The musical misadventures of the Spider-Punks have come to a screeching halt.
Now up for execution at the hands of the venomous President Norman Osborn, the fate of Hobie Brown and the Spider-Punks is looking grimmer by the minute. An old-fashioned public execution may have boosted Osborn’s base but nothing keeps people united like the desire to stick it to the man; old allies of Spider-Punk have arrived to free their friends and crash Osborn’s rally.
Writer Cody Ziglar, penciller Justin Mason, color artist Jim Charalampidis and letterer VC’s Travis Lanham have set the stage for Earth 138 to bear witness to one wild battle of the bands.
Contrasting issue number four, Spider-Punk issue five loses the political nuance in favor of an action-packed finale. The action is fun and colorful, featuring some solid character work by Mason.
The problem lies in the fact that the issue spends all of its time building up explosive set pieces that the story is kind of lost. The book ends rather abruptly. There isn’t much of an epilogue for the story to settle into after defeating Osborn. Rather the issue ends with the characters literally staring off into the sunset.
On top of the story being repressed, a lot of the action is heavily derivative of Spider-Punk’s previous appearances. Sure, everyone loves Spider-Punk blasting away enemies with shockwaves from his guitar, but having him defeat Osborn with that method again isn’t the climactic finish fans may have wanted.
There were also several missed opportunities for exciting moments of action. Daredevil and Hulk are fun to have back but the two characters introduced in issue four, War Sentry and Officer Venom, contribute little to the story aside from giving the other Spider-Punks someone to hit while Hobie and Osborn go at it.
Unfortunately, Ziglar didn’t seem to truly utilize these characters and the fans’ pre-existing knowledge of their 616 counterparts. The main culprit of this War Sentry. Aside from being a cool addition to the Earth-138 roster of characters, he has no redeeming qualities in regard to his personality.
The book fails to incorporate any of the powers of the Sentry or the Void into the final battle, having War-Sentry there only to give Riri Williams a new suit. Even the book’s big bad feels underutilized.
The sense of strength and brutality Osborn held in the previous issue is seriously lacking for this finale. Obviously, Osborn’s forces and the Spider-Punks are on more equal footing yet his bravado is much less poignant, feeling much more generic.
Similarly, the decision to keep Osborn’s head in a robotic suit makes his fight with Spider-Punk feel stunted. Due to his design, it is difficult for Osborn to offer expressive physical reactions to Hobie’s attacks.
The action in this issue ultimately feels mindless and soft in places, stopping it from being the explosive, rock and roll finale it should have been.
One of the book’s remaining strengths is the coloring work of Jim Charalampidis. His work is still prominent and vibrant like in the previous issues but, like many other elements of this book, it has been sullied. Rather than a bright colorful arena for the Spider-Punks to battle it out in, the battle takes place in the dead of night.
In certain instances, it allows the colors and effects to stand out. Yet it’s those moments in between which really hinder the experience. Instead of standing in the rubble of the capitol building, the Spider-Punks are just standing in a flat navy background.
This poor coloring and environmental work also inhibit the choreography of the battle. Because everything blends in it may be difficult for the reader to map out where everyone is and how each part of the battle relates. Leaving the fight more opportunities to disappoint.
What was meant to be an explosive finale filled with rock & roll and general mayhem fizzled out rather quickly. Ziglar’s scripting of this issue fails to deliver the same punch as the previous installments, with several characters feeling under-utilized and more like props.
The big bad fails to be the symbol of fascism and control that he was set up to be, and sinks back into a flock of generic villainy.
The final battle offered a familiar feeling to other Spider-Punk stories but not in a good way. The defeat of Norman Osborn felt like a retread of other Spiderverse stories.
In many ways, the story took a back seat. With the overabundance of action, the book has no choice but to end abruptly, leaving little room to explore the events of the story and speculate on these characters’ future.
The action that was present felt muddied by the bland environment the battle was set in. The characters were drawn nicely but it was difficult to tell who was where and how they would interact, making what should have been a fun action scene over complicated.
The Spider-Punks had a good opening set but their tour fizzled out at the final hurdle. It’s disappointing that the last hoorah of the Spider-Punks isn’t a very memorable one.
Want to discuss things further? Hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. And for more film, gaming, anime, and TV news, trailers, and updates make sure to keep it locked right here at The Nerdy Basement. While you’re here, please consider supporting us on Patreon! It’s an easy way of supporting us so we can keep providing you with your Nerdy News!