Writer: Dan Slott
Penciller: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inkers: Klaus Janson and Dan Green
Colourist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna
Previously, in Amazing Spider-Man: Morbius, the Living Vampire, exhumed the dead body of Curt Connors’ son Billy, who was savagely attacked and killed by the Lizard when he last appeared. Using the genetic material from Billy’s body, Morbius was able to create a cure for the Lizard, which he, Spider-Man, and the staff at Horizon Labs were able to force the Lizard to take.
However, whilst his human form was restored, Curt Connors’ brain was not—the Lizard is now in control of Connor’s body. Tricking Spider-Man and Morbius to fight once again, the Lizard took the opportunity to hijack Horizon Labs’ top scientist, Max Modell, and transformed him into a humanoid lizard himself, in an attempt to find out how to return to his own reptilian body.
In my reviews for the first two parts of this No Turning Back storyline, I mentioned both times how easy it is to fall into a trap with the Lizard; the character is easy to write, but tends to fall into a single storyline that gets repetitive—he changes, Spidey saves him. Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo turned this on its head in Shed, and Dan Slott has continued from there to create something even more unique with the character, and continues to do so even three issues into this storyline. The Lizard has become a truly unpredictable character now, to the point where I’m not even sure what decision he will make as a result of this issue’s cliffhanger.
Before we get to that though, let’s look at the rest of the issue. Spider-Man continues to batter Morbius about the head, whilst the Lizard, still trapped in Connors’ body, wrecks havoc on the Horizon Labs staff. Seems straight forward enough, right? But both plotlines have their own little twists and turns, in the form of Madame Web and Carly Rae Jepsen respectively. Yeah, you heard me right. It sounds crazy, but it starts off another line of character development for the Lizard that plays out through the issue as he realises that being a human might not actually be as bad as he thought it’d be. The Lizard really is the main character of this arc, to the point that Spider-Man is on fewer pages than he is in this issue, I’m almost certain.
There’s also a two page aside that thrusts another storyline, that has been bubbling along in the back, to the foreground. Tiberius Stone has been working secretly for the Kingpin, and his couple of pages prove integral to the rest of this storyline whilst still setting up Danger Zone, the arc set to take place in two arcs time. Slott’s forward planning is yet again very obvious, but fits into the storyline without being ham fisted, and doesn’t interrupt the flow of everything else that’s going on. Giving him almost free reign on the main Amazing Spider-Man title has worked wonders and really shown what kind of writer he can be when given the chance.
Monstrous lizard creatures must be the top of Giuseppe Camuncoli’s CV at the moment, since he’s been drawing them like crazy the past few issues, and this one goes into overdrive too. With an army of lizards, as well as Morbius and a very angry Spider-Man to get onto the page, Camuncoli is pulling out all the stops. The addition of another inker does nothing to hinder proceedings either, which is always nice to see. This book looks exactly like a full on superhero story, and is all the better for it.
There’s not a lot left to say here, other than No Turning Back continues to be unpredictable, impressive, and enjoyable. We’ve taken a turn for the dark with this storyline, but the series continues to be great fun to read, and infinitely more fun to think about afterwards. As long as the conclusion is satisfying next issue, and I see no reason why it wouldn’t be, I would easily rank this arc next to Shed for best Lizard storyline.
GO Rating: 4/5