Weekly Web-Up! ASM 649, by JD and Mark!

Title: Amazing Spider-Man 649
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Carlos Cuevas
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Reviewed by Johnny Destructo & Master FilmMaker Mark Mackner!

JD: Well now, that was unexpected. And by “that” I mean “lots of stuff”! I wasn’t sure what to expect after Brand New Day was over, and Big Time kicked in, but I have to say I’m loving it. Peter is enjoying an extremely rare upswing (no pun intended) and he’s earned it, dammit. He’s finally got himself a new girlfriend in Carlie Cooper, a character who actually seems plausibly compatible for Pete, a new job that makes sense, given his incredible intellect and a nice place to live. Herein lies the trouble with Spidey as a character. We love him because he’s the “everyman” who has faults and is a bit down-trodden but always rises to any challenge. But how long can he stay on that course as a character and have it be believable? The man is one of the smartest people in the Marvel U, but he has trouble keeping an apartment, making money, keeping jobs? At a certain point, being as smart as he is, he has to figure out how to make it all work, doesn’t he? But that isn’t interesting enough to keep reading! So we build him up and let him enjoy it, before we strip it all away from him again. That’s the bittersweet part of this story for me. I love that Pete’s finally getting it together, but since I’m reading a timeless, ageless character who will never stop being published, I know that this is all doomed to end tragically after awhile. This way, we can enjoy seeing him pull himself up by his little webby boot-straps again. This is what keeps us coming back to him as a character, and this is one of the many things that Slott understands. He’s doing a fantastic job here and I can’t wait to see what else he has up his typewriter.

MARK: Yes, he IS one of the smartest characters in the Marvel U, but I don’t find it all that hard to swallow that he often struggles to find/maintain a relationship/job/housing.  I think there’s scads of people who are probably brilliant, but just have shit luck.  I think if he wasn’t so busy with the super-heroics, he’d most likely have invented something to make him a millionaire, or working as a high-paid government scientist, but, you know what they say about “great power”.  I also think that’s part of Spidey’s appeal.  I’m sure there are a lot of Spidey fans who are highly intelligent folks, but for whatever reason, just haven’t been able to make their lives into what they want them to be.  Yes, he IS “everyman”, but he’s not “Joe Sixpack”.  But, you’re right, this isn’t going to last.  The “Parker luck” is something that may lie dormant for a time, but it’ll be back with a VENGEANCE.  But this new change of pace is refreshing, and you really DO root for the guy.  He gets the cute brainy chick (Who’s into roller derby!), the sweet job (Private lab!), and the swanky digs (I’d be surprised if he was in the hotel by the end of the next arc, but still).  Way to go, Pete!

JD: A little while back, we saw a good chunk of Spidey’s rogues get upgraded. One character that seemed to be conspicuously missing was Hobgoblin, but he also finally gets that treatment here. This isn’t the same ole’ Hobby sporting the same old stuff. He’s a little loonier and a lot more formidable. I like that he no longer rides the Goblin Glider and has found other means of transportation as well as some different weapons. For so long, Hobs has been just a Green Goblin in brighter colors. But now it looks like the character is finally getting to spread his wings, as it were. It also looks like Scorpion/Venom is gonna be getting a change-up soon! I’m curious to see where that’s headed.

MARK: Here’s where I have a problem with Slott.  Not his STORY, mind you, but DAN SLOTT.  The writer.  And not just him.  But ANY writer who casually kills off a major character with a rich history simply to build up a lesser character that will most likely not have the same staying power as the character he/she kills.  I’m not going to spoil anything here (Unless I have already.  Sorry, but I’m TRYING not to), but a character we’ve not seen for ages gets offed with ridiculous ease by someone I’m barely familiar with.  It was like Kaine laying waste to The Sinister Six during the Clone Saga.  That pissed me off royally.  And while this isn’t nearly as bad, it made me think of that, and for that reason alone, I’m pissed.  All I’m saying that is that this issue opens with a character who was, for a very long time, a MAJOR threat in Spidey’s world, being cut down before the title page.  Very anticlimactic.  If this character HAD to die, I’d have preferred if it were in an epic battle with Spidey.  Or maybe Norman.  Even Harry would’ve been more acceptable.

But yeah, the STORY itself is actually very good, and this is the 1st problem I’ve ever had with Slott, so I’ll forgive him.  He really turned in some cracking good work during BND, and I’m glad he’s the sole writer on AMAZING now, but killing off characters I’ve been a fan of since childhood is a good way to bug me out.  Agreed that the wings are a nice touch, and a welcome change for a Goblin character.  Ditto the fire sword.  I’m all about this Hobby’s weaponry.  The Venom stuff is intriguing, too.  It looks like Mac Gargan just might be done as Venom, but that mystery villain from last ish seems to be eying him up as a recruit in his plot against JJJ, regardless.  But, if Gargan goes back to being Scorpion, then who will bond with the symbiote next?  Hmmm…

JD: There are some really minor nit-picks, however. First of all, maybe I’m wrong (and I’m sure someone will make me feel like a jerk in the comments below if I am), but didn’t Phil Urich’s “Goblin Laugh” come from his mask? The mask that was bust-icated during his fight with a Sentinel during the whole *shudder* Onslaught thing? How is he able to do it without his mask? Another instance that felt a mite strange was when Roderick Kingsley made his way into Norman Osborn’s hidden Goblin stash. How is it that a fella just walks in and presses a button and is granted access to millions of dollars of villainous weaponry, created and housed by one of the Marvel U’s most notorious criminals? The dude was top cop of H.A.M.M.E.R and ran almost EVERYTHING, but didn’t think to change the password to one of his lairs? And it wasn’t JUST Kingsley! Apparently Phil Urich was able to get access as well! Shenanigans, I say! But hey, I’m just picking nits, here.

MARK: I’m gonna be brutally honest here… I kinda checked out of comics during the Onslaught era.  I DID pick up an occasional book here and there, but that was a dark time for comics, and I just stopped caring.  From about ’95 to ’99, my comic-buying was very sporadic.  I went in the shops, perused books to maintain some semblance of what was going on, but I wasn’t really religiously following much of anything.  Everything just looked THE SAME, and every story was just so jam-packed with guest stars that it just became tiresome.  I picked up the 150th issue of THUNDERBOLTS last week, which includes a reprint of the very 1st issue, circa 1997.  And while it’s a great story, it was just SOOOO late 90’s.  I mean, it was MARK BAGLEY, and it still sucked.  You could see that he was trying to ape the Liefield/Image look, and it’s just horrendous.  But I’m getting off-topic here.  I honestly couldn’t answer your question about Phil Urich, but I suspect that you’re probably right.  I agree 100% about the revolving door in Osborn’s “secret” arsenal, however.  WAY too easily accessed.

JD: Overall, this is a great new chapter in the life of the web-head and I’m chomping at the bit for each new issue! If you didn’t like Brand New Day, give this a shot. You won’t be disappointed!

MARK: No, you won’t be disappointed.  As a BND lover, I can say that this is a worthy follow-up, but it’s also a terrific point of access for new readers.  Go get it!!!!!

Posted in : Comics, Weekly Web-Up
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Comments to “Weekly Web-Up! ASM 649, by JD and Mark!”

Add Comments (+)

  1. Bobby Kulb says:

    I dig Spidey’s new job at the hipster-ish silicon valley think tank work environment and his new laid back Steve Jobs-like boss. It occured to me that, just like in the 60’s when the spidey books had this strong soap opera-ish romance element to them, that now the writers are trying to inject a modern day “work-place comedy” vibe into the book. His new co-workers seem to be cut from the same cloth that the supporting/ensemble players on The Office or 30 Rock might be. Also, his new girlfriend Carly Cooper seems like she could be patterned after a character Tiny Fey might play. I think it all works well and im anxious to see where they are headed. Slott has my complete confidence after his tragically short run on The Thing’s solo book.

  2. Kire says:

    As someone who washed his hands of Spider-man apart way through Brand New Day, it took Slott and Big Time to bring me back to the book. I feel the writers and artists are finally finding their pace in the weekly world of Peter Parker. The Nov. 1st Octopod attack from the first issue was brilliant and the roller derby secret identity was pop culture but funny. I like Dan Slott.

    I disagree about the casual killing in that its bit of horror came from the unexpected action. If you have ever had your ears clapped everything goes fuzzy – I can only imagine a sonic-goblin-scream. As for the mask, hell JD that is some mighty fine memory. I think if anyone remembers Onslaught they have earned the right to call that out. Me? As a casual reader I just went with it as most will.

    I finally commented in the right place, too.

  3. JD (Host) says:

    Holy crap! Actual comments by people other than the writers! This is a Brand New Da…um….a turning point for PopTards!

    Bobby: Excellent point on the work-place comedy aspect of the story. I didn’t piece that together but you’re absolutely right! Though, I have to wonder: there have been MANY times where a writer will put Pete in a new setting, trying to instill the book with all-new supporting characters and have FAILED, and we always wind up back at the Daily Bugle (I almost typed DB, ugh) with the same ole supports. Do you guys like these characters so far? Do you think they have any staying power?

    I LOVE Carlie Cooper! I think (don’t punch me) that she makes MUCH more sense for the extremely intelligent and nerdy Peter Parker than the Go-Go dancing party-girl super model MJ. Don’t get me wrong, I loved MJ and their marriage, but now that he’s hanging with CC, I’m really digging her intelligence. Though she does need to written with a little more sassy humor to make her more likable, for me.

    Kire: I’m stoked that you’re back! I was hoping that with the end of BND, some people might come back and check it out, and so far it’s off to a great start. I think Slott is THE man for this job. He really seems to get the character in a way that I like him to be written. I actually enjoyed that other Green Goblin series starring Phil Urich, that’s why I remember that stuff. It was an interesting take on the character and someone trying to turn something bad into something good.

  4. Mark Mackner says:

    Well, if it’s NOT a Brand New Day, can we at least say we’re moving toward the BIG TIME? Eh? Eh? That sound you just heard was of a man being fired from a non-paying comic review site.

    But please pardon the bad jokery, boss! 2 comments! You can’t split this winning team up just yet. Obviously, the fans respond to us as a team. Like Dick and Damian! Like Aurora and North Star! Like Green Arrow and Black Canary! And just which one of us is Black Canary in that scenario? The answer is not as obvious as you think.

    Yup, yup, yup. We are seeing shades of NBC’s ace Thursday night lineup at play here, and that’s all right by me. That’s some good TV, there.

    Kire, I’m sure the Goblin laugh is hell on the ears, and I get that Slott ellicted a shock from us by staging the sudden murder of the guy we thought was gonna be the villain of this arc. As a storyteller myself, I totally get that and I understand it. I just get ticked when it happens, because that robs me of any potential future stories featuring that character. That I like.

  5. JD (Host) says:

    I get what you’re saying Mark, but if you consider the medium, I think we can rely on the fact that if this business with Phil doesn’t work out, they’ll figure out a way to bring back Kingsley. You can count on it. Much like Doctor Octopus after Kaine SNAPPED HIS FRIGGIN’ NECK, and Lady Octopus or Octopussy or whatever she was called didn’t work out.

  6. Bobby Kulb says:

    I get what Mark is saying about the causal and needless killing of a classic villain- the Hobgoblin bit here was a little jarring- first he is incinerating south american drug cartels, then machine-gunning those incinerated remains, then he goes back to the states with a new job offer from Kingpin, then he discovers a cache of new, never before seen Goblin Weapons- he even has a great joke about the Vulture calling his lawyer (the word “Lawyer” being a typo in my copy) then he is suddenly beheaded? I dont know- it seemed like a waste.
    At the end when the new Hobgoblin has a fiery sword poised above Spidey’s neck, ready to go Highlander on him, they shouldve had the dead Hobgoblin’s head hanging from the new goblin’s belt; collecting and displaying your slain enemies heads- that seems like a demented Hobgobliny thing to do right? I thought they missed a great visual opportunity there.

    On a positive note, I liked the bit with Aunt May taking Pete to work on his first day and the flashback to when Pete decided he had to give up school to support Aunt May after Uncle Ben’s death. That was a great moment- quiet and underscored- they didnt hit you over the head with it- THAT is what I really love about the Spidey comics- the soap opera stuff I can take or leave.

    Who is the secret 6th Scientist? What’s going to happen to Mac Gargan? I cant wait to find out. I havent read Spidey in years- but I’m excited abotu this new saga!

Leave a Reply