Hoo boy, this is a tough one. I really hate it when writers kill off long-time supporting characters, but I can sort of see where Zeb Wells was going here. I’ve never read a story from the Lizard’s point of view that made so much sense to me. I love the territorial, jealous, angry persona that is just constantly clawing for release from Doc Connors’ mind. (Not sure I see the need for an Army Reserve doctor ret-con for Connors, but I guess it doesn’t hurt.) Wells masterfully builds the tension through the caption boxes as Connors is worn down by his reptilian alter-ego. Horrifying.
Spider-Man eventually gets drawn into the story, but it’s pretty rough once he does. He has to deal with Billy Connor’s death, and immediately hunt down the killer, too. What a punch in the gut for every character involved in this thing. I love the Lizard’s new powers; the ability to make humans give in to their primitive sides is skeevy, creepy, and scary all in one.
Wells does a great job with the Lizard’s takedown too. Spidey has to use Connor’s serum and some psychological warfare to defeat the Lizard. It is fascinating seeing the Lizard’s realization of what humans have accomplished. Suddenly, the Lizard realizes he needs clothes. Suddenly, the Lizard realizes that airplanes aren’t birds, but technological accomplishments. It’s neat seeing Connors’ influence start wearing on the Lizard, reversing their long-time situation.
Chris Bachalo was born to draw this story. I might not like the weird hair that his new Lizard design is sporting, but I LOVE the scales and lizards that dominate every page. Bachalo’s borders are always busy and mood-building, but this is a new high for him. Those lizards hanging out of the borders are wonderful. Emma Rios handles some of the Parker interpersonal scenes. Her style still isn’t my favorite, but I much prefer her handling drama rather than action.