Written by: Gary M. Kenny, CC2K Comics Editor
Just like many readers, I am a big fan of John Romita Jr. I loved his art direction on his last run with old Webhead and his epic take on Wolverine (volume 2 Issues #20-31) so I’d be modest if I didn’t write: I am way too excited with picking up this week’s Amazing Spider-Man for his drawings alone. You know that feeling when you read an epic first issue of a book and all you want to do is read it again (but you don’t because you still have other comics to read and when you glance over at your unread weekly pile you frown, knowing that there isn’t another gem like this one)? Well after many up and down issues of Amazing, we finally get our hands on what looks to be a colossal run by John Romita Jr and Dan Slott. And I get to stop frowning when I read Amazing Spider-Man!
Writer – Dan Slott
Pencis – John Romita JR.
Inks – Klaus Janson
Colors – Dean White
Letters – VC’s Cory Petit
Cover A – John Romita JR.
Cover B – Alex Ross
B-side story: Fifth Stage
Writer – Mark Waid
Artist – Adi Granov
Letters – VC’s Cory Petit
This comic starts with the retelling of Spidey’s famous origin, then informs the newer readers up on what’s happening in the now. They give you a page of quick overviews of Spidey’s new rogues gallery and what Peter’s livelihood is like. After those four quick pages, the story starts with a splash page of Spider-Man drop kicking his new goblin foe: Menace. It may sound weird but having JRJR drawing Spidey again made the story stand out more. I started enjoying Amazing again and it’s been a few months since I have. I guess his artwork was the familiar something I needed in order to get me back into this title. When I saw JRJR’s version of Menace, I forgot this story was going to be about Venom and I became ready to read something new and different in Spider-Man. I guess I should reread "Brand New Day" without that chip on my shoulder; maybe I’ll enjoy it more?
This arc is going to mix our favorite old time Spidey villains: Green Goblin, Venom, Scorpion, with the Brand New Day bunch: Menace, Mr. Negative, the Bookie. Hence the title: "New Ways to Die" and this crossing of villains will produce and introduce Anti-Venom. JRJR gets a lot of characters to draw and Dan Scott does an excellent job with the script. Each character has an equal amount of screen time so that new readers can be acquainted with them. Scott even delivers a lot of dialogue with important information in this comic, which never gets confusing. Sometimes in big stories such as this, there is way too much going on. Dan Scott really stepped it up and made it so all the characters are some what related to the plot of the piece, making everyone very important and very interesting. There is even a cool Matt Murdock cameo.
Peter gets a new job at Ben Urich’s Front Line newspaper when he takes some “pulitzer-worthy” pictures of a New York sweatshop that is owned by mayoral candidate Randall Crowne. These pictures lead Spider-Man in a mess of trouble for three reasons. First, Peter just upset a very powerful man, Randall Crowne and now’ he’s made a new enemy, a political enemy. We also discover that Randall Crowne is a friend of Normal Osborn and when Crowne mentions Parker’s name, well Osborn states that he’d solve Mr. Crowne’s pest problem. Secondly, now that Osborn is involved so are his Thunderbolts: Venom, Bullseye, etc. Before, Osborn never got the full go ahead to grab the Spider (maybe Iron-man was protecting him?), but now he does and that means he’s possibly going to Goblin bomb his ass with every new resource he has. Lastly, Peter’s new pictorial did so well that it pissed off his ex-boss, Dexter Bennet. Who is also a friend of mayoral candidate Randall Crowne. Dexter Bennet wants to ruin Paker’s credit so he hires Betty Brant to investigate the other mayoral candidate Martin Li (aka Mr. Negative) in order to find out if there are any scandalous happenings. This is a big break for Betty, but she can’t find any dirt. She only discovers that Martin Li is a wonderful man. He has May Parker working in his campaign office and he even hired cancer survivor and ex-murderer Eddie Brock to help him run his soup kitchen. Eddie was miraculously cured of his illness by Mr. Negative’s healing power. However, Eddie does not know this and it is hinted that Eddie will turn into the new character Anti-Venom.
Okay got all that? I won’t ruin the last splash page cause it’s a great treat. I plead that they make this Spidey book come out weekly just so I can have my fix. As filler, there is a small Eddie Brock story in the back, which shows what he has been up to and how he’s been dealing with cancer. Back in the mid 90s, Venom was so big that they made him a superhero and not a villain. Then they made him repent and tear away from Venom. He sold his suit off to the Scorpion, Brock could then die knowing that he was alien free and maybe then god would forgive him. So there is a good in him and in this small story, we see that again. But the Marvel way is to have a monster always be a monster, so stop teasing us with this ray of light and just show us the true Eddie Brock, the savage alien creature that he is.
If you read some of my Spider-Man reviews, you’d see I bash the hell out of it. I’m repenting because Marvel gave me something I could really enjoy. It mixes the old with the new in a way I’m accustomed to. Now kick the crap out of Spidey, get Green Goblin meet Menace and finally debut Anti-Venom so we can have that crazy match up. Now only if they reunited the venom suit with Peter Parker again… wait Marvel just might.
4.5 out of 5.
Gary is a husband, father, fireman, comic reader, gamer, body builder, and rocker. He also is a co-owner of a bakery in upstate NY. He likes to tell everyone his favorite band is the Beatles, when his actual favorite band is the Alkaline Trio.