Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Amazing Spider-Man #580

Ahh, there's something refreshing about seeing a pro at work.

No, I'm not talking about The Amazing Spider-Man - although he does just fine this time around, thanks.

I'm talking about writer Roger Stern, one of the all-time great Spidey scribes who turns in a "done in one" story here.

Stern has written an impressive number of outstanding stories, including some excellent Avengers and Doctor Strange stories - but one of my all-time favorite comic stories of all time is "The Boy Who Collected Spider-Man" (which was illustrated by Ron Frenz).

I'm not sure where he's been hiding, but Stern is back with a single issue that may not be a classic, but it could be used as a clinic in how to write an outstanding story in a single issue.

The story features the bad guy known as The Blank, a "blink and you'll miss him" thug who hasn't been seen in years. Stern gives him a good motivation for robbing banks, and he gives Spider-Man a good reason for tracking him down.

The issue crackles with good characterization, funny comments from Spidey, and a clear story. It's the kind of comic that anyone could pick up and they'd have no trouble following along, even if they'd somehow gone through life without hearing of Spider-Man.

It doesn't hurt that the art is provided by Lee Weeks, who provides a top-notch, elegant and professional job.

And there's more good news - the Letters Page promises more work from Stern in the near future. It's like it's Christmas time!

Grade: B+


Cephas said...

I was really looking forward to this issue and have to say I was a little let down. Yes, it's a nice story, but I found it pretty flat. It seems the new Spidey regime has returned a lot of the snappy patter, fun silliness at times that I think marked the early Spidey. This script seemed pretty straightforward and bland to me. Aiieee! I can't believe I am saying I enjoy the regulars more than Roger Stern! I am looking forward to his arc next year though.

Chuck said...

Well, Pete, I'd agree that doing one issue doesn't give the writer much elbow room, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. But I am expecting even more from his upcoming run.