MASTER FILMMAKER MARK MACKNER reviews AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #648, and the dawn of a new era in Spidey comics!




STORY: Dan Slott

ART: Humberto Ramos

REVIEW: Master Filmmaker Mark Mackner

Hola, Arachno-philes! ‘Tis I, Poptards’ resident Spider-Man scholar and local indie horror icon MASTER FILMMAKER MARK MACKNER with an informative look at another Mighty Marvel Milestone, the beginning of BIG TIME, the new era of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN comics.

Just last week, we saw the grand finale to BRAND NEW DAY, the historic 102 issue, 3-times monthly run on AMAZING, and 7 quick days later we get a glimpse at what the next chapter in the life of our favorite wallcrawler will be like. And, from first impressions, it seems like it’s gonna be another wild ride, for Spidey AND his legions of adoring fans!

DAN SLOTT, part of the WEB-HEADS creative team that made BND the epic event and smashing success that it was, seamlessly carries the irresistible momentum from BND right over to BIG TIME. If you love a wise-cracking Spidey, Spidey Team-Ups, classic villains saying classic villain things, and shady figures on the sidelines scheming sinister schemes, then you’re going to ADORE this, and feel positively GIDDY about what direction this is going in.

Slott masterfully balances the action AND the comedy, and spends just the right amount of time on the drama/romantic stuff. Peter’s personal hardships and relationship troubles are a crucial element to the character, and a big part of what makes him so relatable and sympathetic, but some writers get so hung up on that stuff that they seemingly forget that this is a SUPER-HERO COMIC about a funny, easy-going guy who spins webs and fights SUPER-VILLAINS who have mechanical tentacles , wear crystal ball helmets, shoot electricity, etc.

BIG TIME has all that and more, right from the get-go. You want drama? Peter’s being kicked out of his apartment! You want romance? Peter visits with his new flame CARLIE COOPER! You want comedy? Check out the bit where JJJ and his wife MARLA bicker over whether the giant robots attacking the city are spiders are octopuses. You want team-ups? Spidey leads the AVENGERS into battle against the aforementioned robots. Plus, the FANTASTIC FOUR and THE BLACK CAT get in on the fun, too!

Villains? How about the latest incarnation of THE SINISTER SIX?! I wondered that, with KRAVEN’s resurrection, if we’d be seeing the ORIGINAL line-up back together again, but I’m guessing that since he murdered his wife and son the last time we saw him, Kraven’s not really a team player these days. The original VULTURE, Adrian Toomes, is still in prison, but I’m sure his old friends could easily bust him out. But, no. DR. OCTOPUS must not have been feeling OVERLY sentimental, as he’s replaced Kraven and Toomes with RHINO and CHAMELEON.

Also featured in this issue… The return of THE DAILY BUGLE?! Looks like things are headed that way. And who’s that mystery villain stalking the Jamesons? I dunno yet, but he’s gonna recruit MAC GARGAN aka VENOM into whatever he’s plotting. And how about that scrawny little peon at FRONTLINE? What’s his connection to this rise in GREEN GOBLIN popularity?

And, speaking of goblins, is that RODERICK KINGSLEY, the ORIGINAL HOBGOBLIN on the final page????? AWESOME!!!!! For such a legendary villain, who was NOT killed off, it’s been AGES since we’ve seen this guy. WAY stoked to see him go up against Spidey again.

OK, so the story’s solid, the comedy is cracking, the super-villains are super. But what about the art? I have mixed feelings about HUMBERTO RAMOS. First, I often get his work confused with JOE MADEUIRA’s or CHRIS BACHALO’s. Second, it can be, at times, too cartoony. Now, given the subject matter, you allow for a certain degree of inherent cartoonishness, but look at a lot of comics from the 70’s through the 80’s. You can tell the difference between comic art and cartoon art. Not that one is better or worse than the other, but I prefer my comics to look like comics. I want a cartoon, I’ll turn on the TV. And, at times, Ramos kinda leans closer to cartoons than comics, but I did enjoy his work on this issue. The siege of the Octobots is appropriately cinematic, his Hobgoblin is totally badass, and he definitely draws women better than PAUL AZACETA, who drew the last BND arc. At least you can tell Carlie’s a woman here. And SPIDER-WOMAN, SUE STORM, and Black Cat all looked pretty good.

Another thing I liked about this issue is that it indicates that Peter’s gonna be showing off his science skills a lot more in the coming months. Looks as though Pete the photog is gone again, and Pete the scientist is back. I did enjoy the retro quality the book had when Pete was back to taking pictures, but, as a lover of SCIENCE, I’m happier when he’s wowing people with his considerable science skills.

And, as if all this wasn’t awesome enough, there’s a back-up story starring the brand-new SPIDER-GIRL, Anya Corazon (Formerly ARANA). I know she’s a newer character, and she hasn’t been Spider-Girl for very long, but I just love this character. We’ve had Spider-Girls (and Women) before, but somehow, this doesn’t seem tired or overdone to me. It’s charming and endearing that she’s young and new at this, and that she genuinely looks up to Spider-Man. I think it’s cute. Plus, her own series launches 11/17, and it’s been described as a “sister series” to ASM, with direct ties to BIG TIME and what’s going on in Spidey’s world. She’ll be facing some of Spidey’s villains, too, and I’m really excited to see how all that pans out.

Writer PAUL TOBIN seems like a good fit for SG. Most of SG’s voiceovers are written in “Tweet” format, as she’s sharing her thoughts to all of her followers on Twitter. That could come off as a really lame attempt at appealing to a more youthful audience, but it really works well here. SG would totally tweet is she were real, so it’s believable and it makes sense. Oh, and you actually CAN follow her on Twitter, at And all her voiceovers actually appear on her feed! It’s really cool, because it makes it seem like there’s this real super-hero updating you on her daily exploits. I know, it’s dorky, but it’s FUN. I’ll be adding SG reviews to my regular duties on the WEEKLY WEB-UP.

Now, to recap…

BIG TIME, Chapter 1

STORY: A++ Slott really nailed this one, which is great ‘cause I really needed him to, so as to assure me that the spirit of BND would live on in BIG TIME.

ART: A. Bright, colorful, and appealing.


STORY: A. It cleverly takes a moment out of the preceding story, and builds an involving story of its own, featuring action, comedy, and drama, all in 8 pages.

ART: A. I can’t quite explain it, but there were instances that brought to mind STEVE DILLON, and that’s always a good thing.
AND THAT is THE WORD, so sayeth THE MASTER!!!!

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(MASTER FILMMAKER MARK MACKNER is the resident Poptards Spider-Man nut, and the author of SPIDEY’S WEEKLY WEB-UP right here on this site! Also, true to his name, he is the writer/director of the locally made films DAISY DERKINS, DOGSITTER OF THE DAMNED!, EVIL BREW, and THE HALF-LIFE HORROR FROM HELL or: IRRADIATED SATAN ROCKS THE WORLD!)

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5 Comments to “MASTER FILMMAKER MARK MACKNER reviews AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #648, and the dawn of a new era in Spidey comics!”

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  1. jaydee says:

    good god, i love the excitement you bring to PopTards! We have to do a podcast on all this stuff this week!!!!

  2. Mark Mackner says:

    What can I say? I love, love, LOVE Spidey comics these days. Yeah, let’s do a show!

  3. jaydee says:

    are you available tonight? we’ll spidey it up!

  4. Mark Mackner says:

    Dang, I don’t always get notified when you comment here. Don’t think I was ignoring you.

  5. JD (Host) says:

    no worries, we can do this week if you wanna.

    Ps. I want that Spidey Spidey-Girl cover by J. Scott Campbell..

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