Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #655

Wow, okay, remember when Spider-Man sucked? Yeah, I tried to forget it too. But then remember how Dan Slott took over writing and we got the awesomeness that is issue #648? Before now I was nervous that maybe it just seemed good in comparison to the baby-chasing, or that it was a fluke, it would drop off, or something somewhere would go wrong. But in my hands I hold one of the best issues of Amazing Spider-Man that I have ever read.

Comic Review: Amazing Spider-Man #655

This comic takes place after the Spider Slayer storyline where, as a result of Alistair Smythe's attacks, Marla Jameson died.

The first part of the comic has no dialogue whatsoever, and follows J. Jonah Jameson and Peter on the day of Marla's funeral. I was a bit wary at first with this artist, having never seen them draw something this substantial, but you'll see in a bit why I know they were a good choice. In this whole sequence, Jameson never changes his face, with a completely blank and apathetic look the whole time, but these panels still give you a real sense of what he's feeling.

That night, Peter goes to sleep, and what starts is one crazy dream sequence. (Oh, a lot of full page scans ahead. Can't limit this stuff to just a few panels.)

Uncle Ben leads Peter to his parents, who, when they turn to face him, are faceless. They and Uncle Ben's killer board a plane, saying, "Dead is dead Peter, it's all the same to us." Aunt May then starts walking up to the plane, and when Peter grabs her hand, it's Marla who looks back at him.

Following this is a mind-bending two page spread, showing every character who ever died in a Spider-Man comic. Slott and Martin (the artist) really did their research here, and it shows. This whole thing is just awesome.

The woman was an assassin named Charlemagne, and Wolverine's friend. She jumped in the middle of a fight between Spider-Man and Wolverine, taking a punch meant for Wolverine, and dying in the process. Peter says he never meant to kill her, or anyone.

And who shows up to refute that but the Green Goblin, holding Gwen Stacy. Both the Goblin and Gwen, showing a broken neck, taunt Peter about his inability to kill the Green Goblin. Gobby knocks Gwen off the bridge, and Peter reaches after her. Instead the hand of Kraven grabs his.

Now I just love this page, it really shows Peter's frustration at everything that's happened lately, which mirrors my frustration. I mean, they made him into a loser, everything went wrong, and they hardly showed any impact it had on him. Hell, it's gotta be hard being a comic book character, when people you're completely sure are dead come back to life for no reason, just to make your life a living hell.

Next, different heroes like the Punisher, Wolverine, Captain America, and the Sentry talk about how killing your villains is the only real way to deal with them. Sentry brings up the Joker paradox in regards to Carnage, in that every time you don't kill him, you just let him kill more people, so it's your fault they're dead.

We flash back to the hallway, the fateful moment as the crook runs by. Except this time, Peter grabs him and beats the ever loving shit out of him. Except, as we get a wider shot, it's not the crook that lies bloody and broken on the ground, but Uncle Ben. "This... This is how you kill me, Peter."

Peter starts awake, and swings to a water tower and takes off his mask. He makes a declaration that wherever he is, no one dies.

The next page shows a group a police cars, with Police Captain Watanabe talking through a megaphone, asking a guy with hostages why he did that, since he had never even given them demands.

The last page shows him and the many many barrels of explosives behind him.

First and foremost: I freaking love this issue. Sure, it's mostly just dream sequence, but I love it when we get a good look into the mind of our favorite webslinger. We can finally see just how the guilt affects him aside from making him fight crime. It's a poignant look that finally takes in all of Spider-Man continuity so far. How it would actually feel to have to fight the same people, that keep coming back over and over again. I'm really interested to see where this goes, and Slott is the writer to make this stuff work. Giving my approval, this is the W Defender!

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