Issue(s): Spider-Man #41, Spider-Man #42, Spider-Man #43
This story is very light on plot. Iron Fist and Spider-Man independently find out that a rogue Rand scientist has been developing a suit of armor for a criminal organization called ARMS (Alternative Resources Munitions Supply), which wants to go into business against AIM. When Spider-Man's investigation leads him to Rand, he and Iron Fist get into a Misunderstanding Fight, and then they team-up to fight the scientist in his Platoon suit, and then a literal platoon of armored suits. That's basically it. If this was originally intended as the opening arc for an ongoing series, it doesn't make any attempt to set up a supporting cast or any longer term plots. These issues are basically just about letting Jae Lee indulge in his unusual art style (which is a bit dialed back here compared to his Namor run).
The doctor that invented the suit actually went rogue even from ARMS, but they try to make the best of a bad situation by releasing the other suits and then use it as an advertisement to drum up sales.
That works until Iron Fist and Spider-Man start beating the suits, and then the potential buyers pull out.
Terry Kavanagh wrote Richard Fisk and Alfredo Morelli's last appearances, and was also Excalibur's editor when Sat-yr^9 was appearing there.
In the end, AIM shows up and does a hostile take-over of ARMS, killing all the execs.
The bit with the buyers is clever and fun. And in general i think this book, which is arguably a vehicle for unique voices to do Spider-Man stories, is a good place for Jae Lee.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 447,083. Single issue closest to filing date = 503,525.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: I'm not sure about the identity of the buyer in the "dank cavern far below the Earth". I'll also note that the MCP does not list Richard Fisk or Alfredo Morelli (Gauntlet); i'm hoping that's an oversight and not because of a continuity snafu (the last time we saw those two characters, they were being arrested, so it does seem to fit).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showGauntlet (Alfredo Morelli), Iron Fist, Kate Cushing, Opal Luna Sat-yr^9, Platoon, Richard Fisk, Shinobi Shaw, Slug (Crimelord), Spider-Man
I'm pretty sure that, based on the setting and the colour of the glove, the person in the "dank cavern far below the Earth" is the superhero called Batman. He's a bit of an obscure character, but he previously appeared in this comic you reviewed last year. (So you might want to tag him here too?) Being a hero with no powers, he might be interested using those suits himself, or maybe he just doesn't want any criminal organisations to get hold of them? IIRC he's supposed to be incredibly rich due to inheriting a family business (a nice parallel with Danny Rand there), so he could definitely afford them.
Posted by: Tuomas | March 30, 2017 8:01 AM
Those circulation figures are yuge. And they're increasing, which defies all logic.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 30, 2017 10:31 PM
I hear you, Walter. Makes one wonder what drives people to buy certain comics, doesn't it?
I can only guess that this specific book used to be perceived as prime material for speculation. Perhaps people assumed that specific issues would become hard to come by, what with the lack of a regular team or plot. Or that the art teams would be better than average in order to make up for the lack of a clear purpose, overarching plot or stable team. I dunno. It might even be simple curiosity on how a book created specifically as a vehicle for Todd McFarlane would evolve through time without him.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | March 30, 2017 11:27 PM
It's worth noting that the average sales of this book have decreased in every Statement of Ownership fnord has posted so far, though these are still X-Men level sales. Last year's numbers had average sales of just under 575k but most-recent-issue numbers of over a million, suggesting those numbers were inflated by the specific circumstances of whatever issue was the most recent at that time. The increase here is much more modest and may reflect actual interest in the series as a whole increasing, perhaps as a result of Maximum Carnage. Of course, my best guess for what issue would have seen the sky-high sales seen in the last statement is the anniversary issue #26, and this statement is earlier in the year than that one, so it's very possible that the most-recent issue in this statement is one of the Maximum Carnage issues themselves.
Posted by: Morgan Wick | March 31, 2017 12:50 AM
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