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Review of Amazing Spider-Man 561 (3.5 stars) June 4, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Before I can even comment about this issue, I have to ask, was anyone completely freaked out by the definite return to 90s style ad on the inside of the front cover? Now, I love the 90s, that’s when my childhood took place, but that was definitely the decade of insanely annoying and way too busy magazine ads. (I should know, I read Disney Adventures as a kid, and looking the comics of the decade, I can’t believe I forgot how annoying the ads were!) I’m seriously hoping that we don’t see a return to the style of ad where you cram as many things onto one page as possible. I’ll take the incredibly cheesy ads of the 60s and 70s any day! At least they only advertised toys and kits that were guaranteed not to work.

Now that that rant is over, I have to admit to rather enjoying this issue. It opens as we finally learn the story of Paper Doll, and while I still find her annoying teen girl crush on Bobby Carr to be, well, annoying (Brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Dept.!), it is certainly more forgivable and she has earned a place in my rankings of cool supervillains. As Peter keeps an eye on Bobby and tries to get a shot of his “mystery girl,” Paper Doll shows up, and Pete leaves his camera behind to step into action. The fight that ensues is both well written and (surprisingly, given my dislike of Marcos Martin’s art) well depicted. I can also honestly say that I was in suspense for the first time since the beginning of Brand New Day. (I’m just as surprised at that fact as you, given my constant BND beat downs!) I even cringed when Spidey got his arm flattened. (I never fully understood how it “got better.” Maybe it was the same method of healing as when one turns into a newt.)

Of course, the battle is only half the fun. Throughout the issue are many instances when Peter comes close to finding out exactly who Bobby’s girl is, only to be distracted. Likewise, it appears that rumors that MJ still remembers “life before Mephisto” are true (or at least, that is certainly what is hinted.) While I am slightly annoyed that month old rumors are indeed true (can’t we get some writers who surprise us with something unexpected?), I am glad that this connection to the world as it was exists. If MJ does remember things as they should be (emphasis on should), we maintain the window of hope that things may be restored.

While the fight may have been the climax, the highlight is when Peter finally tells Bennett to more or less shove paparazzi work up his, well, you know where. It looks as though Peter finally remembered his sense of responsibility. We get two concluding scenes as Peter is moving into his new apartment. Though nothing of interesting happens here, we do get some fun Easter Eggs on his moving boxes. One of them is marked “flux capacitor” (looks like Bob Gale still snuck in, even if he isn’t writing this issue!) and another is “Copies of Webs.” Nice to know that someone still knows something about Spidey continuity (they even got Secret Hospital right later on!) Which leads to the second ending, when Sara Ehret (aka the person who Jackpot told Spidey was her secret identity) sees MJ at the airport and asks for her autograph, and seems to have never met her before. Yet another mystery surrounding Jackpot that I am eager to see solved!

-LOTRKing

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