Weekly Web-Up: Amazing Spider-Man # 626

Greetings to all our fellow Tards out there!  It’s time for the latest installment of the “Weekly Web-Up” with JD and Master Filmmaker Mark Mackner!  Read on, True Believers!

Mark:
The Gauntlet continues!  Last week saw the release of that instant-classic Rhino vs. Rhino story, and now we have this standalone story.  Well, I mean, it ties into the Gauntlet and all, but there isn’t an official Gauntlet villain.  A classic villain, THE SCORPION, is mentioned.  And the 2nd Scorpion, the female one who was a supporting player in HULK a few years back, makes an appearance.  Remember her, JD?
JD:
Actually….NOPE, I sure don’t. Thankfully, Marvel has gone back to including little reference boxes in their stories, showing the audience what issues certain events happened in. At first I wondered if the new Scorpion’s involvement with S.H.I.E.L.D happened “off-panel” so I was happy when they let me know that she showed up during World War Hulk. I’m not sure I remember her at ALL!

Mark:
She has a tail now, which she didn’t have last time I saw her.  Apparently, that happened in AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE.  Anyway, with the dissolution of her former employer, SHIELD, New Scorpion has taken to freelance jobs.  Her latest assignment?  Retrieve the costume of Mac Gargan, the Original Scorpion (Now Venom) from super-villain crime boss The Hood, who plans on having a Mortal Kombat-style tournament among no-name goons to earn the costume and take up the mantle of the Scorpion.  How’s Spidey get involved in all this?  Well, there’s this guy with Michelle, Peter’s roommate, who triggers the ol’ Spidey Sense.  Spidey doesn’t want this guy to hurt Michelle, so he tails him to see what’s so dangerous about him. Then Spidey happens across a construction site where the Hood-hosted brawl for the Scorpion costume is about to take place.  Turns out the guy is nothing more than a thug.  You wanna chime in with anything here, friend?
JD:
Well, I gotta just say that I LOVE that Brian Michael Bendis has taken THE HOOD, a throw-away character from a miniseries and turned him into the new Kingpin of New York.  This was a character that I wasn’t expecting to ever see again after I read his first mini-series, and I lovelovelove the fact that Bendis was able to make something out of him. It just goes to show, it’s never a character that’s bad, it’s the writers that deal with that character. Except TYPE-FACE, that Spidey villain that Paul Jenkins created. That guy just SUCKS! 😉
Mark:
So Spidey runs into New Scorpion, the girl, and they start to fight.  But they soon learn that they’re on the same side.  Or ARE they?  Well, they certainly help each other out against the Hood and his henchmen TOMBSTONE and BUSHWACKER.  I was really happy to see Tombstone in the pages of AMAZING.  Remember years ago, when they only used him in SPECTACULAR?  He’s a bad dude, and it was cool to get him involved in the Gauntlet, even if only for a moment.  And he’s even cooler now that he’s been on the recent Spectacular Spidey animated series, voiced by Keith David.
JD:
AGREED, good sir! I was really surprised that they brought out characters like Hammerhead and Tombstone for the SpecSpidey Cartoon, which, if you haven’t seen yet, True Believers, you should be checking out! It’s one of the best iterations of the Spidey Mythos in cartoon form that I’ve ever seen. But yeah, I was pretty happy to see him make an appearance here in Amazing…(I wonder if his role on the cartoon prompted this at all? All of a sudden he’s there to help introduce The Hood??)
Mark:
And Bushwacker.  Remember that old DAREDEVIL story?  It was from the 80’s, I think.  Bushwacker was on a killing spree, targeting mutants with artistic genius.  Daredevil was trying to stop him, but so was Wolverine.  Daredevil wants him brought to justice.  Wolverine just wants to gut him.  And they have a 3-way battle at the end?  And it was all one issue!  Terrific story!  Remember that?
JD:
Ha! I don’t remember that particular story, but I do remember Bushwacker as a character…he’s able to turn his arm into any sort of gun, right? What the hell does that arm-gun SHOOT anyway?? Arm-bullets?? Silly-town, if you ask me!)
Mark:
OK, so let’s wrap this up.  Spidey and New Scorpion get past the villains, and make off with the old Scorpion suit.  Finally, a victory for Spidey, right?  WRONG!  New Scorpion is working for the Kravens!  She gives them the suit at the end.  But what are they gonna do with it?  Convince Gargan to hang up the Venom routine and don his old duds again?  An interesting development, to be sure.
JD:
Yeah, as far as changes in the status quo go, I know that comics hate to stay with any change for too long, and while I love the fact that Mac Gargan has since become the new Venom ever since Marvel Knights Spider-Man, I know that it’s been a couple years and that Marvel is just itching to get things back to “normal”. So while I hate to say it, I’m pretty sure that Gargan is going to be getting back into the Scorpion suite again soon. Keep him as VENOM, I say!! Change is GOOD, Marvel!
Also, let us not forget that this seems to be a turning point in the relationship between Michele Gonzales and Peter! Michele finally lets up on ole Pete and he apologizes, so now maybe there will be less tension between these two room-mates!
Mark:
This is another great story by Fred Van Lente.  That dude’s been churning out one Spidey classic after another as of late. And more stunning art by Michael Gaydos.  He never disappoints, either.
JD:
Well, while I do love Gaydos’ art for certain projects, I’m not 100% on board with him as a Spidey artist. It’s definitely solid work though, and gets the job done. It’s just not as dynamic and engaging as Marvel’s #1 title SHOULD be, in my eyes.
Mark:
Tune in next week, when we see Spidey face THE JUGGERNAUT!!!!  Written by legendary Spidey Scribe ROGER STERN!!!!!  Keep web-slinging, Web-Heads!!!!

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