Comics I Read: Amazing Spider-Man

Amazing Spider-Man 626: A nice little done-in-one by Fred Van Lente where he puts a slight spin on the "Gauntlet" stories by using the new female Scorpion from a couple of years back, who's not evil. (She's a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.) There are also some good scenes between Peter and his roommate and art by the always excellent Michael Gaydos.

Amazing Spider-Man 627-629 "Something Can Stop the Juggernaut": Veteran Spidey writer Roger Stern returns with a sequel to his famous '80s Juggernaut story, and it's indistinguishable in style from the rest of the recent issues of this title. I mean that as a huge compliment: Stern adapts completely to the modern Marvel writing style, and you wouldn't know that this came from the book's regular writer of 30 years ago. I'm not generally fond of cosmic elements in Spidey stories (not counting "New Avengers"), but Stern makes it work here.



Amazing Spider-Man 630-633 "Shed": (There's also a prologue chapter in #629.) I'll admit that, though I've enjoyed his stories, I've considered Zeb Wells one of the lesser writers in the "Amazing Spider-Man" rotation. But no more: he and Chris Bachalo have created a chilling new take on the Lizard as game-changing as when Todd McFarlane re-invented him back back in "Spider-Man" #1. Seriously, this is one of the best of the "Gauntlet" stories so far and is not to be missed. #633 also ends with a confrontation between Peter and Aunt May that I've expected was coming for a while, but even though I was anticipating it I was still moved by Wells' writing and Bachalo's staging of the scene.

Amazing Spider-Man 634: An extra-sized issue starting "Grim Hunt", the payoff for all the "Gauntlet" stories where we find out what the surviving members of the Kraven family have been up to all this time. It's too early to give anything away but I like what Joe Kelly has written so far, even though some of the tension he tries to build about a particular character's fate was spoiled by their appearance last week in "Young Allies" #1. Correction: Whoops, I confused Mattie Franklin and Araña. One of them actually does die this issue and the other one appears in "Young Allies".

Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine 1: The first of what I call a "slow-motion" continuity series by Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert. ("Slow-motion" like Joss Whedon's "Astonishing X-Men" where it affected the main book, but not until the mini-series was over.) I liked this way more than I was expecting to, given that the Spidey/Wolverine relationship has been pretty well explored by Brian Bendis. The story starts with the cliché of Peter and Logan in a burned-out future, but by the end of the issue Aaron has turned the cliché on its head and spun the story off in a different direction.

Comments

  1. "Shed" was amazing. I'm astonished by just how good it was, actually. Chris Bachalo's work is always a delight to see on the page, but like you said, Zeb Wells--while good--isn't usually good enough to meet Bachalo's quality of work. But with this, everything came together perfectly. My sister has a pet lizard, so I kind of want to have her read this--I couldn't help but think of her pet as I read it.

    This arc is actually a contender for the top Spider-Man story of recent years, really only rivaled by Joe Kelly's Rhino stories. Which is a huge surprise to me, actually, because I've never cared for the Rhino before, and while I liked the concept of the Lizard, I haven't really liked the execution. Now, they're possibly two of my favorite villains in Spider-Man's life.

    Based on the strength of Joe Kelly's work in those issues, I'm glad that he's the one handling the Grim Hunt. I actually wasn't so blown away by Kraven's First Hunt last year (or was that two years ago? I can't really remember), but since then I've felt that the Kravens have really grown as a threat, and things are finally coming together. Amazing Spider-Man is firing on all cylinders to become a must-read book.

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