By Brian Michael Bendis, Oscar Bazaldua, Brian Reber, Cory Petit
With Brian Michael Bendis leaving Marvel, the future of his many currently ongoing series have been a heated topic of discussion. These types of talks usually revolve around what type of revelation will these arcs end in for the new creative team. But from the pages of Spider-Man #236, it seems as if it’s business as usual. While this issue does benefit from being more of an action issue, this unfortunately entails some problems with moving the plot along at a reasonable pace.
Over the past couple of months, Spider-Man has seen little of Miles in his superhero outfit. Plagued with thoughts about moving on from the legacy of Spider-Man and doing more with his life, the series has had a lot of questions for the future. But for the time being, most of this issue is a fight with the leader of the new Sinister Six, the Iron Spider. With the costume on, Miles goes right back into the groove of being the quipping wall-crawler that has been noticeably absent. Complete with a display of his new powers and some traditional web-slinging combat, it’s a welcome return to a sorely missed aspect of his character. Other parts of the issue such as the new Electro dealing with problems living up to aspects of her mantle’s legacy, paralleling Miles, are also nicely added in.
But the problems with pacing still remain. A short introduction with Ganke and Danika does just enough to fulfill the need to be included. The Sinister Six portion of this issue jarringly cuts away from the action and the reader is quite unceremoniously dropped right back in. And while the central fight is well done, it still feels as if only an inch of progress has been made. Even the reveal of the Iron Spider’s identity to Miles at the end comes across as anticlimactic, a plot point that has become old news. The only consolation at this point is that it’s gotten over with so as to move on to better things.
Oscar Bazaldua’s art serves as more of a guiding hand than usual, propelling the action forward. He keeps the fight feeling fast-paced while providing some classic Spider-Man poses, showing off the skills of both combatants. The shine off of both Miles’s powers and the Iron-Spider’s mechanical legs pop as they fly across a page thanks to color artist Brian Reber. With the additional help of letterer Cory Petit, the after-effects of an explosion are the highlight of the issue. The blurred lines and dominating ringing of the ears over the tops of the panels helps to sell the panic and confusion felt in those moments.
Spider-Man has more of an effect on readers than previous issues, but still suffers from similar problems. The action adds a much needed kick to progressing the plot but ultimately falls short in delivering effective pay-off. The bite-size portions each month do take its toll, running many storylines that need more of an impact issue to issue. With the more obvious dramatic beats taken care of, there’s potential to move on to something more but for now we’re left with little to be excited about.