With Dan Slott officially announcing that he is ending his long Amazing Spider-Man and moving over to the Iron Man franchise he started his last story arc by starting to wrap his many sub-plots. One of them was tackling the threat of Scorpio after his one year in limbo ended. That was a dangling storyline that was good to see Slott get over with as it wouldn’t of been right for another Spider-Man writer or new creative team deal with it.
While the Scorpio wrap-up was solid it was disappointing to find out that Norman Osborn’s big endgame in “Threat Level: Red” involves becoming the new host for the Carnage symbiote. The symbiote characters are some of the least interesting set of characters Marvel. Marvel have been so gung-ho about making Venom, Carnage and other symbiotes a major thing that they’ve lived out their welcome. Now Slott does still have a few issues to make this Carnage Goblin that Norman Osborn looks to turn himself into to be something that is compelling. Can that happen? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #795.
Writer: Dan Slott and Christos Gage
Artist: Mike Hawthorne
Inker: Terry Pallot
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Peter Parker moves into his new place after breaking up with Bobby Morse. Seeing that there is an anti-Webware ad outside his window Peter decides to get some air by swinging around as Spider-Man.
Since he is now broke Spider-Man conserves his web-fluid by riding on top of a train as it snows in the city.
At Sanctum Sanctorum someone watches Spider-Man’s bad day and decides to “help.”
At Bobbi’s apartment after finishing packing up in she gets a call from Aunt May, who asks her to go to lunch. Bobbi thinks things may be awkward but accepts.
Peter arrives at the Daily Bugle and is told about how people who hate Parker Industries for what happened continue to spam the Bugle’s phones and emails. Peter says he will fix things. Before he can do anything a crow flies in with a message for Peter from Sanctum Sanctorum.
Changing into his gear Spider-Man swings over to Sanctum Sanctorum and is surprised to find Loki wearing Doctor Strange’s cloak. Loki reveals he is the new Sorcerer Supreme and says he remembers owing Spider-Man a favor.
At Cafe SOHO Aunt May is surprised Peter isn’t joining them. Bobbi reveals that she found a new job in the west coast and she broke up with Peter. Bobbi broke up after stopping Scorpio when they realized that outside of being Spider-Man and Mockingbird they had nothing in common.
Back at Sanctum Sanctorum Loki says while he is not claiming to be a good guy he is trying to make his new role work including saving the world seventeen times from mystical attacks. Loki then says he wants to help Spider-Man overcome his difficult time by possibly turning back time. Spider-Man turns that down as he already knows first hand that doing that comes with a cost. Loki says he understands things cost but he is a God and offers to show Spider-Man. Spider-Man quickly gets over playing games and punches a statue in frustration.
The statue breaks and unleashes several mystical bug-looking creatures. Loki realizes that because Spider-Man is connected to the Spider-Totem that the statue he broke is the only thing Spider-Man could break in the Sanctum Sanctorum. Spider-Man tells Loki if he wants to be shown as better than Doctor Strange then he needs to help save the people from the new threats they released.
After the creatures kill several people Spider-Man and Loki team-up to stop the creatures from hurting anyone else. One of the creatures Spider-Man knocks out ends up going into Cafe SOHO and he sees Bobbi protecting Aunt May.
Loki rounds up all the creatures. As he does so Spider-Man calls in his favor by asking Loki to turn back time before the creatures ever attacked the city just now and .
Loki does so and they both end up back at the Sanctum Sanctorum like nothing ever happened with the creatures being released and no one died. Loki says that Spider-Man can no grow from this experience. Spider-Man says he will tell everyone that Loki is a poser if asked about how he is doing as Sorcerer Supreme.
After Spider-Man leaves Zelma, Loki’s assistant, asks Loki why he moved the containment cask out into the open. Loki smiles and says he is moving it back to the secure wing soon.
Loki then goes to check up on how Spider-Man is doing and sees that Peter is meeting Bobbi and Aunt May at Cafe SOHO for lunch. Loki reflects on Peter getting a chance to have one last lunch with Bobbi before she leaves and being their for Aunt May. He then looks at what Norman Osborn is up to and says Peter may have needed the favor for something different.
At Norman Osborn’s place Norman takes out the Carnage symbiote from it’s containment jar. Norman embraces the symbiote and once he takes control as full hosts he gleefully calls himself the new Carnage. End of issue.
The Good: As a one-shot issue Amazing Spider-Man #795 is a solid issue that is fine if it was a story after a big storyline. Unfortunately that is not where Amazing Spider-Man #795 is placed as this issue is supposed to be the second part of the “Threat Level: Red” story arc. Looking at this issue in through that lense Amazing Spider-Man #795 completely fails to make this Norman Osborn something that fans should be excited about.
That said, there were a few things to enjoy about Amazing Spider-Man #795. The main thing that this issue accomplished was further placing Peter Parker in a position that fans are more familiar with. Dan Slott and Christos Gage continue to do a good job resetting Peter to an extent that he is back to struggling with money while he still deals with the ramifications of Parker Industries failure. At the same time, Slott and Gage don’t make things completely hopeless as we do see Peter having a job at the Daily Bugle that could possibly turn into something bigger in the future.
The resolution of Peter and Bobbi’s relationship was also satisfying. Slott and Gage did a good job at showing Peter and Bobbi realizing what readers knew about since the relationship began. And that is the fact that their relationship was based around their superhero adventures and not a personal connection. Without the excitement that being a superhero pair as there was zero connection between the two. Both coming to realize this before things exploded was a grown-up thing to do. It made the final scene between the two and Aunt May come off as a good resolution for Bobbi and Peter.
The dynamic between Loki and Spider-Man delivered as one would expect it to. Having Loki acting as the Sorcerer Supreme added an extra sense of fun to the dynamic since Spider-Man and Doctor Strange are friends. That dynamic led to some interesting action as the two went back and forth with how they tried to save people.
Mike Hawthorne was what one would expect from a basic superhero comic. Hawthorne is obviously most comfortable drawing superheroes. His best artwork came when ever he got to draw Spider-Man, which made the action look fluid when he teamed up with Loki to stop the mystical creatures.
The Bad: Amazing Spider-Man #795 does very little to move the “Threat Level: Red” story arc forward. The little movement that it ends up making does very little to create interest in whatever Norman Osborn is up to. And since we basically end the issue with two pages that just continue where the previous issue left off with Norman becoming Carnage’s new host Slott and Cage look like they are still trying to start the story.
Making Norman Osborn’s transformation into Carnage even less interesting was the fact that he just sounded like everyone else that has worn a symbiote costume. There was absolutely zero sense that we were seeing a more dangerous version of Carnage or Green Goblin. Instead the two ended up merging to with Carnage fully taking over. That ends up making Norman’s character arc less unique since he didn’t sound in control as Carnage’s new host. And since he sounded like all other symbiote users there was nothing special about the transformation.
Making things worse for the “Threat Level: Red” story is that we aren’t given a better idea of what else Norman has planned. All we know is that he decided to become a Carnage version of his Green Goblin persona. If that is all his endgame is about than this final story arc will be an extremely disappointing way for Slott to go out. And given that we are two issues in we should be seeing more of what Norman endgame is. But since all the damage Peter has done is to himself all of Norman’s plans are harder to connect to so you would want Peter as Spider-Man to knock out.
And while enjoyable, the Loki and Spider-Man story was completely inconsequential to “Threat Level: Red.” Even the connection to the overarching story felt completely forced into this otherwise one-shot story. That is unfortunate given that back in Marvel Legacy #1 we saw Norman fail in stealing items from Sanctum Sanctorum. Not addressing that sub-plot only further highlighted the fact that the string holding Loki and Spider-Man’s story with what Norman’s was doing to be incredibly thin.
It would have been much more effective if instead of doing a one-shot story with Spider-Man reacting to Loki as the new Sorcerer Supreme, Slott and Gage focused more on developing Peter’s personal life status. Given that we saw Slott and Gage break Peter and Bobbi up it would’ve been good to see more development with Peter’s new job as well. Then maybe we could’ve seen Slott and Gage further weave in what Norman is doing to destroy Spider-Man. It would’ve at least created a sense of urgency if we saw Peter and Norman simultaneously doing things that would eventually lead them to clash. Not having that at all just made what little development in the “Threat Level: Red” story we did get feel like nothing at all.
While Hawthorne’s artwork did not get in the way of the story it’s clear he is not comfortable drawing faces. There were various moments in Amazing Spider-Man #795 that looked like people suddenly had broken noses. That does not help this issue since there were a lot of talking head scenes and these panels were people’s faces looked off took you away from what was said.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #795 does very little to move the needle when it comes to the “Threat Level: Red” story arc. Even with the few positives Amazing Spider-Man #795 does have are overshadowed by the lack of interest created for how “Threat Level: Red” will close out Dan Slott’s run on the series. And the little development we do get at the end of the issue does nothing to create excitement for Norman Osborn’s endgame to destroy Spider-Man’s life.