ASM 700.4 is the conclusion to the Black Lodge story arc and there’s plenty of action. Things in the hospital come to a head with Spider-Man going toe to toe against half a dozen of his fellow patients. There's all the quips and dry humor one can expect from Spider-Man. Even without his web shooters and in his weakened condition Spidey manages to hold his own, granted one of his opponents is in a wheelchair, which was rather weird to read. But given that the last two issues showed Spidey looking like a mummy, weird is sort of relative.
The arc ends with the destruction of the hospital, removing the faculty from play in the traditional comic book way that will allow them to return at any time. I was disappointed in that because I wanted know more about this place and in particular the character identified as the Surgeon General. He makes it clear that he may run the hospital but even he answers to someone, presumably funding the operation. His character was where I felt the focus needed to be but he was mishandled. The Surgeon General came off inconsistent. Perhaps it was an issue of length (The black lodge felt like an arc that could have easily gone on longer than two issues).
He’s absolutely steadfast in his Observation to the Hippocratic oath but decides that Spider-Man is a problem even though he knows Spidey’s presence in the hospital was a mistake by his own people. Despite asserting, several times, that he and his staff are healers he informs all the patients that Spider-Man is a patient and even asks some them directly to help remove him.
The worst part about this is from a plot point of view, the exact same events could have occurred by just having a member of his staff go behind his back and tell the other patients that Spider-Man was there. One nurse in particular was established as loathing Spider-Man, making it perfectly in character to rat him out.
The Black Lodge was such an intriguing idea but was not well executed. Since the entirety of the staff escaped I’m hoping that with their eventual return we’ll get a deeper exploration of the Surgeon General’s character.
As a stand alone issue its fun, there’s fighting, explosions, and a few jokes but nothing that blew me out of the water.
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