Current Reviews


Amazing Spider-Man #543

Posted: Tuesday, August 28, 2007
By: Ariel Carmona Jr.

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: Ron Garney (p),

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot: Following an assassination attempt which left his Aunt May in a coma, Peter Parker is a desperate man. As the authorities investigate Mayís condition, Peter is forced to take drastic measures.

Comments: Amazing Spider-Man continues to be one of the best reads in Marvel's stable of comics. The latest issue continues the momentum Straczynskiís built up since the Civil War tie-ins.

Ever since Peter unmasked in Civil War #2, Marvelís Spider-Man flagship title has been one stunning development after the other. I wasnít reading the title until then, but I havenít missed an issue since, and the quality hasnít waned. This isnít to say that there havenít been flaws or that some plot points havenít made much sense. For example, the confrontation between Peter and the Kingpin was a bit of a letdown. How could it have been anything else? Spidey may be wearing his dark suit, but the reader knows that Parker isnít a murderer or a vigilante like the Punisher and we all knew he wouldnít end up killing the Kingpin. Yet, itís been interesting to read how the events of ďBack in BlackĒ have pushed Parker almost to the breaking point.

Another strange point which has probably been commented on ad nauseam in other reviews but which bears repetition is the fact that Spider-Manís excuse for donning his old black suit is flimsy. Straczynski and Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada conveniently forget, or choose to ignore, the reason Spidey ditched his black threads in the first place following the events of Amazing Spider-Man #300 and beyond. Mainly, Mary Jane is terrified of it because it reminded her so much of Venom. Be that as it may, one could make the point that MJ has been too preoccupied with her vigil of a comatose aunt May to notice. Despite the somewhat misleading cover, events in this comic push Parkerís desperation almost to the brink. And even though some of the events in this comic feel like a retread due to the fact Aunt May previously died in Amazing Spider-Man #400 and then was brought back by Marvel, long time readers canít help to be touched by Peterís strong bond with his aunt and by Peterís one way conversation with May which opens this story.

Another disturbing plot point is the fact this story appears to occur in a vacuum from other events taking place in the Marvel universe. The Hulk is on a rampage with his Warbound brothers tearing apart Manhattan. How can the Hulk have taken on the New Avengers including Spidey and defeated them while Spider-Man is busy trying to figure out how to save May? Spider-Man is also running around with the New Avengers in the titel written by Bendis. I guess this should not bug me as much, since other top tier characters like Wolverine also seem to be everywhere at once, but it does.

Straczynski has done a great job of revving up the action and the consequences to Peterís actions each and every issue. Garney has also grown on me as an artist over the course of the current story arc. Following the footsteps of John Romita Jr. and the other great artists who have worked on this title has been no easy feat, but I think Garney has been up to the challenge.

Final Word: I was simultaneously riveted and horrified by Peterís actions this issue, but also they are very understandable. He is mostly reacting now and is trying not to let things get in the way of saving his world which is slowing crumbling all around him once more. This is a fantastic way to lead into ďOne More DayĒ and also a great way for Straczynski to end his run on the webslingerís main title and to turn Peter into everything heís always fought against: A criminal. Prior to Civil War, Straczynskiís plots were lackluster at best, but he leaves the book in good shape.

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