Comics : Spider-Man: Breakout #2

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This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

In the wake of Electro's breakout of super-villains held at The Raft Supermax Prison, two rival gangs are on the streets gunning for each other. The U-Foes, lead by Vector and comprised of Ironclad, X-Ray and Vapor, believe that Crossfire betrayed them two years ago when the U-Foes and Crossfire's gang had planned to break-out of the Vault. They are also tracking a mysterious prison guard who betrayed them as well. The Controller and Mister Fear have ambushed the U-Foes, only to have Spider-Man surprise them...

In Detail...

Spider-Man: Breakout #2
Jul 2005 : SM Title
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  Tony Bedard
Pencils:  Manuel Garcia
Inker:  Raul Fernandez
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man: Breakout (TPB)
Articles: Black Cat, Owl

Spider-Man attacks the Controller and Mister Fear, and manages to make Mister Fear's fear pellets hit Controller, rendering him temporarily paralyzed with fear, as he steps backwards off the top of a building, and into a car. With the Controller taken out of the fight, his hold on the civilians firing on the U-Foes is broken, freeing up the U-Foes. Vector finds Spider-Man fighting Mister Fear, and S.H.I.E.L.D. choppers approaching, and so flees the scene with the U-Foes. Spider-Man manages to take off Mister Fear's mask, and trick him into firing his fear pellets at some webbing, firing it back at Mister Fear and causing him to succumb to his own fear gas.

On the ground, the Controller regains consciousness, takes control of the police arriving on the scene, and makes a hasty exist. Spider-Man manages to get some information out of a paralyzed with fear Mister Fear, when Iron Man, Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D. arrive on the scene. Spider-Man tells Cap what he managed to get out of Mister Fear, and Captain America reminds Spider-Man that he's an Avenger now, and doesn't have to play solo anymore.

Meanwhile, Controller makes it back to Crossfire's hideout at Coney Island, as the gang prepares to change hideouts, to keep the U-Foes rattled enough that they can't find the Vault Guardsman before Crossfire's gang does.

Captain America and Spider-Man head to the Raft to find out more about why the U-Foes and Crossfire's crew are at odds, and find out about altercations between the two groups, but with no reason behind them. They find out that Crossfire filed a complaint against a Vault Program Administrator, Rozalyn Backus, where "he accused her of reckless endangerment for making him look like a snitch to some other inmates." It also turns out that Rozalyn Backus had a fatal car accident a month before the Vault was decommissioned.

Frustrated, Spider-Man turns to the Black Cat to get some help from The Owl, who owes Spider-Man for a recent favor. Spider-Man has an audience with The Owl, where he finds out that Rozalyn Backus had some fake identities set-up by an ex-inmate, and one of those phony I.D.s has a Park Avenue address. Spider-Man heads off to find Rozalyn Backus, and finds her working as a super in a tenement, despite owning a Park Avenue Mansion. "Rozalyn--or whatever you call yourself now-- if we both live through this, you are DEFINITELY introducing me to your accountant..."

In General...

This issue of Breakout makes this much more of a Spider-Man story, as he is much more involved in the issue, and there is slightly less focus from the bad guys who were the stars of the show last issue. This isn't a bad thing, however, just a change in focus, which feels natural, and suits the story. This series seems to be continuing and picking up on plot threads from Mark Millar's run on Marvel Knights Spider-Man, and it makes the series more enjoyable now that it fits into two frames of continuity, the New Avengers continuity and Spider-Man continuity.

This issue picks up directly after the last one, with Spider-Man attacking Mister Fear and the Controller, inadvertantly saving the U-Foes from the former's ambush. The fight sequence here is quite smooth, and Spidey's dialogue is well written and fits the character well. The banter is fun and natural, and makes the comic more fun as a result. The villains here aren't dumb, and are portrayed as actually being fairly intelligent, and it makes the issue much better as a result. Bedard has a knack for writing these villains, and making them extremely interesting to read about, as well as being good at writing escaped convict stories.

The use of the New Avengers here is very natural and in no way forced, and allows an interesting character study for Spider-Man. All his life he's been a loner, now he's working on a team, yet still acting as a loner. It's an interesting contrast which has been examined in Amazing Spider-Man as well, and is fertile ground for many interesting stories.

The main plot in this series is advanced as Spider-Man tries to figure out why the U-Foes and Crossfire's gang are at each other's throats, and it makes for an interesting mystery, as well as allowing a good character moment with Spider-Man and the Owl.

The art in this issue by Garcia is fairly strong, with only a few minor problems. Captain America's mask never quite looks right, but the action scenes are well rendered, Spider-Man looks great in action, and the villains look impressive and menacing. The detail on the Controller is particularly strong and engaging. The colours in this book by Sotomayor are vibrant and help the artwork leap off the page, seeming that much more kinetic and in motion.

Overall Rating...

This is a great read, with some great characterization and a good fight sequence. It's turning out to be much more intelligent than the initial premise might let on, and a great spotlight on some relatively minor villains as well.