Far out, Andrenn is reviewing Amazing Spider-man. So yeah, after a long rant about how Quesada basically killed a part of my soul with One More Day I tried reading Spider-man again with the New Ways to Die storyline but it was way too bogged down by crappy OMD references. Finally after the webhead has hit his 600th issue I decided to give it the old college try and pick up #601 with the return of the now infamous Mary Jane. Let’s see if I was right for expecting it to suck, or if I liked it.
Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Mario Alberti
Colors: Andres Mossa
Backup story: Brian Bendis
Backup Art: Joe Quesada
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After the events of #600 with Spider-Man and Human Torch taking on Dock Ock, J. Jonah Jameson (Oh, come on…it’s JJJ, take a wild guess what he’s doing after something Spider-man did. Go ahead. Take a wild guess and if you know this character, then you know damn well what he’s doing) thinks Doc Ock and Spidey are in cahoots (Surprise! How original for his character!) and tells the media to hate him even when they give evidence as to otherwise. He insists that Spidey is a menace. (Wow, what a great mayor. Forget about the economic problems, pot-holes in the city or crime rates just focus your entire man power on Spider-man. Who the F*** voted for him?)
Peter wakes up with a hang-over (and who says comics aren’t for kids? ) trying to remember what happened last night after MJ showed up. Peter gets drunk on 11 bottles of champagne and when he turns around he finds that he’s in bed with Michelle. He freaks out, she freaks out, she tells him to get out so he leaves. (I’ll take drunk one-night stand Spider-Man over 30 year old virgin)
Spider-Man thinks about how he should start a blog called Spiderfail.org (I’d write for it) while figuring that he’s screwed and out of a place to stay. All the while remembering that he and MJ scheduled a date but he blacks out as to when and where the date is as a thief shows up.
Spider-Man webs him up. The police get mad at how long it’s going to take them to get him out of the webbing. The newsstand owner is upset that Spider-Man’s webbing ruined the magazines. The police shout that he’s a menace as he swings off.
Peter thinks he can crash at Aunt May’s since she’s off on her wedding. He opens the door to find the Riley family (distant from May but meh, what can you do about family?) and they speak what I can only decipher as Irish of some kind and he soon runs off. When he goes to find Peter the apartment building door guy tells Peter that Harry moved out become of economic problems (Why? His father is Normaaaaah never mind….)
He goes to Betty but she just got a new roommate. All the while she reveals that Bennet is laying off people and is getting furious and shouting at everyone (it’s like Jonah never left) to keep working.
Spider-Man is swinging by when the empire state building catches fire and a massive fire stars. Spider-Man swings to the rescue and after breaking some pipes clears a path through the fire so the people can escape. After talking to the firefighters he remembers that he and MJ where to supposed to meet at Grand Central Station, he waits for her but she never shows up.
MJ wakes up later to find out she got so drunk and was up so late that she slept all day. She turns on the TV, sees the fire and how Spider-Man saved the people and says “Nice Work, Tiger” letting us assume she knows Peter is Spider-Man. (excuse me as I go kill a family of newborn ducks in my nerd rage)
Peter arrives home to find a plate of cookies for him made by Michelle. He happily starts eating and thinks to himself how he really could go for a cold glass of milk just for us to see the fridge is chained up with the note “sucker” on it.
In the backup story Spider-Man shows up at the New Avengers HQ (or the apartment as I call it) and he and Jessica Jones talk. They talk about how he was her inspiration, how he was so great to her as a kid and about his saying and how great it is. It ends with Spider-Man telling her that to be a good example for her kid she should become Jewel again. She smiles and thanks him as he goes off to join the other Avengers.
The Good: Much to my surprise I very much so enjoyed Amazing Spider-Man #601. After what’s been a year and a half of burning me and making me hate my childhood hero I may be warming up to the old webhead. That said this issue still had it’s fair amount of flaws and problems.
I have to first off say I am so glad we didn’t get any OMD pokes, though the final panel with MJ may have been one for now I’m going to try and not Nerd Rage Out and kill any innocent animals. The theory that this is just her talking about Peter’s photography on Spider-Man is what I’d rather it be but it may be an OMD poke to which I say “QUESAAAADDDAAA!”
Now I have to mention that beautiful cover by J. Scott Campbell. Not everyone likes how he almost always draws every woman with the same “perfect” body and chest size and build but I think it works well for MJ here. Sure it’s annoying when we have 4 women on the cover and they all look the same, but for just a solid image of MJ it works well.
I certainly loved Waid’s use of dialogue. None of it feels boring or uninteresting, it’s witty snappy and a lot of fun to read. While I haven’t read a lot of Mark Waid’s writing this was very impressive and he’s clearly a smart choice when it comes to writing Spider-Man.
I burst out laughing when Peter found Michelle in his bed. Especially his final line of why do they call it “getting Lucky?” I would have been rolling on the floor if my car seat had a big enough floor to do so.
The opening with Peter and Michelle waking up set the perfect tone of the comic. A light-hearted and fun romp that while may not have any major consequence was still a worthwhile and enjoyable story. It’s funny, witty and with a lot of charm but sadly not much else to really make it feel important or interesting.
I was glad that Waid didn’t give us too may MJ and have her everywhere in the comic making little poke after little poke like I was half expecting. Truth be told MJ was more like a silent element in the back of Peter’s mind rather than a main character in this story as she slept all day.
The running gag through this issue was Spider-Man looking for a new place to stay since he was sure Michelle would kick him out. It was hilarious really and it’s the perfect kind of little side-story to this one in done issue that felt like one story in a grander story (someone tell Todd McFarlane this is how you write a comic!)
It’s an interesting twist seeing how much the city has turned against Spider-man. I can’t tell if I like this twist or if I hate it since Spider-Man of all people doesn’t at all deserve all the hate. It’s like the city is being mad at him just to be a jerk as Jonah makes stuff up and they all just gullibly go along with him.
Then I realize that this is a pretty honest look at how people can be (no offense meant) that they’ll completely trust a leader so they blindly follow and believe no matter what. It’s simply them wanting to trust someone and for that it almost feels like some kind of society analysis. Though knowing my stupid over analyzing self it’s just the writers wanting to make Spider-Man have to deal with shit.
Kevin made this post when talking about my review at my blog but he’s right so I think it bears repeating. Amazing Spider-Man is a comic I can easily jump on and off and not get confused. Mostly since they brought back the Editor’s Notes (something that I was sad to see disappear after a while) which let me know what I may be missing like that Vin was in jail and that his sister was living there in his place.
I myself will probably jump on and off through Spider-Man, if a story interests me (the upcoming Black Cat story and Deadpool one-shot) then I can jump right on and that gives both this issue of Spider-Man as well as the entire series a major advantage over most comics out there that sometimes you may want to jump on with but you just can’t try as you might.
I have to talk about the back-up story as I could say I loved this issue if the main story was nothing but OMD pokes as long as I still could have read that incredible backup. While it’s only a few pages it’s handled so brilliantly that I’m surprised that Bendis isn’t at least one of the writers in the BND team.
It’s a heartfelt look at the lives of 2 people who hardly knew the other existed when they where kids but all because Peter was Spider-Man Jessica has this strong bond to him and it was really heartfelt and felt real and important and was incredibly interesting. While only a few pages it was even more enjoyable than the main story.
Albert was great on art even with his issues. I really have to credit his colorist just as much as the art is great and I love his unique style but what really brings it to life is the incredible coloring that gives it such amazing depth and makes it look great.
Of course I loved Quesada’s art, this has to be his best stuff yet making me hope he and Bendis team up more often now as he does a great job here and it looked amazing and the emotions where conveyed perfectly even when characters weren’t talking.
Overall for the good of this issue while I have enough to say on the bad both stories where well written and the art was very nicely done.
The Bad: This issue’s most fatal flaw had to be that it lacked anything really interesting or hooking me into reading more. Sure the dialogue was fun and the pacing was nice as it moved along at a good pace so that I never felt bored or that it dragged but none of that helps much when the plot is just downright uninteresting.
The plot has nothing about it that makes it feel important. Sure Peter is looking for a place but he was rather overreacting when Michelle was probably not that mad at him. He just assumes he’s out on the streets and while it was a funny running gag it was as close as we came to this issue having something even mildly important about it but even that is void when he gets home.
This is something that’s been bugging me for a long time but I really hate that Jonah is the mayor of New York. I guess it’s sort of a funny twist at first but now it’s just gotten ridiculous. I mean seriously, world’s worst mayor. How is it that hall he focuses on is Spider-Man and no one is pissed off or rioting against this idiot? I’d be pissed and holding a sign outside his office telling for him to quit (or as I call it, Palin-ing)
I mean how does no one notice that all he cares about is Spider-Man? I’d think someone on a news network would call him out on this or something. Maybe some internet bloggers hell if I know! Just come on, this is stupid even for comics.
I didn’t really like the plot that Spider-man saves a building from fire. It wasn’t a bad moment or anything but it was just so ordinary and mediocre that it felt like Spider-Man doing the Wednesday routine of saving a burning building. It wasn’t very exciting or interesting really.
While Alberti’s artwork was mostly great and the coloring was phenomenal I didn’t like some moments. He just had a few weird moments with his art like when Peter sees the Riley family they looked a little off.
While I was glad MJ wasn’t shoved down our throats and smacked into the comic out of nowhere I was hoping she’d show up at least a little more or something.
I’ve heard complaints that Spider-Man never drinks. This isn’t something I was well aware of but I can see how a lot of fans find it to be a major issue. Especially since he gets seriously drunk here so this definitely was out of character for him.
Overall: I liked this issue quite a bit. It had it’s fair share of flaws but for what I was expecting of it I was very impressed and I look forward to checking out what is in store for me next week. While I won’t be reading Spider-Man on a regular basis for this fan it seems like the wall crawler is finally on a path to redemption and becoming one of the best comics out there again.