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The Amazing Spider-Man – The Gauntlet: The Scorpion – The Sting (Review)

This April, to celebrate the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we are taking a look at some classic and modern comics featuring Spider-Man (and friends). Check back daily for the latest review.

Like Scavenging before it, The Sting saps a little of the momentum of The Gauntlet. In fact, The Sting might just be the weakest single chapter of the entire epic – a one-shot story that has little interesting or insightful to offer. While Van Lente’s fourteen page It is the Life represents the shortest single story in The Gauntlet, The Sting feels like the most hollow – the story that could be removed most easily from the sequence of events without any sense of loss or absence.

Indeed, even branding it as “the Scorpion” feels a bit cynical. While the Scorpion is a classic and iconic Spider-Man adversary, the character included here has no real connection to the wall-crawling adventurer. This new Scorpion has no history with Peter Parker, and was really a supporting character in the Avengers spin-off The Initiative. Along with the guest appearance from New Avengers baddie the Hood, The Sting seems like the wider Marvel Universe is encroaching upon The Gauntlet.

While it’s occasionally nice to get a sense that Spider-Man coexists in the same world as the Avengers or the Fantastic Four, The Gauntlet really isn’t the place for this. In fact, all the outside characters serve to undermine the otherwise effective claustrophobia of The Gauntlet – chipping away at the sense that Spider-Man is alone and isolated, being hunted and pursued by an ominous adversary.

Something to chew over...

Something to chew over…

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Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers – New Avengers Vol. 3-4 (Hardcover) (Review/Retrospective)

This is the eighth in a series of comic book reviews that will look at the direction of Marvel’s continuity (and, in particular at their “Avengers” franchise) over the past five or so years, as they’ve been attempting to position the property at the heart of their fictional universe. With The Avengers planned for a cinematic release in 2012, I thought I’d bring myself up to speed by taking a look at Marvel’s tangled web of continuity.

And now we’re entering a continuity-heavy area. You have been warned. As if we’ve been in a continuity-free zone for the past couple of weeks, remarks you, trusted reader. This is where my little experiment to venture deep into the heart of Marvel’s comic book continuity becomes a little bit more complicated and a little bit more difficult. Whereas the first part of Bendis’ run on New Avengers was relatively stand-alone (while still drawing on decades of events and continuity), it’s at this point the series becomes irrevocably intertwined with the on-going events at the heart of the Marvel Universe. It’s been described as “a spine”, and that’s pretty much exactly what it is: it’s a support structure which ties together the big Marvel events year-on-year, a thread that joins events like Civil War and Secret Invasion and Siege to each other and the greater fictional universe.

Wolverine learns the hard way not to bring claws to a gun fight...

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