Current Reviews


Amazing Spider-Man #46

Posted: Saturday, November 9, 2002
By: Ray Tate

"Unnatural Enemies"

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: John Romita Jr.(p), Scott Hanna(i), Brian Haberlin(c)
Publisher: Marvel

I know what some people say of me. All he likes is cartoony books. The man is trapped in an era that mostly everybody but he has forgotten. For cripes sake, the man reviews Scooby-Doo as if it were Shakespeare!

Amazing Spider-Man is a Marvel Universe book. It has nothing to do with cartoons--well, not in an overt sense--but guess what? This week it too is perfection and just shows how badly the other books have been constructed.

Whereas it took Hawkman twenty-two pages to relate a story with a gratuitous Dr. Fate guest-appearance, JMS has Dr. Strange visit Peter in four pages to give our hero a really good pertinent warning. Whereas the flashbacks in Hawkman were mostly empty calories, the flashback--singular--here sets up the story, informs those who may have missed past issues and also in a humorous fashion establishes the tone. In addition, the good Doctor's presence is far more plausible than say a yeti crashing through your roof.

Exposition in the story is honest exposition. The arrangement of those facts however indicates a craftsman at work. JMS knows exactly which phrases to accent. He does this through the positioning of the sentences, and John Romita mirrors our reaction with Pete's reaction.

You expect all this information to be foreshadowing for a plot that will begin in a few issues. Bang! It happens now. Remember, I did say Dr. Strange's warning was pertinent, and by Rao, what an eerie vision Spidey's latest enemy is. Defying gravity because she can, all inky blank with indigo highlights and glowing-white eyes . Ah, yes, the colors. All the light sources can be seen. All the understated shadow belongs where it happens to be located, and nuances of color that enhance the depth of musculature really do enhance the depth of musculature. Udon needs to be fired and fast.

The villain of the story is unique. JMS creates a villain who has a sort of happy-go-luck, lethal attitude that is the darker reflection of Spidey's Looney Tunes persona. This is a villain who likes to play but has no interest in reforming or bedding down the Wall-Crawler--although this tradition is given a subversive twist at the end as a gut-busting crescendo.

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