Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Artists: Mike Deodato (p), Joe Pimentel (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: “The Other” storyline continues. Spiderman swings around town on his way to pick up his paycheck and remarks how everything seems sweeter when you know you don’t have long to live. Morlun shows up and he begins to beat the crap out of the webslinger. The end?
Commentary: Well, there’s actually more to it than that, but in essence this is a battle heavy issue designed to further the idea that Morlun is the one unshakeable, relentless foe which Spidey cannot beat. I went back and re-read issues #474-475 of Amazing Spider-Man (renumbered #34-35 by Marvel’s not so bright continuity brass) as penciled by Romita Jr. and scripted by Straczynski after reading this issue and found whereas I really liked those issues, I didn’t like this one as much. Maybe it was the fact I prefer Romita’s pencils to Deodato Jr’s more somber style, but it also seems that the original tussle with the vampiric, energy siphoning Morlun relied more on the idea he was going to feed off Spidey and Ezekiel’s energy and less on graphic, gratuitous violence. Action in the context of good storytelling always trumps action for action’s sake, and whereas Straczynski’s story relied on great pacing and featured some good writing, (Spidey calling Aunt May in case he never saw her again) Hudlin’s story reads like a bad retread. Not that it’s all negative, there are some redeeming points to the comic, most notably Spidey’s quips during the battle and the fact he acknowledges the irony behind taking Morlun to the place where Spiderman was born, and where he may eventually die. The thing is, you root for Spidey because like the introduction says, if he’s going down, he’s going to go down the only way he can: swinging, but although the resolution to the original Morlun saga served a positive dual purpose, that of telling an interesting story and adding a new layer to Aunt May’s and Pete’s relationship when she finds out his secret identity, the conclusion to this issue and the teaser page found in the back which previews the next three chapters hint at the ominous possibility that Straczynski and company plan to “hatch” a variation of what occurred during the “Disassembled” storyline in Spectacular Spiderman last year, and that is not a savory concept.
In The End: Though I was resolved to read this arc after the eventual trade saw print, I could not resist picking this issue up, if only to add Deodato’s cool blue tinted cover (thought at first I thought that was Logan clutching at Spidey until I remembered it was part of “The Other” storyline) to my Spidey collection, but it remains to be seen whether Marvel’s through tinkering with their flagship hero. When will they ever learn: if it ain’t broke…?
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!