Current Reviews


Amazing Spider-Man #514

Posted: Wednesday, December 1, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell

"Sins Past, Part Six"

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: Mike Deodato (p), Joe Pimentel (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

With Gwen's daughter lying in the hospital in desperate need of a blood transfusion, we see her brother is busy heading down the path of becoming the next Green Goblin, as he discovers one of Norman's hidden lairs, and inexplicably injects himself with the madness inducing goblin serum. Meanwhile, Gwen's daughter is saved by a blood transfusion from Spider-Man, whose irradiated blood is suddenly able to counteract the harmful effects of the goblin serum.

I realize that this claim could be made about everything that has ever been written, but it truly feels like J. Michael Straczynski is making the story up as he goes, and that his entire writing process on this arc consists of coming up with a corner to back his cast into and than simply grabbing at the first idea that springs to mind when it comes time to resolve his manufactured crisis. Now I could come up with a laundry list of examples that have taken place over this arc, but since I'm not looking to repeat comments that I've made in previous reviews, I'll limit myself to the ones that J. Michael Straczynski so kindly offers up in this issue. I mean he comes up with a seemingly impossible situation where Gwen's daughter is dying if she doesn't receive a blood transfusion from a person whose blood has played host to the goblin serum, and the ticking clock element tells us Spider-Man has one hour to find a solution. However, after setting up the crisis, J. Michael Straczynski's solution is to have Spider-Man offer up his own blood, which in turn sets up an extremely cheesy situation where Spider-Man and the Green Goblin battle for control of the young woman's blood supply. We also get the laughable scene where Gwen's son discovers Norman is the Green Goblin, the man who killed his mother, and naturally his reaction to this news is to inject himself with a mysterious serum that a video recording of Norman claims will cure him of his rapid ageing problem. It's never a good thing when a character's behaviour is directly influenced by the needs of the story.

Mike Deodato turns in some nice work on the scene where the new Green Goblin attacks Spider-Man, as there's a nice sense of motion to this sequence, and the scene where the villain is blown clear of his exploding glider made for a powerful visual. The art also does a nice job of selling the emotions of the characters, as Mary Jane's concern for her husband is nicely reflected on her face, and the scene where she secretly holds his hand while the doctor delivers the dire news was a surprisingly effective moment. There's also a nice visual sequence where the brother's transformation into an insane villain, is contrasted by the sister's redemption via Spider-Man's blood transfusion, as while I found the scene inherently silly, the art does an effective job of selling the idea to readers. I do have to say I wasn't overly impressed by the new Green Goblin's look though, as it's simply a washed out version of the original, which to my mind is not exactly an impressive display of imagination.

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