Why doesn’t Marvel just re-name this book Pseudo-Spider-Man Redux or Pseudo-Spider-Man Lite? Drop NINO, change a couple of supporting characters, substitute a teenage Spidey, and this story would read the same.
Seriously, this tussle with Carnage is the most blatant copycat of a Spidey story yet. This isn’t Cosmic in any way, shape, or form. It’s just teen Spider-Man re-told for the umpteenth time. I realize that that’s the point of this failed experiment – to try to capture Spider-Magic once again. It’s just a shame that a true Cosmic book with a true, mature, Cosmic hero was replaced by this hackneyed, puerile, juvenile-mentality-oriented nonsense that really belongs in an “all-ages” Spidey book.
I lost interest in Spider-Man in the early 1990’s and have never re-gained a real interest in the character or his rogue’s gallery of villains. I can’t say I have any particular feelings for the Carnage character – but I like him better than NINO, so I was rooting for him. Predictably, unfortunately, and un-realistically he fails in his attempt to kill NINO. Too bad. I’d like to see NINO 6-feet-under where he belongs. The story is just a prolonged and predictable fight with a symbiote, pulling out all the predictable moves and tactics for fighting a symbiote. And it even ends with a predictable Spider-Mannish dropping of the defeated and wrapped-up villain off at Riker’s Island. Seen that story before? Yeah, me too. Yawn.
Since Marvel insists on keeping this book on life support for some as yet unknown reason, they at least need to stop calling it Cosmic. Cosmic is incidental at best in this book and always has been. Loeb just lazily usurped the look, powers, and concepts of a better-conceived true Cosmic hero – watered them down for juvenile consumption, and gave them to a Parker-ish teen screw-up. How many times have you seen that formula? Too many? Yeah, me too.
Duggan has ignored the Cosmic elements for the most part, vainly trying to appeal to a non-existent demographic of pre-teen Spider-Fans. Just as well. Duggan is clearly not a Cosmic writer or fan – and his forays into Cosmic have been deplorably bad. He just needs to stick to copy-catting old Spidey stories and finish driving this book well into the teens in sales so Marvel has no choice but to cancel it. Never fear, though, NINO-zombies – because Duggan won’t take that sound advice and instead has a NINO-ette coming down the pike for you in a totally un-necessary (and doubtlessly frightfully bad) redux of Infinity Gauntlet. Yeah, since NINO isn’t working, the thing to do is double-down on the failed concept and validate the previously un-true comparisons with GL by creating a Red NINO-ette. Tell me Duggan, do you have any original ideas? First you copy-cat original Spidey. Now you’re going to try to copy-cat Starlin and GL? And do a Miles Morales treatment of NINO in the process? I swear, it’s almost funny that Marvel just keeps making bad things worse.
This issue’s cover art is particularly bad. I’ve always deplored the Manga-fying of the Nova uniform to make NINO, and this cover looks like an image from a cheap video game magnifying all the Kamen Riders and Mega-Man meets Power Rangers rip-offs that are part and parcel of the NINO uniform. The interior art ranges from sub-average to average at best. Curiel does a fine job with the colors, but he admittedly has little with which to work and his talents would be better spent on a better book.
If you’re a true Cosmic fan, vote with your dollars and leave this title on the shelf. Boycott Duggan’s upcoming IG redux, too. And especially boycott this Black Vortex trash with its hackneyed “absolute power corrupts absolutely” simplistic message that could have been told in one issue and isn’t deserving of an “event.” Seriously, compare this current fare to Annihilation, Annihilation: Conquest, War of Kings, Realm of Kings, Nova Volume IV, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume II, and Guardians 3000 – books that actually respected the Cosmic concepts and the fans of the Cosmic concepts. The current “lowest-common-denominator of comics buyer fare” (i.e. NINO, GotGINO, LSLINO, RRINO) will come up sorely lacking every time. It’s time we sent Marvel a message that their current “turn Cosmic into a juvenile farce to appeal to the lowest-common-denominator of comic buyer” strategy is a failure.