Monday, 11 February 2013

Union Jack Helps Spider-Man Save the World

The Amazing Spider-Man: Ends of the Earth Graphic Novel.

I picked this up solely because Union Jack is a part of this story. I'd not read the story when it came out originally in comic form, I generally wait until the graphic novel is released. So with high hopes of a good showing for Union Jack, I eagerly forked out hard cash for this book.

Contained within you will find Amazing Spider-Man #682-687, Amazing Spider-Man: Ends of the Earth #1, and Avenging Spider-Man #8.

Union Jack in recent years has had a more favourable representation by Marvel, than Captain Britain, so my hopes were born on the back of Union Jack being quite in favour.

This graphic novel is really good, a great story, a great cast of characters, top quality art, all-in-all a good job done, but I was disappointed. Eh? how can I be disappointed when the whole book was very good? Not enough Union Jack! He gets a small page count compared to others in this book.

The story itself goes something like this - Doctor Octopus is dying, and he wants to have one final swan-song before he goes. He convinces the world that he has the answer to global warming, and wants to save the Earth, but there's a price. So with the rest of the Sinister Six, he sets the plan in motion.

Spider-Man is not convinced by the Doc's sudden urge to help, and knowing he's going up against the Sinister Six, he don's a new costume, specially designed to counteract each of the Six's powers, and with the help of The Avengers sets out to bring Doc Ock and pals in and expose them to the world as frauds.

The Doc, being a very clever man, guesses The Avengers will help Spidey out, so comes up with his own way for The Sinister Six to take out The Avengers. Big fight between the opposing factions, and The Sinister Six are victorious.

Spider-Man, and Black Widow are rescued by Silver Sable, who had been following The Avengers in a cloaked aircraft. The Avengers are carted off, and it's now up to Spider-Man, Black Widow & Silver Sable to stop Doc Ock's plans.

Doctor Octopus' plan isn't to save the world, it's to destroy it, using hundreds of satellites, which are about to be launched from various locations around the world. The good Doctor thinks I'm going to die, so should the rest of the world. Fearing interference from Spidey and pals he hires various villains to protect each site.

Black Widow gets wind of Doc Ock's recruitment drive, through the Titanium Man, which prompts Spider-Man to recruit heroes to help him take these launch sites out. These heroes are, Union Jack in England, Kangaroo (eh?) in Australia, Sabra in Israel, Titanium Man in Russia, and Big Hero Six (Who?) in Japan. Each recruit has been chosen for each of the sites in their own respective countries.

The Titanium Man faces off against The Scorpion and loses, Sabra looks to have no-one to face but is shot in the head, or so it seems by Crossbones (later explained as a glancing shot), from distance, Kangaroo comes across Lady Deathstroke, she kills him, Big Hero Six face-off against someone called Everwraith (?) and Union Jack faces off against a huge robot Octo-spider-thing, and the new Slaymaster.

How excited was I? Slaymaster, one of Captain Britain's greatest foes, granted not the original one, Cap had mushed his head with a boulder years ago, but Slaymaster all the same, and looking far better than the poor representation he had in the Deadpool, Captain Britain team-up.

Here lies my first disappointment, the fight between Slaymaster, and Union Jack lasted one page, just one page containing five panels. The fight deserved so much more, five pages surely!

This was followed by Union Jacks fight? with the robot, which involved one 'Robo tentacle smash to the face' and a couple of panels of him stabbing it with his knife.

This fight was given even less space than the fight with Slaymaster, less than a page, but at least Union Jack didn't end up like Kangaroo, or Sabra.

I know it's Spider-Man's book, so I didn't expect him to have as much coverage as Spidey, or The Avengers, or even Silver Sable, but at least more space than the other international hero's would have been nice. Union Jacks ride to the Olympic Village, fight with Slaymaster, and the robot, and Spidey asking him to join them on their fight with Doc Ock lasted four pages. Kangaroo had just two pages, Sabra two pages, Titanium Man two pages, and Big Hero Six had 14 pages.

Who are Big Hero Six? and why do they get a bigger billing than Union Jack? They look like an attempt by Marvel to crack the Japanese market with a decidedly Manga looking group, of big robots, and monster forming hero's.

The rest of the story runs pretty much as you would expect it to. Spider-Man, Widow, Sable and Mysterio fight The Avengers, who are being controlled by Doc's 'Octo-Bots', they win. The Avengers try to stop the missiles reaching space, whilst Spidey and Sable race to Doc's underwater hideout to stop him from destroying the world.

The only menber of the Sinister Six left alongside the Doc is The Rhino. Sable fights the Rhino, Spidey fights Doc Ock. Spidey Wins, but it looks like Silver Sable drowns alongside The Rhino. This is yet to be confirmed, no bodies were found.

As I've already said, it was a really good read, but I want more British involvement in the Marvel Universe, but it was nice to see the likes of Union Jack, and Slaymaster, even if it was brief.

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