While I’ve consistently read Dan Slott’s run on Amazing Spider-Man I could not get into the “Venom Inc.” crossover. The first issue completely destroyed my interest in reading another issue in the crossover and only reminded me why Venom is a character that I do not like. Now after skipping the “Venom Inc.” tie-in issues I am back to reading Amazing Spider-Man and hopefully we put the crossover in the past.
Now with Slott announcing that he is going to be ending his run on Amazing Spider-Man soon and moving over to the Iron Man franchise there are a few things left to wrap up. One of the things Slott needs to wrap up is the story around Scorpio being trapped in the Zodiac Dimension for a year. That year is now up and Slott is going to have Spider-Man and company finally deal with Scorpio’s full wrath. Let’s see how things go down with Amazing Spider-Man #794.
Writer: Dan Slott and Christos Gage
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Marte Gracia
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 the Atlantic Ocean Commander Hicks reminds his crew in the Lock Box about not falling prey to the power of the things stored in the facility. While taking a look at the Zodiac Key two crew members suddenly attack everyone with pumpkin bombs. The explosion causes the Zodiac Key to fly away. The two traitors then go about getting the item they were hired to retrieve.
Over in the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, Spider-Man, Mockingbird and the Horizon crew are getting ready for Scorpio’s return after being locked away in the Zodiac Dimension for a year.
The Zodiac Dimension gate opens and when Scorpio steps out Max fires the special containment beam they created. While contained Scorpio reveals he knows everything that happened the last year, including SHIELD being dissolved. The Zodiac Key suddenly appears and Scorpio uses it to release himself.
Scorpio runs off to get the power to initiate his final plan. Spider-Man and Mockingbird recover and go after Scorpio.
Back at the Lock Box the two traitors kill all the agents guarding an ultra maximum security door to get the item they are after.
Back in London Spider-Man and Mockingbird track Scorpio down at Big Ben. Because Mockingbird’s wings were damaged Spider-Man heads up on his own.
Spider-Man finds Scorpio installed the Zodiac Key in a special device and is unable to take it out. Spider-Man decides to take a risk and punches Scorpio out of the tower.
Before Scorpio crashes onto the ground the Zodiac Key leaves the device and goes to save Scorpio. When Scorpio lands safely on the ground he is immediately knocked out by Mockingbird.
A little later Horizon have contained the Zodiac Key. Impressed with her work Max recruits Anna to be part of Horizon.
Spider-Man and Mockingbird then watch Scorpio being taken away by the authorities.
Elsewhere the two traitors from earlier hand Norman Osborn a special container. Norman takes the container which is holding the Carnage symbiote. Norman request to be left alone while he and the Carnage symbiote spend some time to bond.
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #794 is comic book that reads like we are approaching the end of something. In this case it is the end of Dan Slott and he is clearing looking to end his run by wrapping up as many plotlines he created as possible. The first step was to wrap up the Scorpio lost in time plotline, something that you can’t blame fans for forgetting. In the process Slott made started his final preparations for Spider-Man’s game changing clash with Norman Osborn.
Scorpio was one of the first threats that Spider-Man dealt with during the Parker Industries era of the character. It is a plotline that was easy to forget taking place given all the major events that happened since Spider-Man locked Scorpio in the Zodiac Dimension. While it is easy to forget for fans Slott did a good job showing that Spider-Man and his crew did not. By establishing that Spider-Man always had Scorpio’s return in the back of his mind it once again highlighted the characters growth under Slott’s guidance.
This isn’t a Spider-Man that is always forced to do things in the heat of the moment. Slott made sure that Spider-Man made the proper preparations for Scorpio’s return. That preparation made the threat of Scorpio be elevated slightly. The way he went about overcoming the beam Horizon created reminded you how powerful he is with the Zodiac Key. It all helped create a sense of urgency for Spider-Man and Mockingbird to stop Scorpio right away.
That sense of urgency helped put over how Spider-Man and Mockingbird took down Scorpio. Because honestly it would have been easy to see Scorpio getting the “One punch Batman vs Guy Gardner” fight treatment as a weak move. But Slott execution of this fight made it be more about Spider-Man and Mockingbird not wasting time against Scorpio rather than the villain looking weak. It further the narrative that Spider-Man won’t allow himself to be distracted by the little things in order to defeat his villains, like Norman Osborn.
Spider-Man being busy with Scorpio made Norman’s actions in the background stay that way. With his nemesis distracted Norman was able to execute his plot to defeat Spider-Man. While the reveal of the Carnage symbiote being what Norman ordered his minions to get it did further add to how unhinge he is. Norman is clearly allowing his Green Goblin side to fully take over in order to finally defeat Spider-Man. Now that he has the Carnage symbiote we are left wonder if he will be able to control it and what that would mean.
On a side note it was cool to see Slott transition Anna Maria over to be part of Horizon. After everything she has been through, with all the ups and downs being with Peter Parker, Max offering her a position at Horizon felt like the win she deserved. It also allows Anna Maria a way to still be part of the series if future creators choose to use her in the series. If not at least it gives resolution to how Slott has developed Anna Maria into a strong presence in Peter’s life.
Stuart Immonen continues to be a consistent force for Slott to lean on. While this issue was light on actual action scenes Immonen did deliver when there was serious impact needed with the various explosions that occurred. He also did a good job with getting over how Norman has completely given into his Green Goblin persona.
The Bad: While Spider-Man and Mockingbird taking down Scorpio down quickly was refreshing to see it did downgrade the villain as a threat. After how he had a big story arc that needed Spider-Man to team with SHIELD to be taken down Slott just reminded readers how lame of a villain Scorpio is. That is an unfortunate end to a villain that needed a push of another strong showing to be considered a threat the next time he shows up. But by being taken down so easily Scorpio just goes back into his bubble of being a minor villain like so many others.
Norman getting the Carnage symbiote was also not the most exciting plot development. After how “Venom Inc.” failed to build any interest in Venom seeing yet another symbiote was not what builds excitement. Instead it makes it feel like we are getting more symbiotes forced on us because we have a Venom movie coming up. And for a character like Norman there were many other ways to give him a power-up to match Spider-Man. Even going after a new Goblin Serum or other version of the Super Soldier Serum would’ve been more interesting. Hopefully Slott is able to turn opinions around or else Norman could easily become seen as just another Venom clone.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #794 did a good job in kicking of the beginning of the end for Dan Slott’s run on the series. With a few plotlines left to wrap up Slott began to do so by addressing the threat of Scorpio. In the process Slott was able to highlight the growth Spider-Man has gone through under his supervision. While the development in the Norman Osborn subplot did not hit like Slott intended it to one can only hope “Threat Level: Red” will end up being a strong end to such a long running creative run.