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Amazing Spider-Man #504

Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2004
By: Ray Tate



"The Coming of Chaos"

Writers: Fiona Avery and Michael Stracznyski
Artists: John Romita Jr.(p), Scott Hanna(i), Matt Milla(c)
Publisher: Marvel

The second chapter of "Chasing a Shadow" in Amazing Spider-Man spins a web of zany enjoyment that easily ensnares the reader. This chapter in fact exceeds the rather lackluster promise of the opening. If the very first page does not make you laugh, you need to see a doctor about a transfusion of humors.

Loki and Spidey have teamed-up to take down Morwen, no mean sorceress. Avery and Stracznyski take pleasure in the interaction between the two characters, and they imbue that elan to the pages. The dialogue between Loki and Spidey is lively, and the banter is worth reading a second and third time, which is saying much given that the story is not really as epic in proportion. You really do not expect such precision in craft for what is essentially a monster-of-the-week story. Such skill should be apparent in any comic book that you pick up, but to actually find it is surprising.

Avery and Stracznyski do not only confine the snappiness to Spidey's speech balloons. Loki while still verily speaking in the antique still makes for a good verbal sparring partner. In addition to the witty dialogue, Avery and Stracznyski strengthen the trickster themes as well as the overall mythological form of storycrafting. Like many myths, this story ends up with one entity owing another a favor.

Colluding on the freewheeling trickster team-up, John Romita sketches apart from impressive magic battle sequences that bear a Ditko sense of design hilarious moments that recall one of Spidey's inspirations.

Spidey's lank departure from previous looks mimics the rubbery limbs of a certain "Wascily Wabbit." His quick movements within the panels ape the cartoon speed of his trickster cousin. The nod to Bugs becomes even more apparent in a scene involving Spidey and Loki's "magic helmet." This is sheer Warner Brothers toony delight.

The creative team of Amazing Spider-Man do not even seem to be trying very hard, yet they achieve more fun and intelligence in this story than whatever hyped up nonsense happens to be on the comic book news radar.



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