Comics : Spider-Man: Breakout #4

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This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

In the wake of Electro's breakout at the Raft, tons of supervillains are on the loose, including Crossfire and his crew, and the U-Foes. Both groups are trying to track down a rogue Guardsman who sold the teams out a few years ago, and kill each other if possible.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: Breakout #4
Sep 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)

Crossfire directs Mr. Whitehead in his search for Roz's real location, who reveals where to find her. The Corruptor walks up to Whitehead, and prepares to direct him to go on a bloodcurdling killing spree of all his employees.

Spider-Man, at Roz's place, tells Roz how he found her, and reveals his affiliation with the New Avengers when Captain America calls him to keep tabs on him. Roz then tells Spider-Man how she first met Crossfire in the first place, years ago.

Roz worked with Crossfire on his experiments when he was still an FBI operative. Roz and Crossfire became an item, as Crossfire continued the sonic brainwashing experiments. The sonic brainwashing worked, and Roz and Crossfire got closer as a result of their working relationship, and became an office romance. After three months, the two were going to run off and get married, when government agents crashed her motel, and put her under arrest for the theft of government property used in the experimental procedures, and for the murder of Crossfire himself. Roz was framed, and it was only when Crossfire reappeared under that moniker that the agency revealed it was a frame and let Roz go free.

As Roz reveals all this to Spider-Man, Crossfire takes over a school bus, gets Controller to seal a perimeter around the building, and has Mandrill occupy women in the neighbourhood. Corruptor is still with Whitehead at his office building, forcing him to shoot his employes right between the eyes, as he begs to be next. The U-Foes appear and take out the Corruptor, and then find out what happened to Whitehead and where Roz really is.

Roz reveals to Spider-Man how she dressed up as a Guardsman and set up a fake breakout for the U-Foes and Crossfire's gang, and subsequently screwed them over, and took Vector's money. She faked her own death, but sent a news clipping to Crossfire, which revealed to him who was responsible for his predicament, and why he is searching for her so desperately. Just then, Controller and Crossfire break into the apartment, and Crossfire puts a controlling disc on Spider-Man's face, making him under his control.

In General...

This series has been much more intelligent than I ever thought it would be. Not to sell Bedard short, I'm a fan of his work, a big fan, I like his Exiles, and LOVED Negation, but when this series was initially solicited, it sounded more like a standard beat 'em up mini-series, as Spider-Man went after some of the recent escapees from the Raft. Instead, I found a brilliantly well written mini-series, with a bunch of villains front and centre for the first few issues, receiving some excellent characterization which really managed to flesh out the characters in ways they had never been before.

This issue is the big reveal, as we finally learn the connection between Roz and Crossfire, why he's after her, and why he seemed to know more about who he was tracking than Vector and his U-Foes. I love that Bedard never forgets that these guys are villains, and vicious ones at that, at least with regards to Crossfire's crew. The U-Foes aren't as vicious, but Crossfire's gang is brutal, and the series doesn't shy away from that. As Spider-Man learns Roz's secret, Crossfire systematically tracks down Roz, from setting up a perimeter around Roz' building, making sure there were no witnesses at the Corporate Office the U-Foes visited in the last issue, finding someone who recognized Roz' picture, and finally taking her apartment by force. The villains aren't stupid in this story, they're often a step ahead of Spider-Man, and it's fascinating to read. The story is complex, there's many different sides, and it's entertaining to read. The script perfectly sets up the final issue's conflict between Spider-Man, the U-Foes, Crossfire's gang and Roz, and it is very exciting and hard to wait for.

The art by Garcia is extremely strong in this issue, his Spider-Man in particular. His rendition of the U-Foes is a highlight, as it has been in the past few issues. The art holds up the story quite well, and compliments it appropriately. The colours by Sotomayor are VERY strong here, and really make the characters more vibrant and more eye-catching and eye-popping.

Overall Rating...

This series is a great read, and if you haven't been reading it, you should definitely consider picking up the trade, it's a great mini-series which was most likely passed over by those who had the same preconceptions I did. You won't be disappointed.