Comics : Gravity #5
This story is part of an Arc: "Big City Super-Hero"
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5
This review was first published on: 2005.
Greg Willis came to New York to become a big-shot superhero, but he sucked at it. After having his head handed to him by the Black Death, he decided to hang up his tights and spend his time with his girlfriend, Lauren. But last issue his old mentor, the Greenwich Guardian, appealed to Greg to help him take down the Black Death by stealing a special device. Greg agreed to help, which led to his break-up with Lauren. However, things got even worse for our hero. It turns out the Greenwich Guardian was really the Black Death in disguise all along, and he's tricked Gravity into stealing the one device that renders Greg powerless!
Dec 2005 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Arc: Part 5 of "Big City Super-Hero"
It's flashback time! A young Greg Willis and his parents are out yachting on Lake Michigan. A freak storm blows out of nowhere and the boat hits trouble. Greg is blown overboard, and sucked into a bizarre other-worldly vortex that is spinning over the water. As soon as he enters it there is a flash of light, the storm stops and Greg finds himself floating face down in the lake. That's how he got his powers, but what's he doing with them now?
Answer: not much. The Black Death has Gravity imprisoned in a Graviton Trap that will turn Gravity's powers into a destructive weapon - a "cosmic vacuum- cleaner" - that the Black Death will use against the school! In true super- villain style, the Black Death gives the helpless Gravity a complete description of his evil scheme before unleashing the helpless hero's power against the campus.
As Greg's powers are used to destroy the campus, the Black Death reveals that he used to be a student at this college. He takes perverse pleasure in having Gravity destroy all the sites that once meant something to him: the rooftop where he first fought as the Greenwich Guardian, the Silver Centre where he was failed in social psychology, the library where he put in so many hours of fruitless work...
Greg does his best to try and gain control of his powers as the Black Death drones on and on. He has to act soon because his powers are endangering the people he cares out. The entire front wall of Greg's dorm is ripped away almost killing Frog. Lauren and her new boyfriend are forced to flee when a tree they are walking past is uprooted before their eyes.
But suddenly the machine cuts out. Gravity has regained his powers through shear force of will, and now it's payback time! Gravity destroys the machine, but the Black Death is still a powerful foe and he traps Gravity in a cocoon of black energy and hurls him against an archway. Gravity falls to the ground, buried in rubble.
The Black Death says how he and Gravity are alike. That once he was the naïve super-hero, he once thought he was going to be a success! But he failed. No one ever appreciated his efforts so he turned his back on society and turned his back on the law. Greg laughs in his face. He sees now that the Black Death is a pathetic loser. There is nothing for him to be afraid of.
Using his powers, Greg hurls the rock pinning him at the Black Death. It knocks him to the ground. Greg races over and finishes him off with one well-placed punch. The Black Death falls, defeated, and melts away before Greg's eyes.
Greg is just getting over this when he realises he is not alone. Spider-Man says "hi". He arrived at the end of the fight, and was going to pitch in, but it didn't seem as though Gravity needed his help after all. Spidey gives Gravity a much needed pep talk. Sure, the campus is in ruins but no-one was seriously hurt. Everything will be rebuilt - this sort of thing happens a lot in New York after all. Spidey even guesses Gravity's code-name by the symbol on his outfit. He's the first person to have figured that out.
Greg is at something of a loss for words in the presence of his idol. Spidey says that he has to go (MJ's waiting after all). He swings off with the words "I'll see you 'round". Gravity watches him go. He isn't so sure that Spidey will see him around. He doesn't think that either Greg or Gravity are ready for New York.
A few days later Lauren is sitting in her favourite bakery with her new boyfriend. She is giving him the same speech she gave Greg all those weeks ago. Then she stops. She has seen Greg sitting alone at another table. She goes over to him, coldly at first, but Greg starts talking and she melts slightly.
Greg says that he came to New York for all the wrong reasons, that he screwed up and it would be better for everyone if he just went home to Wisconsin. Lauren interrupts him. She says he is stupid. She tells him how scared she was in the park when she was caught in the middle of Gravity's fight with the Black Death. She says, "I realised all I wanted was..." But she doesn't finish that line of thought. She does tell him not to give up just because he made one mistake. Putting her hand on his shoulder, she adds that he is not the type.
And so thanks to Lauren, and to Spider-Man and even the Black Death, Greg stays at college and toughs things out. He is berated by the teachers, even failed by one, but Lauren is watching him and he feels stronger for it. He spends time with Frog, he looks in on the old lady he rushed to hospital on during his first adventure. At the end of the semester he discovers that he passed at the bottom of the year, but he has passed nonetheless.
And after dark, Greg is still Gravity - no longer quite the newbie he was, but still with a great deal to learn.
This a comic that works. Everything that McKeever has explored in the last five issues, be it in terms of plot or theme is tied together in such a neat package that you can't help but smile. Looking back over the series, it is clear that everything has been working toward this denouement, and it does not disappoint.
Despite his abrupt arrival, the appearance of Spider-Man did not feel at all contrived. Through the series Greg has held Spider-Man up as an ideal - as someone he would aspire to be. It makes perfect sense for Spidey to turn up at the end of the series, in the wake of Gravity's first big success, and congratulate him for it. It shows that Gravity is starting to be taken seriously, that somewhere he is getting some respect.
It is key in convincing Greg that coming to college in New York wasn't the worst idea in his life - that there is a superhero within him. But I'm very glad that it took more than Spider-Man to convince Greg to stay. Despite having split up with him, Lauren still cares for Greg enough to help him when he's down and to make him see the person he could be.
There's little more to say about the series except to remind you that this has been an extremely well-written, fun and entertaining adventure. The characters are so well drawn that you feel as though you really know them. The montage of scenes at the end is a particularly nice touch.
Is there anything bad about this? Yes, the fact the series is over. I want find out what happens next in Greg's life. I want to see him get back together with Lauren. I want to read more Gravity! I surely can't be the only one.
A truly satisfying conclusion to Marvel's best mini-series of the year. The more I read it, the more I like it. It's a story that hits every nail squarely on the head. A gem. Five webs.
Gravity next appears in the Marvel Holiday Special 2006, and goes on to star in Robert Kirkman's Legion of Losers epic in Marvel Team-Up (Vol. 3) #15. Joe Quesada has gone on the record and said there are "plans" for Gravity in 2006. Let's hope they reunite him with this creative team.