Current Reviews


Amazing Spider-Man #503

Posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2004
By: Tim Hartnett

Writers: Fiona Avery and J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: John Romita Jr. and Scott Hanna

Publisher: Marvel

Traditionally, Spider-Man is not a character who meshes well with magic. At least to me, he's always been the grounded, average human with superpowers by accident, and works best when this is the focus of the book. J. Michael Straczynski's decision to take the book in a magical direction does nothing to advance the character and is best left on the shelves where it belongs.

It's not the magic that's the problem, though. My big theory is: it's not what you write, but how you write it. This could've easily been a clever slugfest with Spidey in an inescapable situation, and how he uses his smarts to outthink some sorcerer. But no, we have to write this to hype some upcoming miniseries I keep hearing about, which has more to do with the writer than the character. The writer over the character!? At Marvel!? Never…

So what it all comes down to is to an issue which comes off as more of a parody with its poorly written dialogue and unneeded drama involving the victim, and there's little in the way of an exciting plot to keep things moving. That's not to mention the humor that's more funny in its execution than it is its receipt. Apparently, there's some sorceress on Earth whose very dangerous and Loki wants to know why. That's. about. it.

Over on the artistic side, the most overrated artist in the history of the comics medium continues his celebrated run on the book. The wiry anatomy, erratic technique, and lots of vertical lines leave the art as uninspiring and unengaging as the story itself. However, there's a nice little picture on page five, panel six, which I swear was drawn by John Romita Sr. himself…I can wish, can't I?

It's not that this is hopelessly unsophisticated or anything, it's just horrible. Appalling. Severely dreadful. Stay away.

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