The third issue of the latest issue of Marvel Action: Spider-Man sees our arachnid hero coming face to goldfish bowl with his latest villain, Mysterio!
With Peter having recently defeated his gym teacher in battle, thanks to his teacher secretly being the villain Scorpion (Spidey didn’t just attack a teacher!) things seem to have returned to normal at school. Having finally caught up with his extra maths lessons, Peter is finally able to attend his first ever theatre class, run by Mr Beck.
Of course, eagle eyed fans will quickly pick up on who Beck is, and will be waiting for him to make an appearance as his villainous alter-ego; but before that we’re made to wait as Peter is forced to work with Sammie Scramble, a fellow classmate who’s obsessed with her social media account and her thousands of followers.
READ MORE: Witch Hunt – Film Review
After getting caught on their phones Peter and Sammie end up with detention and their phones confiscated.Peter gets let go from detention early, but realising he’s forgotten to get his phone back heads back to class to find Sammie being confronted by Mysterio, who wants to steal her social media account. Now Spidey has to fight a villain who possesses the power of illusions before he’s able to enact his plan.
I found the second issue of Marvel Action: Spider-Man to have been something of an improvement over the first when it was able to focus on Spider-Man actually getting to fight a villain. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the series was able to keep this quality up as issue three ends up feeling incredibly dull and silly. The majority of the issue is given over to Peter navigating his school day, which wouldn’t be too bad if this led to engaging character moments or an advancement in the plot, but here it seems to only be done to make the audience aware that Sammie Scramble is a social media geek with hundreds of thousands of people following her account.
This leads to the biggest flaw with this issue: Mysterio’s plan. Literally all Mysterio wants is to have Sammie’s followers follow him online and watch his performances. So he plans to terrorise a school girl into endorsing him online and giving him her followers. I know that this is a comic series designed for the younger readers, but I don’t think it means that the villains need to be threat-less goofballs. He’d have been more villainous if he was literally taking candy from a baby.
It’s going to sound like harsh criticism, but reducing a character as beloved as Mysterio, a character who has been proven to be an effective and powerful villain across comics, films, games, and television, to wanting to steal a school girl’s social media followers is both ridiculous and insulting to the character. Even the fight between him and Spider-Man feels dull and eventless, with the biggest moment of drama being a cardboard tree falling on someone and trapping their legs.
With the previous volumes of this series being some of the best in the entire Marvel Action catalogue it’s sad to see the title reduced to this, to what almost feels like a parody of itself, where the villains are no better than schoolyard bullies and Spider-Man spends all his time patrolling the halls of his school. I can only hope that the series improves from this point, or that perhaps it gets rebooted for a fourth time.
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #3 is out now from IDW Publishing.