Or – “Spins A Web, Any Size!  The Devil Cuts His Marriage Ties!  Look Out…”


…here comes the newly-single-by-editorial-caveat-’cause-change-is-bad-but-marriage-is-even-worse-and-things-were-apparently-better-in-the-Marvel-Universe-in-1973 Spiiiderrr-Maaaan!

What?  Too mean?

Previously on Amazing Spider-Man:  Peter Parker’s life has long been a study in “Whatever Can Go Wrong” physics, so there’s little surprise in finding that not one but TWO of his greatest painsinnabutt ASM5.jpghave been given great power without any of the proverbial responsibility.  With J. Jonah Jameson in charge of the city of New York, and Norman Osborn in charge of superhuman affairs throughout the entire Marvel Universe, Pete has things a bit rough right now.  Of course, that’s not the most shocking thing he’s seen lately, having walked in on Aunt May and Jonah Jameson SENIOR in flagrante delicto…  Given the balance between being chased by goons with guns and seeing your elderly aunt under the influence of funky cold medina, which do you think is worse?

Peter starts this triple-shot in Issue 593, desperately trying to scrub the image of his mother figure in a sexual situation, and exits the shower only to have to deal with the  difficult conversation about her relationship with JJJ, Sr.  Pete starts to stalk away, but reconsiders, and tells May that he loves her, and what makes her happy makes HIM happy.  Awww…  He then leaps out into the night, continuing his hyper-speed assault on the criminals and losers of Manhattan.  He is confronted by Jonah’s Spider-squad, only escaping capture with the help of a group of New Yorkers who believe him to be a force for good.  Pete runs from the authorities directly into the hands of the newest criminal in NYC…  THE VULTURE!  But this isnt’ a bald guy with a hook nose, this Vulture is a monstrous figure who spits acid in his eyes, leaving him blind and helpless, moments from disembowelment!

Issue 594 opens with a last-second save by Spidey, who uses his Spider-sense like Daredevil’s radar sense, managing to chase off the new bird-of-prey with a face full of webbing.  While Peter passes out on a rooftop, Mr. Jameson pops the question to Ms. Parker, and Aunt May agrees to marry him!  Peter awakens some time later, and heads home to find that roomate Vin’s sister has taken over Vin’s half of the lease, leading to another unpleasant conversation for the webhead.  Swirling in a world of frustration, Pete heads for Ryker’s Island to have a chat with Abe Toomes, the original Vulture, but Vultch doesn’t know who has co-opted his name, only that the new version is scary even to him.  Parker manages to track down the new guy, and his battle with the Vulture leads him to Yankee Stadium, where the battle goes out of control, endangering the public and causing the tide of public opinion to turn against Spider-man yet again.  Spidey realizes that his crusade, his anger, his newfound thirst for action isn’t about Jameson at all, but about Norman Osborn, and makes a vow about Osborn.  “Win or lose, I’m finally comign for YOU…”

Issue 595 kicks off with an answer to that musical question: “Why does a rich kid with charisma like Harry Osborn spend any time with a sad sack like Peter Parker?”  The twosome  hangs out in the park, discussing the perfect temperature (“76 degress fahrenheit…  Statistically proven as the point where most people consider themselves warm, and start removing their clothes.”) and miraculously picking up on a couple of pretty things walking by.  Their day in Central Park is ruined by a flyover of the Dark Avengers, and the realization that life kinda sucks.  Peter goes to work (for the internet news site Frontline) and asks why they don’t go after Norman Osborn, and gets laughed nearly out of the room.  Bossman Phil Urich tells him that if he finds a story, they’ll run it, but right now Norm is squeaky clean.  Peter then solicits help from people in his OTHER job, and I am pleasantly surprised to find two fun Wolverine appearances in as many weeks, as Logan tells him how it is.  “You DO find yourself in a position t’give Normie his due… END IT.  Permanent.  Dig?”  Spider-Man agrees, and that night, the Parker and Jameson clans come together to celebrate the engagement of May and Jay, only to find that another pater familias has invited himself: Norman.  Harry is livid that his father would interfere in a happy moment, but Norm just has a job offer for him..a choice gig in the superhero industry.  Harry leaves in a dramatic huff (after laughing in daddy’s face, but is confronted at home by ex-girlfriend Lily (also known as the monstrous Menace) who has a surprise for him.  While Harry deals with his unseen revelation, Spider-Man takes the last step towards confrontation, grabbing Norman with a web, and beating hell out of him, all the while roaring that he stay away from Harry.  The conversation is ended by a phone call from Harry, taking Norman up on his offer…  because Menace is pregnant with his child!

For all the controversy about ‘Brand New Day,’ Spider-Man stories have been more interesting in the last few months than for some time before.  This isn’t really any indication about Mary Jane, though, as most of what we’ve seen is old business for Spidey that has little to do with Peter’s personal life (the Spider-Tracer murderer bits with his roomate notwithstanding.)  Mark Waid’s issues (593 and 594) were intense and fast-paced, with excellent art by Barry Kitson and Mike McKone, while 595 is the work of Joe Kelly and Phil Jiminez.  The art in all is excellent, well-worthy of Marvel’s flagship character, and the stories (while different in tone and pacing) are a good reading experience.  I would rank 595 a bit higher than the first two, but as the first installment of “American Son,” it is naturally going to feel a bit more critical than the first two, but none of the issues suffers in execution.  I still kinda miss Mary Jane, but Marvel editorial has a very good point about one thing: a happy couple is dramatically inert, and even if I don’t like the way they struck the set from the last play, I can enjoy the next one anyway.  Amazing Spider-Man #593-595 are a good lot, earning a combined 4 out of 5 stars overall, and setting us up to deliver the Norman/Spider-Man confrontation I’ve been chomping at the bit for since he took over the Thunderbolts before Secret Invasion…  Let’s hope the ending holds up to the strong first installment.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

Previous post

Dark Horse Comics for September 2009

Next post

Art Appreciation Moment of the Day: Sean Gordon Murphy


  1. Salieri
    June 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm — Reply

    I can’t help but love the way your cleverly-placed speech bubble makes the Goblin appear to be exploding Spidey’s head. The current writing team, even under Kelly, has reduced me to nothing but vitriolic hatred towards Spidey and most properties based around him (though venom I can still get behind.)

    Given that Harry has already walked out on a wife who he knew for some years before marrying and a child of around age 9, I would be all too happy to discover that Holly’s pregnancy bump is in fact the horribly swollen cyst which her Goblin formula leaks into when she reverts to normal.

    Hey! It’s a clever solution that ends the story while explaining the difference in mass between Holly & Menace! Use your imaginations, people!

  2. ~wyntermute~
    June 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm — Reply

    +10 for finding a ‘logical’ answer to the Mass Differential problem.
    -50000 for… Just… ICK! :(

  3. Big Money B.G.
    June 5, 2009 at 5:06 pm — Reply

    *Sigh* I’m glad to see “Amazing” getting back to good stories, but damn it if everything still has the stink of Mephisto all-over everything. I just hate that no matter how good the stories are right now, we all know the horrible thing that happened to get us here, and that everything that’s happening wouldn’t be happening this way had The EIC not made that boneheaded decision.

    I know, I know…”Get over it”. And really, I am…but then I remember how ridiculously encompassing the “Mephisto Deal” is, such as Norman not even remembering Spidey is Peter, and it really burns me. I’ll never eally get over how emotionally involved I allowed myself to get with “The Other”, literal tears in my eyes as Peter lay on the autopsy table while Mary Janes tries to say “Goodbye”, and then a couple months later it’s all gone, anyway.

    I think I know where I’ll start when doing this “Fantasy EIC” thing of yours… >:(

  4. downbylaw
    June 5, 2009 at 5:24 pm — Reply

    “Big Money B.G.”

    i know what you mean with emotional investment…i dropped all spiderman because of the OMD.

  5. MaximusRift
    June 5, 2009 at 6:45 pm — Reply

    I agree with both of you (Big Money & downbylaw). “The Other” is one of my favorite Spidey stories too and it did get invalidated with OMD. However that only a part of the reason of why I’m mad as H*ll and I’m not going to take it anymore.

    The big part of it is that this has been done before and it was done in a manner where it doesn’t humiliate the hero. Both the “Erase my identity” and “Removal of wife” was done in the Flash better and in a fashion where it doesn’t cut the testicular fortitude off the hero. Also for reference, would you have done this with Superman, Dan Didio would have been out in his keester before you could say Countdown.

    And for all the fanfare of Peter’s love life when this was done, none of the old flames were put into the book. Instead we got reasonable facsimiles of the girl who died and the one who was written out. No Felicia Hardy, no Betty Brant, no nothing. At least in Ultimates when MJ was out as GF, we got him dating Kitty Pryde instead. No complaints there.

    In the end OMD is a story that basically humiliated all parties involved. At least Mephisto got his pride back looking at how a living hell Peter’s life in now.

  6. Josh P.
    June 6, 2009 at 8:16 am — Reply

    Regardless of how we got here, I’ve been enjoying the post OMD Spidey stories, and I was adamant I wasn;t going to touch them. They’ve been fun, and that’s what I want from my Spidey stories, marriage or not.

  7. June 6, 2009 at 8:48 pm — Reply

    Aren’t the Mephisto deal to remove the marriage and the memory wipe two separate things?

  8. shamon
    June 7, 2009 at 2:20 pm — Reply

    spider-man has to be the one who takes down Norman when dark reign ends and i bet Norman goes crazy when peter is unmasked in front of him .

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section