Story: Dan Slott
Art: Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba
What They Say:
An Avenger no more? With the public at large realizing this is no longer a “Friendly Neighborhood” Spider-Man, and in light of his actions in recent events, will the Avengers kick Spidey off the team? Plus the return of Cardiac!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having seen Octavius take down Massacre and then providing quite the beat down to Screwball and Jester, it’s no surprise that the Avengers are getting a bit more uncertain about what’s going on with Spider-Man. He’s managed to get away with a fair bit since taking over the body and operating in New York City, almost a bit below the radar in general since there hasn’t been anything huge he needed to be involved with, and that let the stories get more personal and up close as he dealt with inhabiting and becoming Peter Parker. But that’s starting to change now and it’s happening at about the right time.
This issue works a couple of different stories in a pretty good way that continues to expand the scope of thinking of how the world would work like this. That focus is on Dr. Elias Wirtham, better known as Cardiac, who has reopened the HEART Clinic in order to do a lot of good for those in need that people often pass over for various reasons. Using the place that’s infamous for what Mister Negative used it for, he intends to turn it around into a positive, though he’s still secretly using his vigilante skills as Cardian to achieve his goals of helping these unfortunates that would get no help otherwise. With a secret facility below the facility, he uses what he can to help them, often acquiring some extreme tech or other gear that would never make it into the hands of normal doctors.
That has him heading to The Boneyard now where they store a wide array of confiscated villainous gear over the years in order to find a device necessary to help a comatose little girl. Cardiac’s not a villain but he plays fast and loose with things, something that Octavius doesn’t recognize and instead just goes at him like a villain. He’s so wound up that anything will get attacked if he thinks they’re on the wrong side these days, though it’s amusing to see that he still thinks of cops and the public better than Peter used to in order to keep them out of trouble. It’s an interesting fight as we see it unfold because as Octavius goes at him in all of this, he realizes that a lot of his gear is probably in here as well and that just fuels his anger all the more.
Octavius isn’t in complete control of his body anymore either, which is an intriguing new change. We’ve seen Peter try to gain some control since realizing the situation, but each attempt is its own struggle and he’s hard pressed to get real results. When this fight gets intense, he manages to at least be heard, for a word or two, which throws off the dynamic of the fight. It’s a small step and a moment of lost control of his fist is the kind of thing that can send Octavius into a panic if given enough time. What saves the day for him? Getting called in to Avengers Tower for a meeting. Of course, it’s only to learn how concerned they are for him and that they want to run tests on him to make sure he’s himself. This has a great moment of Peter in the background applauding that they’ve finally figured out something is wrong and that they all didn’t take “stupid pills” or something. It doesn’t mean Octavius will go lightly into these tests, but this is a pretty tough crowd to go against – next issue.
Cardiac’s been around for an age but I like seeing what he’s trying to do here and what his end goal is because it is largely a good one, just done through less than stellar ways. But sometimes that’s how you have to help people. His story is a bit loose in a few ways and there’s a lightness of it all, but it’s all designed to bring Octavius into confrontation with him to show others that the guy isn’t operating as he used to for so long. That draws the Avengers into things in a big way and that’ll be a challenge to see how he manages to navigate that and what it entails. Octavius could get away at this for only so long, especially since he has colder and harsher methods being used at times, and it’s definitely fitting into the right time frame to be dealt with rather than too soon or dragged out for far too long.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: April 3rd, 2013