Comics : Spider-Man: Breakout #3

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This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

Vector's U-Foes and Crossfire's gang race to track down Roz Backus, a former prison guard at the Vault, and now a reclusive tenement superintendent. But what did Roz do to earn these villains' undying hatred?

In Detail...

Spider-Man: Breakout #3
Aug 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)

Courtland Whitehead, who runs Truemark Investments, is attacked in his elevator by Vapor, who takes out his personal guards and takes him back to his office, for a face-to-face encounter with Vector. Courtland took care of Vector's money after the accident that turned him into one of the U-Foes, until all of Vector's money disappeared. Vector agrees to not harm anyone else in the building if Courtland co-operates and helps Vector find out where his money went.

Spider-Man, trying to figure out why Crossfire's gang and the U-Foes have stuck around in New York, pays Roz Backus a visit in her apartment, only to be hit with a wet plunger, and then have a gun pulled on him. Spider-Man tells Rozalyn how he managed to track her down using her false IDs, following the various clues that she had inadvertantly left, leading him to her doorstep.

Rozalyn reveals how she first met Crossfire and his ilk, when she was assigned to the Vault. She reveals how Crossfire built up his gang of mind-controllers, and what made Crossfire one of the most dangerous inmates at the Vault, thanks to his intelligence.

Meanwhile, Courtland follows the electronic tracks left by Rozalyn, to try and find Vector's stolen money, revealing how she managed to make it all seem legitimate, and at the same time discrediting Vector. As the U-Foes work to find Backus, Crossfire's gang breaks into the Truemark Investments building. Crossfire lets on to his teammates that he knows more about Roz than the rest of them do...

Courtland finally figures out where the U-Foes can find Backus, and sends them on their search. However, Crossfire and his crew show up just as the U-Foes leave, and Crossfire tells Courtland that he must help Crossfire find Backus, and that the address he gave the U-Foes was a phoney, a wild goose chase. As Crossfire and Courtland go towards his office, Mandrill, Corruptor and the Controller threaten the remaining civilians on the floor.

In General...

Tony Bedard "gets" breakout stories. He developed a strong ability to write a group of escaped convicts (albeit heroes) in the oft-missed Negation, and he hones it here with a dramatic and engaging story of freed super-villains on a mission.

Bedard has managed to make this mini-series so engaging and great to read by not just making it another Spider-Man mini-series. Spider-Man appears in here, but he's in no way the main character of this book. Up until now, and including this issue, that distinction goes to Vector and his U-Foes. I admit to not being the most knowledgable about the U-Foes prior to this mini-series, but Bedard manages to bring the reader up to speed, so that they can enjoy this fantastic story.

In their search to find the woman who sold out the U-Foes and took all of Vector's money, the U-Foes visit an old friend of Vector's who attempts to trace all of the stolen cash. As this goes on, Spider-Man pays a visit to the woman who took the cash, which highlights how Spider-Man is growing as a super-hero, in that he's finally picking up some genuine detective skills. The scenes with Roz shed light on the social situation that was present in the Vault, and how Crossfire's gang first got together in the first place. It's a great scene, making complete and total sense yet at the same time isn't totally what is expected. Crossfire and Vector are getting some great characterization out of this series, as they are shown to be much more dangerous and intelligent than they are usually portrayed as being.

The issue is relatively low on action, and the plot doesn't actually move forward that much, but it is hard to notice, because of the excellent writing, and how the story is revealed. The plot may not be advanced that much further, but instead the reader is learning more about what set up the whole conflict in the first place, which is turning out to be quite the interesting story. Bedard takes these characters seriously, and is not only doing them justice, he's improving on them in such a way that it's hard to think of these guys as mere b-list villains anymore.

The art by Garcia is spot-on, pretty solid in this issue. The U-Foes in particular are looking great, and Sotomayor's colours really help the characters pop off the page. Vector and X-Ray in particular look great when they are using their powers. The reds of Crossfire and Corruptor's costumes really shimmer, as well. The art is a fairly good compliment to the fantastic script that Bedard has written for this issue.

This mini-series just gets better and better, and doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. This is a great read, and Spider-Man's involvement isn't gratuitous, and his portrayal is very strong and respectful of his abilities and skills as a crimefighter/superhero.

Overall Rating...

Manages to continue the pace of the last few issues, and not lose anything in the way of the story, plot, dialogue, script, breakdowns, or finishes. A solid, solid book, a very enjoyable read.