The lead story features — as he is labeled in the story — “a completely dim ignorant vacuous imbecilic idiot braindead cretinous moron!!” Of course, the Rhino doesn’t take too kindly to having his intelligence insulted. Van Lente’s lead story is priceless, made all the better by the superb art of Nick Dragotta. Unfortunately, there are only eleven pages of it. I know this book is an anthology of sorts, but given the hype dedicated to “The Gauntlet” and the feature placed upon the Rhino on the cover, I was hoping for more. Van Lente could have easily filled a giant-size issue with the adventures of the Rhino, as he has a tremendous handle on the character, his motives, and his mindset.
The story, set before the Rhino’s first appearance in “The Amazing Spider-Man” #41, clues the readers in as to how Rhino came into possession of his suit, and what motivates him. The character truly hasn’t changed much in the time in between. Dragotta’s art is similar in density to Scott Kolins, but it feels cleaner. There is a deep level of detail that helps to make the Rhino almost believable.
The rest of the issue is rounded out with seventeen pages to Spider-Girl with the traditional Spider-Girl creative team of Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz. Stuck without her webshooters, Mayday has to cope without them, and manages to echo the heroism of her father in doing so. Darkdevil and Fury join in the fun, giving a vast amount of coverage to the future alternative reality that “Spider-Girl” fans have come to love.
The last segment of the issue features eight pages of the newlywed adventures of John Jameson and everyone’s favorite Aunt May. While this story isn’t earth-shattering or rife with adventure, it is a cute story featuring the passion for life that these two characters share.
Spider-fans buying this issue hoping for a full story of the Rhino are going to, like me, be massively disappointed. That’s not to say this is a bad issue, but it certainly could have been more.