Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #601 Review

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Mario Alberti
Colorist: Andres Mossa

Story – Red-Headed Stranger: No Place Like Home

What a tough act to follow. After how incredible the Amazing Spider-Man #600 was as well as the preview for things to come we got it is hard not to have high hopes for all future Amazing Spider-Man issue. And for their credit Mark Waid and Mario Alberti do an very good job with the issue following #600, which is would have been tough for any creative team to do.

Amazing Spider-Man #601 wasn't a good as I was hoping it to be but it was still a good fun read. The best part of the main story was no question the first few pages with Peter waking up after a hangover finding out he had a one-night stand with his new roommate Michelle, his former roommates sister, and thought it was MJ, as well as the last page of the main story. Those few pages were just some great comedic scenes and how Michelle got back at Peter at the end of the issue's main story was great and had me smiling.

It's just too bad the rest of the issue could have been as good as those two scenes. For the most part the comedy, while some of it was funny, it was hit or miss with me. Waid did a good job with most of the dialogue and his writing style does fit with a character like Spider-Man. Next to the scene with Peter and Michelle I also did like how Waid wrote the scene at The DB with Peter asking Betty if he could crash at her place since he got kicked out of his apartment by Michelle.

Though the dialogue and story did have its weak moments within the issue. The first being that as a long time Spider-Man fan it is hard for me to believe that Peter would get drunk on any occasion. Even though he did see MJ, who in the post-OMD timeline he does not share a friendly relationship with, I can't see him getting drunk because of seeing her again after a year. Peter has stated many times he does not drink because he feels one sip of alcohol would dull his powers. And really I don't ever remember seeing Peter actually take a drink of alcohol in all my years of reading Spider-Man stories. It just felt like an out-of-character thing for Peter to do.

Another thing that I didn't really like about this issue was Peter's visit to his Aunt May's house that has been invaded by all of the Reily's. I know Waid was trying to make the scene to be comedic but it just never clicked with me. The accents Waid was trying to give all the Reily's made the scene a bit hard to read as it takes one or two more reads to understand what most of the Reily's are saying with their heavy accents.

Also, I thought Spider-Man going out and saving the day by stopping a jewel thief and later stopping a fire felt more like a filler. And since this was the first issue in the "Red-Headed Stranger" arc that is supposed to have the return of the Chameleon I don't see how this issue begins that story. If anything this issue read more like a one-shot story than the actual start of the next arc of this title. I wish that Waid would have at least given us a clue to what this story arc was going to be about more than it being the return of MJ to the title.

As for the big reveal in this issue I am not too sure what I should make of it. At first glance it looks like MJ actually knows Peter is Spider-Man. But after thinking about for a bit I wouldn't be surprised if Marvel is misleading us to believe that while MJ was only referring to Peter's job as a photographer. It is ambiguous and hopefully will be addressed within this story arc and not dragged out.

Though I will say I glad to see MJ back in Amazing Spider-Man after a year of being away. Also I did like the little twist with MJ being the one to stand up Peter, after sleeping for 15 hours straight, as it has always been the other way around with Peter standing up everyone in his supporting cast.

As for the art on this issue Mario Alberti did a great job with this issue. While there were a few minor inconsistencies for the most part Alberti showed why his style is a perfect fit for a title like Amazing Spider-Man. Alberti does some great stuff with the Spider-Man scenes as well as the comedic scenes with the expressions he gives the characters are spot on.

Now my favorite part of this whole issue was definitely the Bendis/Quesada back-up story. Just as he has shown with Ultimate Spider-Man Bendis again shows why he was born to write Spider-Man. The short story with Peter and Jessica was just fantastic as both characters have a nice chemistry. And it is these types of character centric scenes that Bendis really nails as is one of the best writers when it comes to character study-type stories.

For his part Quesada gave us some his best art in the story. His art throughout the whole story was awesome and I especially liked the spread page that we got in the story.

Issue Rating
Story: 7/10 – The main story by Waid was your typical Spider-Man story. It's nothing great but still a solid story. It is Bendis's back-up story were the issue really shines.
Art: 9.3/10 – Alberti's artwork for the main story was great and Quesada's artwork for the back-up story was just as good, if not better than, the main story.
Overall: 8.15/10 – Other than the back-up story this issue was nothing special just some nice solid story telling with some great artwork that combines for an average Spider-Man story. Still I am interested to see what Fred Van Lente and Barry Kitson, who take over the story in the next issue, have in store for us with this new story arc.