STORY: Mark Waid

ART: Paul Azaceta

REVIEW: Master Filmmaker Mark Mackner

Hola, Arachno-philes! Tis I, Poptards’ resident Spider-Man scholar and local indie horror icon MASTER FILMMAKER MARK MACKNER with another installment of SPIDEY’S WEEKLY WEB-UP. This time, it’s the thrilling conclusion to Mark Waid’s ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES.

Last time, we saw THE LIZARD yanking the Goblin serum baby away from the crafty CHAMELEON. Part 5 opens with DR. OCTOPUS taking matters (And a helpless homeless person) into his own mechanized hands, as he heads into the subway system after The Lizard. He’s soon followed by our web-slinging hero, who proposes an alliance, as they’re both after the same thing. “Ten arms are better than two. And if Norman’s baby dies, we BOTH lose”, he reasons. “Let’s save him now and fight over him later.” Otto reluctantly goes along with it, but informs Spidey that “The moment we find the child, I will slaughter you and The Lizard. You know this.”

Spidey is tipped off to the Lizard’s whereabouts by a sudden aggression and usage of terms like “monkey brain” by Otto. As you may recall, Lizard now has the power to bring out reptilian instincts in humans in close proximity to himself. So near to The Lizard, Otto attacks Spidey, who is immune to the Lizard effect, thanks to “a stiff, preemptive dose of Doc Connors’ Patented Reptile-Suppressing Tonic”. A fight ensues between the wallcrawler and Octavius, in which Spider-Man is once again the victor.

Lizard bursts through the wall and confronts Spidey. Spidey’s ready for a fight, but surprisingly, finds none in Lizard, who promptly surrenders the baby, as, in his words, “Young meat do Lizard no good. Do monkey Octopus no good. Do no one good.” Um… what’s that, Lizard? Just what the hell does that mean to us mammals? Well, Lizard, after running tests on the baby in his makeshift subway laboratory, has determined that the baby is NOT the baby of Norman Osborn, and also NOT the first baby born with pure Goblin serum blood. Ahhh… the plot thickens…

Otto, still crazed from the Lizard effect, recovers from his fight with Spidey and bursts in. Spidey informs Otto that he was wrong about the baby, and, furthermore, that he’s “pathetic”. He rubs in that he was once the “master planner” of the Sinister Six, and now he’s being outwitted by The Lizard. He tops it all off by calling him an “idiot”. Not expecting Otto to take either his or Lizard’s word about the baby, he leaves a vial with a blood sample that Otto can test for himself, provided that he survive the fight that he unwisely picks against the Lizard in a fit of frustration and reptilian rage. From there we get an all-too-brief Lizard vs. Octopus battle that Spidey skips out on in order to get the baby to safety.

From there, our hero whisks the kid to Avengers Tower, where he meets up with Harry Osborn to drop another bombshell on him.

All in all, a capital ending to a capital story. There’s some cracking comedy in this one (Otto: “You talk too much!” Spidey: “You should see my Twitter feed.”), including a STAR WARS reference (“Lizard’s right! This beautiful baby boy is not the droid you were looking for!”). There’s also some classic old-school villain talk from Otto (“I will not endure another second of your cretinous interference in this matter!”), and I loved that it boiled down to a 3-way showdown between these super-powered scientists. And the BURN that Spidey fires at Otto toward the end is actually pretty brutal. “You IDIOT” has got to be rough for a genius like Otto to hear, especially from his arch-nemesis.

This has been another fantastic BRAND NEW DAY story, and another WIN for THE WEB-HEADS creative team. Only one more issue left for the Web-Heads… eyes getting watery… sniffles coming… OK, OK, I’ll hold off on my emotional farewell to BND and the Web-Heads next time. As for now, lets wrap up #626…

STORY: A++. I really dug this whole story arc, and this was an immensely satisfying climax. Spidey vs. Otto, and more build up for The Lizard as a major villain. After SHED and this, he’s really gaining momentum, and I imagine that’ll continue to grow as he’s poised to be the Big Bad in the next Spider-Man movie. And you better believe that’s cool with me!!!!

ART: A. Azaceta gets a solid “A” this time, as his greatest weakness, the women, are relegated to a scant 8 panels in this issue. Seriously, I love his Spidey, I love his villains… his non-super-men are hit-or-miss, but his women are generally not very good. His Carlie Cooper looks like a dude. And all their mouths look funny. But with Spidey, Otto, and Lizard taking up the bulk of this issue, Azaceta gets a chance to shine. Good for him!

And THAT is THE WORD, so sayeth THE MASTER!!!!

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(MASTER FILMMAKER MARK MACKNER is the resident Poptards Spider-Man nut, and the author of SPIDEY’S WEEKLY WEB-UP right here on this site! Also, true to his name, he is the writer/director of the locally made films DAISY DERKINS, DOGSITTER OF THE DAMNED!, EVIL BREW, and THE HALF-LIFE HORROR FROM HELL or: IRRADIATED SATAN ROCKS THE WORLD!)

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