Friday, November 14, 2008

The Amazing Spider-Man #577

I'm all for editors trying a different look or a unique direction with a comic, especially when the story is "done in one" (it just takes up one issue).

Sometimes the experiment works - and sometimes, as with this issue of The Amazing Spider-Man... it doesn't.

This is apparently Spider-Man team-up month at Marvel (as discussed in this post), and this issue finds the wall-crawler working with The Punisher to capture a super-villain who's pushing a new, strange empowering drug.

It's difficult to accept the idea of the two working together, after all - The Punisher is a cold-blooded killer, even if his targets are the bad guys. Spider-Man just seems very causal about dealing with this guy, especially considering the dead criminal's body in the corner of the Punisher's warehouse. The story by Zeb Wells doesn't do much with either character - Frank kills a bunch of criminals but is easily captured, and Peter acts goofy and only avoids getting killed by dumb luck.

But while the story is mighty thin, it's the art that really lets this one down. Don't get me wrong, Paolo Rivera is a good artist - his style is just wrong for Spider-Man. His art has a nice, realistic feel to it, and his work would be great with a realistic comic. This isn't that comic. He gives the story a "real world" look - but the final product reminds me of the old Spider-Man TV show, where Peter's costume never seems to fit properly.

Luckily The Punisher wears his costume in the comic, because otherwise you'd never know it was him - the face looks entirely different, as Frank's angular features are replaced by a pudgy, rubber-faced guy with thinning hair and a heavy five o'clock shadow. At least his hair is black.

The story isn't helped by inserting an unrelated episode in the middle of the comic that ties in to the interminable "Spider Tracer Killer" story. Wouldn't that have fit better at the end of the comic?

So this issue is basically a mess and worth avoiding. Again, I'm all for an occasional experiment - but sometimes it's back to the ol' drawing board.

Grade: C-


Peter Wallace said...

Oh Chuck, I have to disagree on this one. Yeah, it was certainly different, but I enjoyed it a lot. I loved the art. Very European illustratorish. Yeah, not the usual for Spidey, but I liked it. I thought Punisher's face looked weird though.

Didn't The Punisher start out in Spidey comics? So he belongs here in the pantheon. I thought the interplay between such different characters was interesting.

I agree on that page-filler insert. What was that about?

Otherwise, I'd give it a good B+.

Chuck said...

Pete, I have no problem with Spidey and the Punisher being in the same comic - you're right, The Punisher's first appearance was in "Amazing." But the way they teamed up just felt wrong to me - especially when Spidey spotted the remains of a thug in the corner. He should be trying to capture the Punisher, not offering to team up with him.