Comic Book Review: Amazing Spider-Man #543

It is no secret how much The Revolution has thoroughly detested this unbelievably horrid story arc that we are getting on Amazing Spider-Man. Luckily, this terrible story arc should be coming to an end since Amazing Spider-Man #543 is the final installment of this five part story arc. I cannot wait to get JMS off this title and to get all these lousy stories behind us. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Amazing Spider-man #543.

Creative Team
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Penciler: Ron Garney
Inker: Bill Rienhold

Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 1 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 2.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Peter at Aunt May’s bedside. We cut to the nurse on duty taking some of Aunt May’s blood and getting a report done on the analysis of the blood. Peter manages to get his hands on the blood test report and is upset. Evidently, Aunt May has built up an immunity to his spider-blood and that the transfusion he conducted isn’t going to do anything for Aunt May.

We then see a priest arrive and ask Peter and MJ if they had gotten the funeral plans together and if they know what May’s last wishes are.

We cut to the police station where a cop named Delint gets assigned May’s police file. The cop is to investigate this supposed “drive-by” shooting case.

We hop back to Peter and MJ at Aunt May’s hospital room. Peter is mad at the priest for suggesting that they prepare for the possibility of May dying. MJ asks Peter what religious service would May want. What did May believe in. Peter responds that May believed in him and that belief may have cost May her life. Peter asks how can he live with that?

We slide outside the hospital room where the cop, Delint, is talking to the nurse on duty about May. The nurse says that she thinks May’s niece brought her here under an old last name and that it was probably the niece’s husband who shot May and that the niece is trying to cover it up. The nurse says that they also discovered a sudden increase in a radioactive toxin in May’s blood. That the niece probably snuck her boyfriend in to try and finish off May by poisoning her.

The cop then enters May’s hospital room and tells MJ to come with him to the police station. Peter then appears and tells the cop to unhand MJ. Peter then punches out the cop. Peter realizes that he is quickly becoming a criminal just like the people he has fought in his entire career as Spider-Man.

Peter then continues his crime spree by stealing an ambulance. Peter then steals some surgical scrubs and impersonates a doctor. MJ then steals some transfer papers from the nurses’ station during a code blue emergency.

Peter then puts Aunt May on a gurney and covers her up like she is a corpse and wheels her out of the hospital and into the stolen ambulance. Peter and MJ then arrive at another hospital where Peter poses as a doctor and presents the transfer papers that he forged. The new hospital is full of patients, but they go ahead and admit May anyway.

MJ asks Peter what is going to happen to them. MJ asks when all of this is going to end. Peter responds that he doesn’t know, but that he can’t stop fighting for May or for MJ. Peter says he is going to drop the ambulance off somewhere far away so they can’t track them. Then, MJ and Peter will plane their next move.

Peter leaves the hospital thinking about the nine felony counts that he has just committed in the past hour. And that these felonies were committed by Peter Parker and not Spider-Man. That Peter’s fingerprints are all over everything. That Peter has become everything that he set out to fight. A criminal.

Peter thinks how he is trapped in a nightmare and that he feels so lost. End of issue.

The Good: What the hell? That was the big ending to this ridiculously too long five issue story arc? There is no way that I can follow The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity with this issue. There were truly no redeeming qualities to Amazing Spider-Man #543. Let’s see, well, the two panels where Peter attacks the cop were well drawn and looked cool. All right, that’s all I’ve got, people.

The Bad: Amazing Spider-Man #543 was truly a craptacular issue. This was a fitting end to what has been a completely horrendous story arc. This issue was terribly paced and miserably plotted. This is yet another incredibly slow, pointless, boring and rambling story. This entire story arc has been a meandering mess that has lacked much purpose or direction.

Once again, not much happens in this issue. Peter and MJ’s plan does get exposed by the cops which causes them to switch hospitals. That’s it. Yay. How exciting. We get treated to the same tired dialogue and inner monologue that we have gotten over and over again over the past four issues. It is beyond repetitious. We also get the same over the top and ham handed scenes that are supposed to be emotional and poignant, but just come off overacted and cheesy.

And what makes Amazing Spider-Man #543 even more of a lousy read is that there is no payoff at the end. We have been forced to slog our way through a dull, slow, meandering, overly dramatic and repetitious story arc for an incredible five issues. That is a long story arc. And for what? To find out that these past five issues have been nothing more than a set up for “One More Day” story arc? That these past five issues have been nothing more than a teaser? A mere lead in? That is fucking insane. What a total waste of five issues. What a total waste of time and money.

This five issue story arc could have been easily done in two issues. First issue, Kingpin has May shot. Peter beats up Kingpin and threatens to kill him if May dies. Second issue, Peter’s blood transfusion doesn’t work. May still in a coma. End of two issue story arc. Now we can move on to what appears to be the real meat of the story which is this “One More Day” four issue story arc. It is a joke that this story arc has lasted five issues.

Honestly, can Loki just show up and pay back his debt to Peter and hit the re-start button on this title to about a year or two ago?

Other than the two panels where Peter attacks the cop, Garney and Reinhold’s artwork is incredibly drab and uninteresting. The story is boring enough, but when combined with rather dull artwork it serves to make this title an even more unbearable read.

Overall: It is only fitting that a story arc as lousy as this one would have an ending as lame as what we got in Amazing Spider-Man #543. It is practically mind boggling how bad this five issue story arc has been. I have no idea who would enjoy this story arc. I imagine that only hardcore JMS fans or hardcore Spider-Man fans would enjoy this issue. I definitely wouldn’t recommend Amazing Spider-Man to anyone else.


  1. “Peter thinks how he is trapped in a nightmare”

    What a coincidence. I felt exactly the same way when I skimmed through this issue in the comic shop!

    I had completely forgotten about Loki’s appearance in ASM a few years back. That story was one of the high points of JMS’s run. Yeah, since it was set up previously that Loki owes Spider-Man a favor, it does give Marvel a “get out of jail free” card to resolve this whole story. Good thinking, Rokk.

  2. Ah yes, Rokk we all know your aversion to the current ASM arc runs deep, but again I have to disagree with you. I for one, thought that ASM #543 was good, although I do agree with you that maybe it could have been cut to 3 or less issues. However, there were some good aspects to the issue: Not all the dialogue was bad or cheesy. The opening scene with Peter and May I thought was particularly effective in conveying the necessary emotions and in illustrating how important May is to Peter’s life. Also, I am not as down on Garney’s artwork as you seem to be. He would not be my first choice to illustrate this comic, and he had big shoes to fill following on John Romita’s heels, but I’ve grown to like his style.
    Lastly, I don’t think the ending was all that bad, it serves to set up “One More day” yes, but it also conveys how deep a hole Parker has fallen, all consequences of his unmasking, and how he’s reacting to things he can’t control. These elements of the story I found particularly interesting.

  3. If I was J. Michael Straczynski I would be might pissed off about the whole thing. Here you spend six years of your life on a comic, and then you find out that not only are they going to undo everything you did, but they’re going to make your last arc nothing more than a lead in to having all your work being re-conted.

    See though, if it were me and I knew that whatever I wrote was’nt going to have any lasting effect, I’d go all out.

    1) Aunt May recovers through the blood tranfusion, gets spiderman’s power and starts a superhero temas like “The Golden Age Girls” or the “Geriatric Avengers” Saving the world before 5:30

    2) Flash fianlly admits to Peter that all the bullying was a cover for the love that dare not speak it’s name. Peter hangs up his wbs and the tow move to vermont to open a bed and breakfest. (Bonus: it also sloves the Peter/MJ marriage problem)

    3) MJ does what all washed up actors do and gets a job at the CW.

  4. First there were rumors that the Skrulls might be the re-set button on NA and now this on Spider-Man, why would we even be bothered to invest emotionally in “Back in Black” if they play the Loki card in the end?

  5. Peter parker <>leaving fingerprints<>?!!
    I mean, with a hospital full or rubber globes? in his long crime-fighting career Parker sure must have learned about criminals being identified from their fingerprints…

    There was a time in which Peter was a bright Sciences student. I mean, for all the human weaknesses he had (and which made him endearing to te readers) Parker had brains.

    When Matt Murdock can beat the Kingpin without even putting his finger on him, in the classy way we saw in Brubaker’s daredevil #9, Spidey barely seems able to do anything else than beating the fatso to pulp as in a brainless schoolyard fight. The thing that made the confrontation between Murdock and Fisk in DD #93 so memorable, was that Brubaker very ably conveyed that, for all their mutual hatred, both men sort of respected each other as foes, even if only for Vanessa’s sake: that’s the chess-playing of masters. JMS just used the Kingpin as he could have used the Rhino: just went for the fisticuffs.

    Bring back Parker’s brain’s. Please

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