Saturday, February 12, 2011

Amazing Spider-Man #654 – A Review

Spidey saved the week…Really. I had gotten a HUGE (huge for me anyway) stack of comics this week and I was very anxious to read several books right away. I must have plowed through four of them Wednesday night and they all seemed to disappoint in some way:

SpongeBob – Not very funny (waiting for the kids review);

Flash – made me realize how frustrating people get with Barry Allen all the time, because this issue was S…L…O…W. Plus, the big reveal at the end left me colder than Leonard Snart;

Next Men – Well, if you read the issue you can probably guess, which scenes I didn’t like. I also thought it was a mistake to make the reader a distant observer of the three time-lost characters – took me out of the story;

Thunderstrike – Actually, pretty good, but I couldn’t handle the lightning mohawk.

Of course, after attending two two-hour meetings that day, I was bleary-eyed by the time I was reading these, so that may have contributed to my overall malaise.

However, Thursday night was totally different and I really, really enjoyed ASM #654. Even though some of the impact was lost on me, because I had inadvertently flipped to the back of the book to look at the Venom backup and saw Jonah holding Marla in his arms.

I thought it was a nice twist that Peter’s boss, didn’t really think he was Spider-Man, only that he was helping Spidey with his “Tech”. It’s a reasonable conclusion to make for a super-genius and it keeps the secret ID tensions going a little longer. Plus, it gives Peter even more flexibility.

I generally don’t like to see long-standing characters killed off, but it was nice to see Marla in action developing her own defense against the Spider-Slayers, especially since that’s how she started out back in the day, which I had forgotten about. Even knowing how it was going to end, I still thought her death was more emotional than the Human Torch’s. Jonah has the potential to really grow as a character from this tragedy.

I didn’t expect Smythe to be able to come back so quickly from Peter’s Bioelectric Magnetic Pulse, which was really cool by the way. Peter has had people bypass his spider-sense in the past, but I don’t know if it’s ever been turned off like this before. Seeing how he adjusts should make for some interesting stories,

I still don’t like the Phil Urich/Hobgoblin plot, but I think Shawn is on to something about him being an anti-Peter. Really the only thing about this series since the start of BIG TIME, which really “bugs” me (not counting MJ honing in on his new girlfriend relationship) is the frequency of the title! I mean it comes out almost weekly! I thought they were slowing down the publishing some, but it’s got to be a large drain on my budget!

Now, the backup with Venom was really terrific too. I totally dug Flash Thompson being the new host for the symbiote. It has a whole Six Million Dollar Man vibe to it, having the alien replace his missing legs, and since I’m currently watching Season Two of that classic show, I’m automatically predisposed toward the concept. It also makes sense that they would use someone who loves Spider-Man to help counteract the hatred the symbiote has for Spidey. The sequence where Flash wonders why he can’t be called “Spider-man” was very funny. “There’re two Hulks, Two Caps, Why can’t there be two…” The fact that this is a limited and possibly fatal assignment has great potential. Will he be bonded to the symbiote or addicted to having the extra abilities? How will it affect his relationship with Betty? Will it make it even harder for him to go back to being disabled? Plus, they have a natural out for switching hosts down the road. For something that was totally not on my radar, I’m very interested in checking out his series now.

GRADE A: I’m enjoying mainstream Spider-man again. I didn’t think that would ever happen. Nuff Said.


  1. Well, since I don't read or collect comics anymore, I'm totally lost. However, as always, your descriptions made me want to start collecting again. Now I just need to make room in my budget- lol (man, it's hard to believe that paper and ink can cost so much!).

    - Alan

  2. What was the Next Men scene you didn't like?? I'm enjoying the series so far, altho' it is definitely going way out on a limb using the Slave South and the Holocaust...i'm really intrigued to see where this storyline goes. How will this all come back together? - Urthona

  3. I didn't care for the Shakespearean "love" scene. It certainly could've been much more graphic (thankfully it wasn't), but it was still more than I personally want to see in my comics.

    Other than that, the story was still interesting, but having us see the time-lost storylines by watching that other character (sorry, I'm still not up on everyone's name) see them as an outside observer made me think of their plight as less "real". I was much more drawn into it last issue.

    Oh, and while I'm on my prudish soapbox, I'd really like to see some more coverage on Dejah Thoris in Warlord of Mars! Is helium what she's "inflated" with? Joe Jusko still is rocking on the covers though.

  4. Dejah Thoris has always been scantily clad from the very beginning of the character.

    Not surprisingly, you and I come from different perspectives in this area. I want to see more of the human body in sexual situations. It's unrealistic to not have naked people in naked people situations. And you might be surprised to discover that seeing a character walking around naked isn't particularly titilating when that character isn't engaged in something sexual. Even when there is something sexual it's not always erogenous. Take Scalped's scenes with Dash and Carol. They're both so drug dependent their sex is sad more than anything else.

    Besides, there's hardly any difference between naked and clothed in the skin tight superhero costume world. You could get executed for either one in some parts of the world.

  5. I know, but reading the text and seeing a picture are different. Dejah might as well be naked in this book. Her breast "shields" are just metallic nipples. Her proportions are so ridiculous, it's laughable. There's only one body I want to be seeing anyway...

    The lust scene in Next Men was fully clothed, which did make you wonder how it was even possible, but it was the way it was presented that bothered me. I don't want to see that. The scene with Tony was much better, it communicated that they were intimate and that's all you needed for the story.

    It's just like the TV, I can turn it off if I want/need to and I can drop a book if I want...I just don't want to drop this book, because I like it so much. I pretty much have to stay clear of any Image book, because of the language. They don't need my support, I guess. Probably why I get so many kiddie friendly books -- luckily they're usually pretty good.