Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

Amazing Spider-Man Message Board >> View Post
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Common-Sense, Tingling!

In Reply To
Punk Funk & Junk

Subj: Re: Amazing Spider-Man #400 through #500
Posted: Fri May 29, 2009 at 01:41:24 am EDT (Viewed 173 times)
Reply Subj: Amazing Spider-Man #400 through #500
Posted: Thu May 28, 2009 at 05:02:17 pm EDT (Viewed 276 times)

Previous Post

As I've said before, my current mission is to read every issue of ASM in order from the beginning. I just finished #400 through #500. Now unlike many of you, this is my first time reading these later issues because I'm mainly a silver and bronze collector. So if this board can stand one more review post, here's my 2 cents on these issues:

#400:
A beautiful, touching issue that gives Aunt May all the respect she deserves. It's a such a strong point in Peter's evolution as a character. He who was once a teen now steps out from the shadow of his aunt to emerge as a man with a family of his own. My wife, who is no comic book fan and merely tolerates my constant Spidey ramblings, actually cried when I told her about May on her deathbed confessing that she knew Peter was Spider-man and how proud she was of all the good things he's done.

#401-#441:
These issues remind me of a spastic child running around in 100 different directions and accomplishing nothing.

This run continues and ends the clone saga and I couldn't care less since it was impossible to follow anyway in only the core title. I have no problem with spilling the story over into other titles, but I'm a firm believer that the core title should contain the bulk of the story and be easy to follow.

Aunt May returns with the most idiotic and moronic explanation possible. This was a HUGE slap in the face to any half way intelligent reader.

#442-#500:
442 kicks off a reboot that doesn't feel like a reboot since there nothing new or different going on.

I enjoyed seeing John Byrne's work since I have a fondness for his style since I started collecting back in the 1980s. However, Howard Mackie's writing is as exciting as watching my lawn grow.

Mary Jane is kidnapped and I still don't know what the whole point of this was. She's presumed dead for 6 months and everyone seems barely affected as if she wasn't even a major character. Peter is so sure that she's still alive, but are we given any clues or build up to show that he's right? No, nothing. Absolutely nothing until issue 470, Mackie's last issue and good riddance.

By issue 471, something wonderful happens as J. Michael Straczynski and JR Jr take over. Peter and the cast now feel fresh and real. For the first time in a long time, Pete and MJ's marriage is integral to the series and not just an afterthought. Peter as a teacher feels like a natural progression of his character.

A stellar standout is issue #480. Not a single word of dialogue or narraration, yet both MJ and May come across as such thoughtful and complex people.

JMS made the series fun again. Before his run, it felt like work slogging through the issues. JMS's run so far is enjoyable and hard to pull myself away from. He's now jumped way up my list of favorite comic writers.

Now onto the 500s.

AMZ400 is quite possibly my favorite Spidey story ever.

I think there are points in the “spastic child” run (401-441) that don’t get enough credit. Even putting aside the better points of the Clone Saga (like JJJ secretly covering Peter’s court costs, the interactions of the three main “Parker Brothers”, ect)*, we still got some pretty good relatively-standalone Tom DeFalco stories (with Mark Bagley) with Ben as Spidey amidst the crossovers (I remember Blood Brothers being particularly disappointing).

Then you have some really good stories from 419-439 (plus the really fun flashback issue). Sure Steve Skroce’s art isn’t really my favorite but his run with DeFalco gave us Black Tarantula (one of the last interesting Spider-Foes) and a great Electro arc. Plus Spider-Hunt and Identity Crisis are two of my favorite Spidey crossovers ever (and IC was less a crossover and more an “event” anyway). The funny thing is that I think that Amazing was the weakest of the Post-CS/Pre-Byrne comics even though its one of my favorite recent runs on the book. It’s a little weird that Marvel keeps putting their A-Team on Spectacular instead of Amazing.

*Which honestly were so caught up in crossovers that I don’t recall which parts happened in Amazing and which happened in the other books.

I don’t have much to say about the Byrne Mackie reboot. At least I don’t have very much nice to say.

I do feel the need to defend them on Peter’s reaction to MJ’s “death”. I think it made perfect sense. No one ever dies in comics. Especially if they’re a major character. Especially if I happens in an explosion and there’s no body. The writer didn’t think MJ would stay dead. The readers didn’t think MJ would stay dead. Why would Peter think MJ would stay dead?

The story where MJ is brought back is indefensible though. MJ just went through a traumatic experience and all Peter can think about is getting some? What the heck? I’ve defended Mackie a lot around he but I won’t defend that story. That last annual he did may be the worst Spider-Man story ever (or at least it was until Peter sold his marriage to the devil).

JMS is really overrated. Paul Jenkins had been quietly fixing Spider-Man in PP for about a year before JMS showed up in Amazing. Ezekiel, the return of MJ, the teaching job, and May finding out Peter’s identity are his only worthwhile contributions to the Spider-mythos and every single one of those things were gone by the end of his run. Plus, lets fact it, a lot of those things he set up were better handled by other writers in the “ancillary” books anyway.



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