Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man has been a surprising breath of fresh air. While some of the plotline with Peter’s possible sister, Teresa Parker, is still questionable this has been a fun book. Chip Zdarsky has so far tapped into the best part of the Spider-Man franchise, which is how to find the right balance in being fun and dramatic. In giving us such a balance The Spectacular Spider-Man has been able to stand out from the more serious title Amazing Spider-Man has been the last few years. Will things continue to be that way as more Marvel superheroes get involved in Peter and Teresa Parker’s current predicament? Let’s find out with Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #299.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Adam Kubert and Juan Frigeri
Colorist: Jason Keith
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Black Panther tries to convince Teresa Parker to stay under his protection. Spider-Man doesn’t buy what Black Panther is selling due to being too helpful. That leads to a fight between the two heroes.
Hawkeye, who has been recruited by SHIELD to take Teresa in, to interrupt the fight. Spider-Man is able to stop Hawkeye from taking Teresa in and the two fly away while leaving Hawkeye and Black Panther behind.
Hawkeye and Black Panther try to fly after them but Spider-Man is able to web up the SHIELD jet to keep them from flying correctly.
Elsewhere J. Jonah Jameson blackmails Shocker to give him and Betty access to the Tinkerer’s secret lai.
Meanwhile Spider-Man and Teresa go to Mason’s lab where Uatu unsuccessfully tries to convince Mason to go into hiding. When Spider-Man tries to do the same thing Mason says he will not let his brother continue to steal his work. Mason then reveals he has figured out a way to stop his brother’s mobile operating system and get the data out of Teresa’s blood with a colleague’s help.
Uatu suddenly shows Spider-Man that the Tinkerer’s gang is causing havoc in the city and Ironheart is trying to stop them. Spider-Man decides to go help out.
In the middle of the city Ironheart is overpowered by Vulture, Beetle, Whiplash, Boomerang and Shocker. Falcon, Vision, Human Torch, Hawkeye and Black Panther all show up to provide Ironheart some back-up. As they all fight the Tinkerer shows up piloting his new massive weapon: the Hero-Slayer.
Spider-Man finally shows up and tries to take on the Hero-Slayer alone but is eventually overpowered. Suddenly the other heroes on the field’s armor and weapons stop function as well. With all the heroes down the Tinkerer says he and his gang of villains will enjoy killing all the heroes.
Elsewhere Jonah and Betty sneak around the Tinkerer’s secret lair to figure out a way to take down the villain. Suddenly Mason, with an unconscious Teresa in one arm, shows up and grabs Jonah. It is then revealed that the Mason is actually one of Tinkerer’s robots, with the Tinkerer is piloting from within. End of issue.
The Good: Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #299 delivers the typical superhero twist ending that indicates we are close to an end for this “Most Wanted” story arc. While the twist that ended Spectacular Spider-Man #299 was not incredibly surprising it does create several questions for the next issue to answer. Those questions make what has happened so far and what will happen next even more interesting to see play out.
What continues to be the strength of this series is how Chip Zdarsky writes Spider-Man. Zdarsky never forgets that comedy is part of Spider-Man’s charm. At the same time that does not mean Spider-Man is someone that is easily tricked by others. We saw that immediately when he called Black Panther and Hawkeye on their BS when they tried to take Teresa Parker with them. In doing so Zdarsky reminded us why Spider-Man worked solo for so long was because he did not always get along with his superhero peers.
As that all goes on Zdarsky does not forget that this is a superhero series and we see a lot of good superhero vs supervillain action. Seeing the Avengers against a gang of villains that the Tinkerer assembled had a sense of fun to it. Though the villains were all D-listers it was good to see that the reason they were able to match the Avengers was because they were actually working together. This type of battle helped play into how the current Marvel heroes still learning to work together after all the recent events that splintered them.
The battle also worked to elevate Tinkerer as a villain. It is something that is much needed as there is a lot of room for Zdarsky and other writers now to show how deep Tinkerer is involved in things. Having the Tinkerer show up in the Hero-Slayer, while overboard, did show what kind of mad genius villain. The size of his Hero-Slayer made it so you want to see Spider-Man and the Avengers knock the evil smirk the Tinkerer had throughout this issue.
And after everything that happened it will be interesting to see where Zdarsky goes with the Teresa Parker plot point. Zdarsky did hint that we will finally see Teresa get out of the situation she is in with the Mason figuring out a way to take out the secret data from her blood. That opens up the door for how Teresa’s character can go since we still don’t know who would control that information.
Adam Kubert and Juan Frigeri combined to deliver some solid action throughout Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #299. With this issue filled various superheroes Kubert and Frigeri did a good job not making things look too cluttered. They got across how crazy a hero vs villain fight can be while never making it feel like things are getting easily lost.
The Bad: As much as I enjoyed Spectacular Spider-Man #299 for how fun it is there are several plot points that fall flat. The big one is the reveal that Tinkerer may or may not be Mason. Though there is still possibility that he kidnapped his brother, the reveal felt to obvious. It was so obvious it felt like Zdarsky could’ve gone another way with how Teresa would get cornered towards the end of this story.
Speaking of which, it was odd that Teresa did not do much in this issue. After actively taking action against those who look to control her Teresa looked like she was just along for the ride now. That is not how we have seen Zdasrky portray Teresa. If it was the Teresa from the previous issues it we would’ve seen her go along with Spider-Man to stop the Tinkerer. By not going with him it just looked like Teresa was just another pawn in Tinkerer’s plot with how she ended up at the end of Spectacular Spider-Man #299, especially since we didn’t see her being captured.
Similarly, J. Jonah Jameson and Betty Brant’s sub-plot did not add much to what was going on in Spectacular Spider-Man #299. Though Jonah has played a strong role in previous chapters of the “Most Wanted” story arc he and Betty just felt forced in to the story here. And with how much Teresa was pushed to the background it may have been better to give their page count to give some time to highlight how Teresa was captured by Mason. It also did not make complete sense that Betty just went along with Jonah without questioning why they would try to negotiate with Shocker. She only slightly brings it up but gets tossed away so her role seemed minimal at best.
Overall: Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #299 was an entertaining issue that was was brought down by some questionable character plot points. Those character plot points will leave some readers scratching their head about Teresa Parker’s arc. While that part of the story is questionable Chip Zdarsky continues to excel when writing Spider-Man. He extended that by including other Avengers characters in the story to elevate the threat that Tinkerer poses the Marvel Universe.