Retcon Punch

Heroes and Villains Alike Assemble Their Armies in Amazing Spider-Man 793

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

By the end of The Amazing Spider-Man 793 — the fourth installment of Dan Slott, Mike Costa, and Ryan Stegman’s “Venom Inc.” crossover — the many various players that have filled out this story have essentially grouped into two opposing sides. What’s interesting is the way these factions differ from each other.

Lee Price — a.k.a. Maniac — has revealed his endgame, using his symbiote to possess the five biggest crime families in the world and assimilate them into his symbiote army of made men. Against this veritable army stands Spider-Man, Anti-Venom/Flash Thompson, Mania, Black Cat, and Venom/Eddie Brock. What stands out to me is the fact that Price’s entire army are essentially being controlled by him as extensions of his own will. This makes them formidable opponents, but also creates a few weaknesses. Take out Price, and you take out the entire army, or, any minions you free from the symbiote’s control may not only turn on Price, but will remember everything he’s taught and told them. This is already working against Price, as Spider-Man himself retained the details of Price’s endgame after being freed from his control.

On the other hand, Slott, Costa, and Stegman go out of their way to highlight the different skills of our “heroes,” be it Black Cat’s stealth, Spider-Man’s Spider-Sense, Mania’s Hell-Mark, or Anti-Venom’s ability to free Price’s made men. They may be outnumbered, but this group has a distinct advantage in sheer variety, skill, and knowledge alone.

Amazing Spider-Man 793 sets the stage for what should be a thrilling final confrontation. In a way, it’s just as much a “table setting” installment as issue 792 was, yet it avoids so many of the problems I had with that issue. First of all, this issue has a distinct identity all its own (the issue where the Venom Inc. team frees Spider-Man from Price’s control). Second, it manages to use that identity to explore character beats that tie into the rest of this storyline (and into Amazing Spider-Man overall), such as Daily Bugle’s new Spider-Man policies or the relationship between Spider-Man and Flash Thompson.

This relationship has been “Venom Inc’s” anchor, its emotional core, strengthening its weakest chapters and even giving its strongest moments an extra oomph.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?