Readers of The Amazing Spider-Man know that a recurring theme under writer Dan Slott’s watch has been Peter Parker’s Sudden Onset Idiocy (we’ll call it SOI), such as forgiving multiple women in his inner circle who allied with corporate saboteurs or terrorists groups to destroy his company. ASM #4 featured the time a child had to clue him in on how to stop a terrorist attack. Years from now, however, it appears at though ASM #10 will cited more often as the quintessential Slottian Spidey.
The latest issue of ASM takes place moments after the hero’s “nuke the fridge” moment — Spider-Man has fallen to earth like a meteor and survived. The terrorist leader Scorpio stands over Spider-Man ready to administer a death blow when his Gemini minions earn their deus ex machina badge. They tell Scorpio that he will miss “The Ascension” if he uses an extra second to blast through Frenchmen acting as a human shield for the hero.
Luckily for Peter, Anna Maria Marconi and Living Brain (i.e., Doctor Octopus) arrive in a flying car to help him locate the villain once he escapes. They eventually track him down to the Chunnel, where SOI rears its ugly head — Parker tries to spray his web-shooters forward on a train going 186 miles per hour and then somehow comes to the conclusion that Scorpio — who would be firing an energy weapon backwards — can’t get “a good shot either.”
Scorpio inexplicably decides to target Anna and Living Brain instead of Spider-Man, who can barely keep his footing on the fast-moving train and is rendered highly immobile. The terrorist escapes again.
With time running out before The Zodiac take control of the future, Peter needs to find clues as to where Scorpio might be. He’s stumped. SOI returns, but Doctor Octopus hidden within Living Brain jogs his memory regarding ways to track Scorpio’s movements.
“Brain. I’m an idiot. And YOU, are one smart robot!” Peter says for the intellectual assist.
The trio eventually wind up in the home of Vernon Jacobs, Parker Industries’ “biggest shareholder and investor.” After admitting that Jacobs (aka: terrorist Scorpio) was his “Secret Santa” for Christmas, Peter’s SOI kicks in and he asks Anna for help figuring out how Parker Industries’ technology was exploited.
Anna (who does not suffer from SOI) tells Peter to utilize his employees, calls them in for a hologram meeting, and harnesses their collective genius to quickly figure out what Scorpio has been up to for months.
The issue comes to a close with Scorpio appearing via a hologram and threatening to use his inside knowledge of Parker Industries to bring it all crashing down.
Spider-Man responds by saying Peter would still have “responsibility” if his company tanked, and that “losing it all” would be worth it if the end result were Scorpion’s defeat. Fans are asked to come back next month for a showdown that should have happened seven issues ago.
If readers are looking for a graphic analogy for ASM’s Zodiac story line, I will liken it to a bout of diarrhea I recently suffered while on vacation: It was funny at first for all the wrong reasons, annoying and embarrassing, repetitive, it went on for far too long, and in the end it was downright exhausting.
The stars are speaking, and this story needs to come to a close as soon as possible. Scorpio is a dud as a villain, which is always unfortunate, but he is now a failed foil who will have consumed at least eleven issues of ASM during its latest relaunch.
Do not buy this book unless you enjoy seeing Peter Parker repeatedly bailed out after outbreaks of Sudden Onset Idiocy.
Editor’s Note: Did anyone else find it odd that Peter Parker could run calculations in his head that would allow him to enter Earth’s atmosphere as a human meteor, but he doesn’t know how to convert kilometers to miles? There’s that SOI again…