Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Amazing Spider-Man #573

This issue brings us to the end of the first good storyline since the "Brand New Day" version of the Amazing Spider-Man was launched.

It's a guest-star-filled extravaganza, as Spider-Man goes up against the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) and the Thunderbolts, with the newly-created Anti-Venom thrown in for good measure.

And even though I haven't read the most recent version of the Thunderbolts comic, I'm certainly glad to see the reinvention of Norman Osborn as Lex Luthor. Norman was previously just another nutty rich inventor - now he's incredibly intelligent, calculating and always one step ahead of the other guy. Smart villains are always my favorite, and they provide a great challenge to both the hero and the writer of the story.

In this issue Spidey and Anti-Venom team up, and what follows is one heck of a fight. The comic succeeds because of the excellent art by John Romita, Jr., and Klaus Janson. They careen between dynamic splash pages, intense fight sequences and emotional moments with the assurance of master craftsmen. It's a shame they can't provide the art for every issue of this almost-weekly title.

Writer Dan Slott supplies an excellent script here, combining lots of action with a good helping of humor. There's indication that there's more going on than meets the eye, especially as far as Harry Osborn is concerned, and future plot lines are set up.

The only bad thing about the comic is that it never really resolves anything. All the players are right back to the place they were at the beginning of the story, with the exception of the Anti-Venom, a character that is kinda interesting - though he seems to be a one-note character (but then, the same is true of Venom).

The big question, of course, is can the army of creative folks behind Spider-Man maintain the high standards set by this story?

I hope the answer turns out to be "Yes," but the record for the past year is pretty thin.

Present company excepted.

Grade: B

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