Current Reviews


Amazing Spider-Man #538

Posted: Monday, February 26, 2007
By: Ariel Carmona Jr.

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: Ron Garney (p), Bill Reinhold (i), Matt Milla (colors)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Story: While someone is targeting Spider-Man's family for assassination, the webslinger is embroiled in the final battle of the Civil War. The Kingpin of crime watches the proceedings in his cell along with the rest of New York City. Peter returns from the fray only to witness a monumental life altering event.

Comments: I've said it before, and I will say it one more time, Amazing Spider-Man has been one of the best Civil War tie-in books on the stands, and this chapter of the saga proves to be no exception. It's intriguing to see how the events of the big event have personally affected our favorite webslinger, and this issue wraps up Peter Parker's involvement in the conflict in explosive fashion. I didn't really follow many of the Spider-Man books regularly, especially AS-M since around the time Morlun made his first appearance. Part of the problem had been that the narratives had become stale and Straczynski had not done anything to pull me in, but all of that changed since Parker unmasked following Civil War #2. That's when AS-M became a must read with each compelling installment.

Ron Garney's work on this title continues to impress; he's not as flashy as other artists under Marvel's employ, but he does manage to capture both facial expressions and action sequences with equal ease. Also, colorist Matt Milla must be given his props because he manages to infuse a title which has been featuring some pretty dark themes of late with a vibrant, exciting look. The two page spread which focuses on the events taking place over in the main title (mainly the huge battle between Cap's forces and Iron Man's gang) was simply spectacular.

It must have been a tricky endeavor to craft an issue referencing the outcome of the final Civil War battle without giving too much away, but Straczynski manages to pull it off. Though this issue suffers from an extreme case of Marvel's recurring malaise, panelitis (an excessive amount of huge eye popping panels), there is enough of a balance between story and the visual elements to carry the story forward towards the shocking conclusion. They say the small things sometimes make all the difference, and I think one can make the case of that here. I cite these examples: The Hustler magazine spread across the floor of the would be assassin's filthy room, and Aunt May's attempt to calm Mary Jane's apprehension over Peter going missing following the big battle. The small nuances are what make this comic stand out above some more mediocre offerings, that and the fact an interesting story has kept us clamoring for the next installment.

Final Word: Through most of this year and last year I have preferred to get my dose of Spidey from titles such as Friendly Neighborhood penned by Peter David, accentuated by that writer's sharp wit and unusual flights of fancy, Amazing has been a good read since the beginning of Civil War and has only gotten better with every subsequent issue. The big question remains: Will the title revert to a subpar offering following the event or will it pick up strength and momentum as a result of its aftermath? Only time will tell.

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