Comics : Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #12

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This story is part of an Arc: "The Last Stand"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

Mac Gargan is now bonded to the Venom symbiote. Aunt May is missing and may be dead. The Green Goblin is about to throw Mary Jane off the George Washington Bridge, just like he did to Gwen on the Brooklyn Bridge. Doc Ock is crazed and on the warpath heading for Osborn. As for Spidey - he's not having a good day.

In Detail...

Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #12
May 2005 : SM Title
Arc: Part 4 of "The Last Stand"
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  Mark Millar
Pencils:  Terry Dodson
Inker:  Rachel Dodson
Cover Art:  Terry Dodson
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (SM:MK) #3
Articles: Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Venom III

The Green Goblin, dangling Mary Jane above the George Washington Bridge, tells Spidey that May is still alive - just anaesthetized, though she may still choke in the next 45 minutes. He says he's not down among the dead men yet. He says Peter shouldn't have raised the game by getting him captured after he had escaped from Luke Cage (fitting things together with the Goblin's first capture story in The Pulse, which had appeared to be posing a conflict with the events of Marvel Knights Spider-Man #1). As Goblin's goading Pete, Doc Ock shows up behind him, brainwashed into wanting to kill Norman.

Osborn pumpkin bombs him, while Pete sees his opportunity and webs Osborn down to the Bridge's surface. As they begin to fight and Peter tries to get May's location out of the Goblin, MJ recovers her senses and pulls out of her pocket the gun she had in the last issue. She shoots Osborn in the chest, but the recoil knocks her off the bridge. Peter webs her as she falls, but properly this time - not like with Gwen - reminding himself to web each joint at the same time to minimise the impact. As Peter's pulling in MJ, Osborn comes up behind him with the glider held over his head ready to crash it down on Pete. Ock shows up again, though, and the two villains crash down into the water.

Pete and MJ embrace and he says he suddenly realises where May is. He tells MJ to "stay here" (i.e. on top of the bridge!) while he swings off to get May. He goes to Ben's grave and digs down, taking Osborn's clue about being down among the dead men and thinking that Marvel Girl not being able to see May was because she saw the headstone. May's in a coffin in Ben's grave ... though goodness only knows where Ben's body is. She is being sustained by oxygen but has no other functions. Peter frees her just in time.

We see scenes of the police pulling Ock out of the river - he is lacking two month's worth of memories - Osborn is missing. Peter visits Felicia in hospital. She is recovering and Peter realises she still has feelings for him. Gargan has been arrested and wants to be called Venom from now on. His costume is auctioned off.

Jonah has had a change of heart at the Bugle and now backs Spider-Man to the hilt - believing him to be his son John. At the Brooklyn Bridge (site of Gwen's death), Peter is there and having one of his regular guilt trips. May shows up and gives him his spider suit, saying she supports him and that he's saved so many people. Norman has sent a letter to Peter, saying congratulations for escaping his recent plot and that, for a while at least, he can look forward to a period of relaxation. He says their on-off battles are no sign of enmity on his part, simply that Osborn holds Peter in great regard and is grateful for his attentions. Were it not for Pete, Osborn would just be a regular businessman in a boring existence. He tells him to sleep well and stay healthy and that he will always be in his prayers...

In General...

Mark Millar's run comes to an end here and new creative teams, led by writer Reggie Hudlin, take over from the next issue. Millar's 12 months read very much like an all-stars, with villains new and old brought to the fore. What's been good is that he has actually given them a reason to seem menacing again. Gargan/ Venom is completely revitalised and Osborn, in particular, seems madder than ever. The final page with Osborn's letter to Peter is one of my favourite parts of any issue in recent times. The scripting is so good, with Osborn's wording matched to perfection to truly show the proper workings of a madman.

As for the issue itself, it kind of runs out of steam. None of the battles seem to have that edge to them, be it through the scripting or the intensity of the art. I like the deranged idea of keeping May barely alive in Ben's grave, but do wonder where Ben's body actually is - wouldn't Peter wonder that too? The cleaning up exercise at the end worked pretty well - Gargan wants to be Venom, his Scorpion suit has been auctioned off, which nicely leads into Amazing Fantasy #7; we cleared up the confusion over what happened at the end of The Pulse #5, and things sit fairly well.

I still think Millar was slightly blindsided by JMS' recent bridge-using in ASM and that, if he'd got in first, MM's use of the bridge to drop MJ from would have had more impact. Despite that, the story as a whole has been excellent, showing new sides to old characters, re-invigorating people like Osborn and bringing an intensity to the character of Peter and Spidey when those around him have been so closely affected.

Overall Rating...

The mark is more for the arc as a whole as opposed to this particular issue.

Footnote...

This is the first time Doc Ock and the Green Goblin have fought.

This issue containss the first time Norman Osborn's age is mentioned (55 years old).

Osborp's address is given on an evelope as "1 Osborn Way, New York, NY 10022" while Peter and MJ's apartment was located at "76 Tito Way, Apt. 8B, New York, NY 10018"

This is the first time Mary Jane Watson has fired a gun at another person (Osborn).

Spiderfan was privileged to assist Mark Millar during part of his Marvel Knights Spider-Man run to review his scripts for continuity issues. Mark was open to help clarify the events surrounding the Goblin's capture in both the Pulse (by Luke Cage) and in MK Spider-Man #1 (by Spidey) in this issue. He also addressed the age old question about which bridge was the site of Gwen Stacy's death. In Amazing Spider-Man #121, the Brooklyn Bridge was drawn, but the "George Washington Bridge" was written in the text. Editorial and Stan Lee have admitted the error, and later reprints, other Spider-Man issues, and subsequent Official Handbooks have clarified that it was the Brooklyn Bridge. In this issue of MK Spider-Man, as the Green Goblin dangled Mary Jane over the George Washington Bridge, Osborn said, "I picked a new bridge just for her, you know."