don’t see it that way as they are still doing damage control.
Will McMann also gets on the line to talk about how the company’s association with the Avengers isn’t helping things. Aunt May brings up how Peter is doing what is best for the company and everyone should be working to help rather than complaining.
In an unknown hideout, Doctor Otto Octavius is happily hearing all the conversations Parker Industries is having. Doc Ock talks to himself about how he hopes Peter is happy for completely ruining the company he built.
Back in the underground bunker Spider-Man and Silver Sable continue to fight the Kingslayer as Norman and his crowd watch on. Spider-Man is eventually able to get close enough to the Kinslayer to use his strength to start taking it apart. Seeing this happen, Norman cuts the livestream. As Norman is leaving Silver Sable yells out that Norman will pay for what he has done to her people. The Kingslayer suddenly fires a shot at Spider-Man and Silver Sable that send them flying.
Silver Sable and Spider-Man get back up but all their tech is fried. Spider-Man finds a power cell that fell out of a destroyed Glider-Cycle. Spider-Man uses his webs to attach it to the Kingslayer. Silver Sable then shoots the attached power cell, which causes the Kingslayer to explode.
Spider-Man says he wishes the camera was still rolling to see Kingslayer’s defeat but Silver Sable is more concerned about destroying them. Spider-Man wonders how she is back.
Silver Sable says it does not matter how she returned but that her disappearance made it possible for Norman and his Goblin Army to set-up their HQ in Symkaria. Sable explains that to build his war machines Norman enslaved the people and caused them to become homeless. She then request Spider-Man’s help. Spider-Man says if she helps him bring Norman to justice he will make sure to bankroll Symkaria’s recovery.
Later at Shanghai airport, Harry thinks it’s crazy that Peter is using Parker Industry’s resources to help topple a lawful regime to oust his dad when the company is struggling. Peter says he understands the risks but that explains that if he can use the company to help save people it’ll be more than worth it.
Elsewhere, Doc Ock continues to listen in on Peter’s conversations through the webware and states how easy Peter is making his job.
At a SHIELD meeting Nick tells his agents that they got an anonymous tip that Parker Industries is about to invade Symkaria. He goes on to say that this puts Parker Industries on the same threat level as Hydra and AIM. Nick ends his speech by saying from this point forward they are severing ties with Parker Industries. All agents understand with Mockingbird being the last to say “Sir! Yes Sir!.” End of issue.
The Good: Even though a lot of time does not pass during the course of Amazing Spider-Man #26 the issue is packed with things that happen. Not everything that happened is executed in the best way but there is certainly a lot of developments that keep interest high in how things will go. This is especially the case with everything that Norman Osborn is trying to pull off in his return to power.
Dan Slott wasted no time in having Norman making his presence known to a lot of people. After spending so much time in the shadows it was good to see Norman understood the situation enough that he couldn’t hide anymore. This shows how flexible Norman has made his plans as he begins to rise to power while also understanding that SHIELD has yet to target him as a threat. At the same time, he used his own reveal to the world to turn everyone against Spider-Man and Parker Industries.
Though it does seem extreme to have Nick and SHIELD label Parker Industries on the same level as AIM and Hydra it does speak to the professional mistakes Peter has been making recently. Peter has spent too much of the company’s resources on his Spider-Man adventures that he is blind to the full extent of the damage his heroic adventures are causing.
That is best shown with how he ignored Harry’s concern to launch a full invasion on Symkaria without speaking to SHIELD or the Avengers. The fact that he makes that decision as Peter Parker, CEO of Parker Industries, and not Spider-Man makes Nick’s warning to his SHIELD agents much more understandable.
This shift brings into question how Spider-Man’s relationship with Mockingbird will be handled moving forward. Slott has spent a lot of time building this relationship up both on a professional and romantic level. Given her final statement that closed Amazing Spider-Man #26 I’ll be very interested to see where Slott takes her character in this story arc.
While Spider-Man did possibly lose Mockingbird as an ally, it was interesting to see him ally himself once again with Silver Sable. Slott is smart to not go into detail about how Silver Sable returned. It’s not necessary to reveal that right now. Rather, Silver Sable’s absence is a good way to establish why she is taking Norman’s current rise to power so personally as she blames herself for Symkaria’s current state. That sense of personal stake makes Silver Sable’s story possibly the most interesting to follow.
That’s not to say Spider-Man’s part isn’t interesting. Slott creates a lot of angles for him to take Peter’s future in and out of his Spider-Man career. It’s clear that things are only going to get worse before they get better for Peter in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. The interactions Harry has with everyone at Parker Industries and later with Peter leads to that idea. The question will be if Parker Industries can survive this and if Peter will maintain his position in the company.
Stuart Immonen once again provided some strong artwork for this series. It is great to have him back on a Spider-Man book. Immonen has done a good job so far aging up his style compared to Ultimate Spider-Man since this is an older Peter Parker and Marvel Universe. At the same time, Immonen more than delivers when it comes to when it comes to the action sequences. Given that there were multiple double splash pages in this issue Immonen had plenty of opportunity to show off.
The Bad: The one part that falls flat in Amazing Spider-Man #26 is everything involving Doctor Octopus. Though Slott knows how to write a great Doc Ock this was one of those additions that felt like one too many plotlines in play. With how much is going on around Norman Osborn and Peter Parker’s battle, Doc Ock was unnecessary given that he will be part of the Secret Empire tie-in issues. Slott would’ve been better off keeping him off panel and just had the scene of Nick telling his SHIELD agents about an anonymous tip to build up what Doc Ock is doing. But since that didn’t happen, Doc Ock’s involvement was just unnecessary at the moment.
It’s that Doc Ock sub-plot that makes you realize how overstuffed this story arc is, especially since the Secret Empire tie-ins are right around the corner. The story would be better off focusing on less plot points to refine the story. If not things can get out of hand and a lot more confusing before things come to an end with this story.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #26 for the most part was an improvement over the opening chapter of “The Osborn Identity.” While the Doc Ock scenes were unnecessary, everything else about how Dan Slott developed the latest battle between Spider-Man and Green Goblin provided the excitement this story needed. The ending especially provides multiple possibilities for how this arc will end. All of those possibilities do not look like it will be good for Spider-Man, at least for now.