Weekly Web-up: Amazing Spider-Man #625

Amazing Spider-Man 625
Writer: Joe Kelly
Artists: Max Fiumara
Colors: Fabio D’Auria

Hey there Spider-philes, JD and MasterFilmMakerMarkMackner back again for this weeks Web-Up. More Gauntlet going on, this time returning to the Rhino Vs Rhino storyline from a couple issues back. As you’ll recall, unless you’re really bad at recalling things, the Old Rhino (Aleksei Sytsevich) has fallen in love and given up wearing the inpenetrable hide to be with his beloved Oksana. However, a douche has gotten himself a more techsavvy version of the Rhino suit and wields a scythe (cause Rhinos…do that?) and has it in his lil brain that he needs to defeat the Aleksei in order to “ascend” into being the new Rhino. I wasn’t sure if the new Rhino was supposed to be the Gauntlet version or if he was just going to be a pawn in getting the old Rhino back into action. I saw both options as possibilities when TechnoRhino showed up, but it wasn’t until this issue that I was sure…because ..well..they TOLD us. How did you feel about new TechnoRhino, buddyboy?  And how did you feel about Aleksei’s newfound peace and love?

I LOVED that last Rhino issue!  It gave some depth to Rhino’s character, and I appreciated that.  He’s no longer the one-dimensional hired muscle.  He’s conflicted.  There was a part of him that kinda wanted to live a normal life.  His finding and falling in love with Oksana was genuinely touching.  How many super-villains ever get to know that sort of happiness, that many normal people take for granted every day?  Still.  As pleased as I was with these developments, and the excellent script by Joe Kelly, part of me was just a tad disappointed.  I thought the point of the Gauntlet was to reintroduce the CLASSIC villains into Spidey’s “new” world, making them badder and deadlier than ever.  So when it was Rhino’s turn, I was really excited.  Rhino’s been one of my favorites since I was a kid.  And for years now, the only time you’d see him would be in like, 3-page stories in “Spider-Man Family” and “Spider-Man Unlimited”.  Except for his involvement in Reggie Hudlin’s inaugural Black Panther story, “Who Is the Black Panther?”, in which he was totally badass.  And that SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN story “The Deadly Foes of Peter Parker” in which Rhino put Spidey in the hospital!  But when they did the GAUNTLET ORIGINS: RHINO in WEB OF… recently, it looked like they were setting the stage for Rhino to be a fucking force to be reckoned with again.  That Origin story rocked hard, and I couldn’t wait for more Rhino.  But then, when we saw him in the Gauntlet, he was reformed.  And in love.  And out of the Rhino suit.  Great story, but I was a bit disappointed.  They had that great illustration on Rhino in the corner of the front cover, looking ready to smash Spidey into a fine paste. And what they gave us was this New Rhino.  TechnoRhino, as you referred to him.  I’ll admit.  I was intrigued.  He was a compelling character.  Mysterious and powerful.  And it was kinda neat that he wouldn’t use the name RHINO until he faced and bested the Original in combat.  But why did he think the Rhino mantle was this high honor, like Knighthood, or becoming the New Cap or Batman?  I mean, I always loved him, but Rhino was never really all that respected.  And yeah, I could’ve done without the scythe.  Actually, JD, if you look at it, it’s actually a giant rhino horn.  That’s why he had it.  So while I was hoping for an amped-up Original Rhino, I accepted New Rhino.  And the fact that Original Rhino had hung up the hide, so to speak. Since New Rhino had been in touch with the Kravens, I just figured he was Gauntlet Rhino.  And I’m happy to say I was totally WRONG!

Also in this issue, we’re continuing the storyline of Peter being in the unemployment line, since last issue saw him irresponsibly doctoring a photograph for publication in order to help out JJJ, but was outed by the man he was attempting to help! Now our hapless hero hones in on near-homelessness since he cant pay his bills. Thankfully Cloe (from Smallville) Clone, Norah Winters decides to throw Pete a bone and get him taking some pics for her on the sly. No, not THOSE types of photos.. pics of the Naturalization Ceremony (wherein foreigners become Americans) which, coincidentally has Aleksei and Oksana on-hand and about to get into trouble. Take it, sir!

Yeah, this is where the story really took some exciting turns!  I’m thinking New Rhino’s just gonna bug Old Rhino until an inevitable showdown takes place.  New Rhino makes a big scene, but Aleksei still goes the noble route, telling New Rhino what he wants to hear so he’ll go away and leave all these innocent people alone.  Eventually, Old Rhino is forced into putting the Old suit back on (Yay!), and what comes next… HOLY FUCK!!!!!  AWESOMENESS!!!!!!!!!  You know the showdown is gonna be good, but NOTHING like this!  Old Rhino is BACK and he’s here to stay!!!!  Badder and deadlier than ever!  With an especially personal and nasty grudge against Spidey!  So the next time we see him, it’s not gonna be pretty.  Will he be recruited by the Kravens?  Will he find out that they were pulling New Rhino’s strings, and that they are indirectly responsible for what happens to Oksana?  I don’t know, but I’m totally stoked to find out!  But this is the Rhino I’ve been waiting for for years!  Big, bad, and brutal.  And now he’s pissed!  Spidey’s actually gotta be afraid of him now.  I was stunned at some of the stuff in this issue.  The fates of Oksana and New Rhino… WOW!  Great story-telling!  After the finale of the Mysterio story, this has been my favorite Gauntlet outing.  Touching personal drama, kick-ass action, characters killed off, real emotion.  When Spidey’s trying to keep Old Rhino from killing New Rhino… that was awesome.  Things just continue to get worse for our hero!  My feelings with this issue are best summed up by Norah Winters (And you’re right, btw.  She’s totally Chloe from “Smallville”), LONG LIVE THE OLD RHINO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I wanna see him fight the Hulk now.  Remember when he’d fight the Hulk sometimes?  Anyway, I give this issue an A+++!!!!  Go get it!!!!! Ooh, and we’re now just 2 issues away from the RETURN OF THE LIZARD!!!!!  SOOOO excited!!!!!

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