Avenging Spider-Man Annual #1: [Untitled]
Writer: Rob Williams
Penciller: Brad Walker
Inker: John Livesay
Letterer: VC's Joe Caramagna
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Editor: Tom Brennan
The Guest Star:
The Thing (this is Spider-Man's book, making the Thing technically the guest star)
Frankie & Spags; the "Top Dog" and his gang
Franklin Richards; Valeria Richards
The Set Up:
Two brothers, Frankie and Spags, find an alien device buried in Central Park. When people start angrily fighting around them, they realize the box affects the emotions of those near it. They quickly realize they can probably sell it for lots of money and arrange a sale in Brooklyn, but things go very wrong when both Spider-Man and the Thing end up within range of the box.
Page 25, Panel 1. After the local gang leader says it's "time to get mean and nasty," Ben replies "Music to my ever-lovin' ears... 'cuz I feel the need to seriously reaffirm my clobberin' credentials."
Things of Interest:
This issue is dated December 2012, long after MTIO ended, but it's a team-up title (Avenging Spider-Man is a Spidey team-up title) featuring the Thing, so it goes onto the website as a related issue.
As with the preceding Deadpool issue (click "Last Issue" below), there's no title on this issue. I guess Marvel dropped titles somewhere along the line and I never noticed.
There is a recurring call-out to the floating super-hero poker game, one of the classic pieces of MTIO history, with Ben thrice referencing $30 (or maybe $29.75) that Spidey owes him from the last game.
This issue is very much the definition of a standalone filler - no villains, no character development, just "bits." It does have a few strong points - the end of the fight between Ben and Spidey is good for an uncomfortable guffaw; the early bits with Ben babysitting are remniscient of the ever-charming Camp Run-A-Mok from MTIO 44; and Franklin and Valeria tend to steal the scenes they're in, as they so often do. But beyond that, I'm not entirely sure why this story needed to be told.
I would note that the artist does some very nice things with people's faces along the way, and the writer is clearly going for character before plot (and is undoubtedly limited in that he has to tell a standalone story that impacts nothing); the writer writes a fairly charming text page at the back, and I think that I hope I get to see more out of both of them.
This is titled as an Annual, but I found myself really wondering why, since it reads like a regular issue, and pretty quick at that. Its actually only 26 pages; the original MTIO issues were all (at least the non-double-sized ones) between 17 and 23 pages, so this annual is actually just as close in size to a standard MTIO-era book as it is to an annual (the seven annuals and two double-sized books were all between 34 and 39 pages).