Comic Book Review: Dark Reign: The List – Amazing Spider-Man One-Shot

Though I have largely ignored Dark Reign unless it pops into Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil, or Captain America I have actually been digging these The List one-shots. Other than the horrible Dark Reign: The List – Avengers these one-shots have been all very good, at least the ones I have read. They have all done a nice job setting up what is going to go on in Siege as well as those respective titles.

And after a year of Norman being in charge it is great to see we are going to get a Spider-Man vs. Norman Osborn fight. It has felt weird that every other character in the Marvel Universe has voiced their opinions as well as fight Norman except for Spider-Man. But finally we are getting what we have waited for. Let’s see if Dark Reign: The List – The Amazing Spider-Man can deliver a solid read.

Creative Team
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Adam Kubert
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Dean White

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue begins with Spider-Man looking over New York City and seeing all the people in the city with some sort of Norman Osborn/Iron Patriot memorabilia. Spider-Man thinks of how he let it happen and he needs to let the world see who the real Norman Osborn is.

We shift to The Front Line office were Peter, Robby, Ben, and Norah are having a meeting about a story they can’t run on Norman. Norah complains about being caught with all the info she got on Norman and it was erased by Norman’s men (Amazing Spider-Man #594-599). Robbie says that the information is still probably on Norman’s computers because he is an ego maniac. Peter decides he is going to sneak into Oscorp as Spider-Man using the plans the Norman was able to get a hold of.

At Oscorp Norman is explaining to Ms. Hand that he has some information that will help him take down Spider-Man. Ms. Hand questions Norman’s reason for going after Spider-Man as he is not a threat to Norman. Norman says taking down Spider-Man is nothing but a reward for what he has done.

As they enter a secret room they see that Spider-Man was in there the whole time copying files of Norman testing his Goblin Formula on living humans. Spider-Man does a fake out on Norman and Ms. Hand, he then takes out the USB with all the video evidence and leaves the building out a window.

Norman chases Spider-Man, using his Iron Patriot armor, through the city. Iron Patriot uses a uni-beam but misses Spider-Man causing a bunch of rubble to fall. Before the rubble hits the people below Spider-Man is able to save them all. Iron Patriot tells all the people that Spider-Man is a criminal which automatically makes the people Spider-Man just saved to turn against him.

Spider-Man tries to swing away but Iron Patriot catches him with a uni-beam in the back. Spider-Man falls to the ground below thinking that while that blast did hurt it didn’t hurt as much as the usual uni-beam. All the people of NYC start beating the crap out of Spider-Man but Iron Patriot tells the people to step back. Spider-Man uses this opportunity to attack while a camera crew from channel 4 is filming the fight.

We then see various people such as Norah, Ben, and Harry watching the fight rooting for Spider-Man. In Oscorp Ms. Hand tells the HAMMER agents to delete the information Spider-Man had earlier.

Back to the fight we see Iron Patriot holding up a beat-up Spider-Man saying that for all the battles they have had in the past the history books are going to see Norman as the hero while Spider-Man is the villain. Iron Patriot then ask Spider-Man were his photographer friend Peter Parker. Spider-Man surprises Iron Patriot by kicking him in his chest. Iron Patriot punches Spider-Man thinking he is pathetic. Spider-Man reveals in his inner monologue that the star symbol Norman added to the armor caused the armor to build-up heat in the external port and all it took was a kick on the symbol to overheat the armor.

Spider-Man uses this time to change back into his street clothes leaving his costume in an ally. Norman finds the costume and starts searching for Spider-Man. He then thinks that the USB Spider-Man had is more important to find and finds someone using it at a nearby internet café.

He enters the café and sees Peter on a computer uploading the information on the USB to the internet. In order to distract Norman Peter alerts everyone to Norman being in the café. Everyone starts swarming Norman. He becomes annoyed and threatens Peter to stop uploading that information. Peter fights back saying he did not do anything wrong and just like everyone in the café he is a taxpaying American citizen and Norman works for him not the other way around. He finishes up by saying if Norman takes him away he will have to do the same to everyone in the room.

This infuriates Norman and causes him to stand down. Norman tells Peter that he has a “list” and Peter names has joined the other names on his “list.” Norman flies away telling Ms. Hand to figure out how to spin this in his favor.

Peter leaves the café and calls Robbie. Robbie tells Peter he did a good job. Norman then grabs the phone and yells at Peter for sending the information to Betty before her. Peter tries to apologize but she hangs up on him. Peter then thinks how today is the day he stepped up and became the #1 reason for Norman’s empire to fall. End of issue.

The Good: Dark Reign: The List – Amazing Spider-Man was a great read. Dan Slott and Adam Kubert treated us with the best The List one-shot we have had so far. More than any of the other The List one-shots we have gotten so far this one felt like it had the biggest importance to leading to Norman’s Dark Reign over the Marvel Universe to fall.

With Dark Reign having lasted for almost a year it always felt weird that Peter never really did anything about Norman taking over the country. Even though Peter did confront Norman earlier this year but that was more about Harry vs. Norman than it was about the Spider-Man/Green Goblin. But finally we got to see that confrontation and it was very well done.

Also what helps this issue is that it really did feel like a one-shot and not just a story that is setting up a story for the main series, Amazing Spider-Man. That has been one of the problems with most of these The List one-shots as they been prologues to stories happening in the characters main series. They were not just one-and-done stories to set-up Siege but set-up for another story. This issue felt as though it was setting up Siege, with some serious ramifications to the event. Also, it built up another confrontation between Spider-Man and Norman in the future.

Slott did a great job capturing the Spider-Man/Norman dynamic. Even though with his new status quo Norman has faced the biggest heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe he still considers Spider-Man his greatest adversary. Even though other superheroes like Tony Stark, Hank Pym, and Reed Richards can pose a bigger threat to his current reign, Spider-Man will always be the one Norman hates the most. They have been through a lot and it was great to see Slott emphasize this point during Norman scene with Ms. Hand at the beginning of the issue.

I like that Peter’s frustration of Norman’s reign is built on some of the recent storylines that happened in Amazing Spider-Man with New Ways to Die and American Son. In each of those stories Peter saw firsthand that Norman has not changed for the better and is just as bad of a person he was before he got his new power.

And the big brawl between Spider-Man and Iron Patriot did not disappoint. It was the big battle I expected from these two long time adversaries. Though Norman dominated the fight for the most part it was an effective way to show that Norman is more powerful now as he would typically lose to Spider-Man. With Siege starting up soon we can’t really have Norman look weak going into the event so this properly showed how powerful he is by being able to dominate his biggest rival in a fight. And I liked how he used the influence he has over the American people to even turn the people Spider-Man just saved against him.

Though Spider-Man was on the defense for most of the fight, as run for most of the fight, because he was looking to get the information he got on Norman out into the public he did get some good shots in. And I especially liked that Peter used the knowledge he had on the Iron Man armor because of his time as an employee in Stark Industry in order to overheat Norman’s armor. It is sometimes forgotten that behind Spider-Man’s mask is genius when it comes to science and technology so it was good to see Peter analyzing the whole situation and figuring out the weak spot in the Iron Patriot armor.

But my favorite part of this issue is that in the end it was not Spider-Man who beat Norman but Peter Parker. It is not very often Peter is the one credited for the win and it was good to see Peter actually stand up to someone as himself and not as Spider-Man. It was a great moment and I just love the frustration in Norman’s voice when he knows he just lost to not a super powered person but to a regular citizen, or so he thinks.

Adam Kubert provided plenty of solid artwork in this issue. I liked that he was channeling John Romita Jr. in his design for most of the characters while still adding some of his own flavor to the art. He, along with his inker Mark Morales and colorist Dean White, did a great job with the big fight in the end. Though probably my favorite part of the art in this issue was the job Kubert, Morales, and White did showing the flashbacks to New Ways to Die and American Son in the background while Peter, Ben, and Norah were talking. It was a minor thing that helps to remind the reader of what happened in those stories through the art.

The Bad: Even though we finally got a Spider-Man vs. Norman fight it was just missing a few things that kept it from being an epic fight. One is the fact that I never felt that Norman was the one fighting. It just felt as though it was just some guy who stole Tony’s Iron Man armor. And I am probably being biased but I much rather prefer Norman being Green Goblin over Iron Patriot. As Green Goblin Norman was a villain to fear as you never knew how crazy he was and the crazier Norman was the bigger a threat he posed. But as Iron Patriot he doesn’t come off as a big threat.

Also the fight didn’t have the same edge most Spider-Man vs. Green Goblin fights have had in the past because Norman has forgotten that Peter is Spider-Man. Norman’s knowledge of who Spider-Man was behind the mask added to how big of a threat Norman was both personally and in his super hero life. It is what really separated Norman from the rest of Spider-Man’s Rogue Gallery. But now that he doesn’t remember who is behind the mask the threat he poses to Peter isn’t as big which I hope is rectified once Siege ends.

Overall: Dark Reign: The List – Amazing Spider-Man was a great read that many Spider-Man fans will enjoy. Also if you have liked these List one-shots and Dark Reign so far you should pick this issue up as it is one of the best Dark Reign related stories I have read. Highly recommended as it also seems to be setting some ground work for Norman’s fall from grace.