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Review of Amazing Spider-Man 567 (4 stars) August 12, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Let’s get the big stuff out of the way first. SPOILER WARNING: the new Kraven is … *drumroll* … the original Kraven’s daughter. Mehh, nothing too surprising, and it makes perfect sense. The only thing I want to know, didn’t the son of Kraven make more than one appearance? Whatever happened to him, and does he have the same mother as this new Kraven? In the mail page, Steve Wacker promises that we will get an answer eventually (I sure hope so!) and we are promised that this arc will have big ramifications later. If nothing else, the Braintrust does a remarkably good job at letting a story build up for a long time. I can think of at least four or five running plot threads that could lead into an entire storyarc, and probably will eventually. This, of course, is exactly how a good Spider-Man run should be (see the 70s and 80s for examples). Did I just compliment Brand New Day? Maybe. But I still want the marriage back.

The other disappointment of this issue came after Spidey rescued Vin and later attempted to explain why there was a Spider-Man costume in Vin’s apartment. He said he planted such costumes as decoys to lead people off the trail of his secret identity when people came to close to the truth. Sure, Vin may not have suspicions about Pete anymore, but couldn’t he have thought of a much better solution to the problem? I mean, Vin already hates him, did he have to go and make Spider-Man look like a total scumbag? I dunno, this part just bothers me since it seemed like a rather drastic method to secure one’s secret identity.

Despite these complaints, most of the issue was thoroughly enjoyable. Vermin finally seems like an interesting character again. Guggenheim shows his mastery of providing dialogue for an extended fight scene. And Phil Jimenez is a genius. In my eyes, Jimenez is the definitive Spider-Man artist. I can’t describe what makes him so good, but every time I see him draw Spider-Man, it brings a smile to my face. Marvel needs to utilize him as much as possible. This arc has definitely been the best so far since the reboot, even if the ending was somewhat of a let down. Still, having said that, I’m eagerly awaiting the New Ways to Die that next week will bring!

-LOTRKing

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Review of Spider-Man: Brand New Day – Extra!! (3.23 stars) August 1, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 3.23 out of 5 stars

First off, why the weird numbering for the stars? Well as you are about to see, each section got a different star rating, I then used what proportion of the issue each story was and how many stars it was worth to figure out the overall rating, hence the not very nice (and rounded off) number of 3.23.

Now, moving on:

Death of a Wise Guy – Rating: 3 stars

This is the main portion of the issue, which features highlights of Hammerhead’s life story (presumably the flashes of his life that he sees before he is about to die). This also serves to resolve what appeared to be his final story present in the Civil War: War Crimes one-shot (everyone read that, right? Which by the way, since they’ve gone all editorial foot-note happy, you’d think they’d let us know that he’d be shot in the head in the aforementioned one-shot. Luckily I’ve read it and know where this comes from, so as not to be confused). As his life “flashes before his eyes” doctors attempt to save him before he is taken away by a sinister looking man and taken to Mr. Negative. Eventually Mr. Negative and his doctor are able to revive him and he agrees to undergo a lifesaving procedure at the cost of serving Mr. Negative. Overall it gives us a fairly interesting insight into a less-than-amazing Spider-Man baddie but this really felt more like the filler story that it is. This could have easily been resolved by a “Mr. Negative saved my life and I now I work for him” side-note. And speaking of side-notes, the art wasn’t too bad; Chris Bachalo seemed to do a better job here than in his first BND arc.

Birthday Boy – Rating: 2.5 stars

This was a completely unnecessary insertion. If anyone else thinks Harry’s been nothing but a jerk since he’s come back from the dead, I agree with you. This shows more of the same until the very end where it appears that Wells tries to redeem him. Sure, he decides to go spend time with Peter instead of his high-class friends but this didn’t feel anything like a buddy-buddy tale. At least the art was quite good.

The Spartacus Gambit – Rating: 4 stars

Here’s what should have been the meat of this issue. I realize that this may seem like a pricey one-shot, but I personally think this short story was worth the $4 cover price. In it, we jump a few months into the future (not unlike last year’s Swing Shift) where Spider-Man is in trial for the Spider-Tracer murders (being represented by, who else, Matt Murdock) when they are interrupted by the hanging plot-thread of the man trying to sue Spider-Man (this comes from way back in February, I think). This thread is finally resolved in a great story of courtroom drama and is riddled with teasers of an upcoming storyline. When done right, I love me some courtroom drama, and this was more than appeasing. The only thing that could have made it better? Someone besides Marcos Martin on the art.

Well, there you have it. While the first two stories may not have been spectacular, the first and last one will surely have affect on Spidey’s world in the months to come. If you have $4 to spare, I’d highly recommend picking this up.

-LOTRKing

Review of Amazing Spider-Man 566 (4 stars) July 24, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My review can be found here (the first one posted).

Quick spoilers: Kraven has mistaken Vin for Spider-Man, she drugs him to enhance his “abilities” and challenges him to a hunt. Peter discovers his suit missing and since Vin is late, he suspects that Vin has found his suit and gone to turn him in. Peter borrows a suit from Daredevil, and finds out what has happened to Vin. As he goes to save him, he sees Vermin, the two fight and Pete is rendered unconscious.

-LOTRKing

Review of Amazing Spider-Man 564 (2.5 stars) July 9, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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My review can be found here (the second review down). This is in accordance with this announcement.

-LOTRKing