"Last Stand, Part IV of IV"
Writer: Mark Millar
Pencils: Terry Dodson
Inks: Rachel Dodson
Colors: Avalon's Ian Hannin
Letters: VC's Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
$2.99 U.S. / $4.25 CAN
As Spider-Man does battle with the Green Goblin we see he manages to secure a rather unlikely ally when a brainwashed Doctor Octopus arrives and Norman's finds his efforts to ruin Peter's life are side-tracked by Doctor Octopusí murderous attacks. As Spider-Man's two greatest enemies battle and are sent tumbling off the top of the bridge into the river far below we see Peter finally puts together the clues that Norman was offering up about Aunt May's location, and he races to her rescue.
On one hand Mark Millar does a pretty impressive job of selling the idea that he's a big Spider-Man fan as his story was full of fanboyish ideas, but in the end this story felt like it had far too much on its plate, and that it simply didn't have the space he needed to delivery a proper resolution. Now with the current trend leaning more toward stretching a single idea over far too many issues, it was a nice change of pace to see a writer offer up a story arc that had too much story, and it's even more impressive when one considers that this arc was twelve issues long. However, this arc proved that there is such a thing as having too many ideas, as half the ideas that Mark Millar came up with are left unresolved, and the ones that do get attention can't get out of each other's way. I mean this issue's big climax can't decide whether it wants the big show to be the final battle between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, or a clash between Doctor Octopus and the Green Goblin, so it decides to merge the two conflicts, and this results in a big finish that serviced neither one of these ideas all the well. In fact this ending felt like it couldn't get out of its own way, as right when it looked like we were on the verge of getting something truly impressive, than the other element intruded upon it. I mean if I had to pick between the two I would've preferred the clash between Doctor Octopus and the Green Goblin, as it has the advantage of being somewhat novel, while the bridge top battle between the Green Goblin and Spider-Man has been recycled at least half a dozen times since Gwen Stacy's death. There's also a couple of real silly moments that I rather disliked, like the contrived way that the villains are knocked off the bridge, or the explanation for where Norman's been keeping Aunt May, as having a character point out how impossible something is doesn't make it any less impossible.
Terry and Rachel Dodson turn in a pretty impressive effort on their final issue, as they're called upon to deliver a rain soaked battle high atop a bridge, and there's several memorable images that manages to nicely raise the excitement level. I mean while I knew his efforts would be successful I have to say I was quite impressed by the art's ability to convey Spider-Man's frantic state as he works to save the plummeting Mary Jane. There's also a couple impressive impact shots like the sequence where Spider-Man uses his webbing to slam the Green Goblin and his glider into the ground. The art also manages to nicely sell the sheer desperation of Peter as he works to free his trapped Aunt May, and the emotion when he attempts to revive her were well realized, as was the dramatic impact of the one-page spread where we see the results of his efforts. My only problem with this issue's art is that I found the cover didn't really do that great a job of selling the sense of urgency it needed to.
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