Saturday, May 12, 2007

Amazing Spiderman #540 review

This review contains plot details of the comic in question. Spoiler warning is out of habit only, as anyone who hasn't lived under a rock for the last twenty years has already read this story.

This issue of Batman Spiderman opens with him worried about the fate of his lover aunt, who was shot by a sniper. Batman Spiderman follows up on his only clue, an expensive sniper scope used by the shooter. He beats up several arms dealers, before finally finding the one he knows has the name he's looking for. As an interrogation technique, he throws the gunrunner out a window and catches him with a batrope web right before he hits the ground.

Getting the information he needs, Spidey tracks down the sniper to Grand Central Station, and finds him by provoking a gunfight. In a crowded train station.

Good plan, there.

Somehow during the course of the fight, Spidey and his target move down the stairs from the station to one of the platforms, allowing for a punch up among the pillars a la The Matrix. This movement isn't shown in the art, we simply see Spidey punching the sniper with emotionally intense washed colors behind them.

Suddenly, and without tripping the spider-sense (maybe they borrowed tech from Iron Man), someone guns down Peter's opponent and makes a break for it. Batman Spiderman throws a tracking device on the gunman as he runs away.

Spidey stays with the sniper and waxes poetic about the symmetry of his Aunt's attacker being shot, probably on orders from the same person. It's long and boring and then the sniper dies. Then Spidey hares off after the tracking device and arrives just in time to discover that the man who ordered his Aunt's death is Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin. As the readers have known this since 4 or 5 issues ago, this is really anticlimactic. The issue ends with a death threat to the Kinpin uttered by our Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman.

I probably made my point already, but this is a Batman script. Aunt May being shot aside, black costume irrelevant. This. Is. Not. Spiderman.

In addition, it's a Batman script from 1974. The revenge angle is really, really played out. It's just dull now.

Another fun aspect of this is the continuity. In New Avengers, Spidey's hiding out with the rest of the team, sneaking about and living in the Sanctorum of Dr. Strange. The team hesitates to go out, because the thunderbolts and SHIELD are hounding them. In ASM, Spidey's biggest complications are a couple of cops here and there as he bops around Manhattan.

I could go on, but it's really just frustrating now. Marvel, get Stracinsky off ASM ASAP. When Spiderman was truer to character in New Avengers than he was in his own book, it should have been a clue. Here's hoping for a fresh start and a better writer in ASM #550.

1 comment:

Mister Speed said...

I wish I could move your post above mine, but I want to be clear that even though I elucidated other points, I totally agree with pretty much everything that you said. It is a Batman story, and an unoriginal one at that.