Current Reviews


Amazing Spider-Man #501

Posted: Saturday, November 29, 2003
By: Ray Tate

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

J. Michael Straczynski takes a breather from the storyarc for this issue of Amazing Spider-Man. The stand alone narrated by Aunt May will surprise no faithful fan, but the finale still feels quite moving.

Through May's eyes, the reader sees how Spidey is so well known in Manhattan as well as M.J.'s devotion to her husband. These scenes are warm and sexy without crossing the PG rating. Some censorship however does seem to be involved in a particular playful panel between Pete and Mary Jane. I didn't see it as necessary, but it does not change the meaning behind the moment. The presumed censorship just looks silly and of course is unnecessary. M.J. wearing a top and blocking the view of her breasts with a pair of Friends-sized mugs seems redundant.

As well as depictions of wedded bliss and an amusing comeuppance for an every day jackass, Mr. Straczynski weaves a fun little free-for-all between Spidey and a loser villain clad in a really powerful suit. The Shaker is not an a-list, b-list or even d-list rogue, but Mr. Straczynski still manages to make him a threat through the power of the suit.

Normally such a loon would not engender such a favorable response. He does threaten Spidey's welfare and the welfare of innocents, but his comedic value far out weighs his strength as a criminal. His presence allows for Spidey to sling not only webbing but repartee, concoct a Looney-Tunes inspired counterattack that Mr. Romita times perfectly and administers a coup de grace through his understanding of science.

This issue of Amazing Spider-Man covers all facets of the Wall-Crawler. It makes for new readers a good starting point while still entertaining those already caught in Spidey's web.

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