Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Amazing Spider-Man #587

After months of stories featuring a brand-new, "never been married or had his identity discovered" version of The Amazing Spider-Man, some long-running mysteries are finally being solved.

A recent issue finally revealed who is behind the mask of Menace, and we've learned who the Spider Tracer killer is. The problem is, for any mystery to provide a shock to the reader, the story must lay down clues to the answer, so when the mystery is solved - ideally - the reader will smack himself or herself in the forehead and say, "I should have know!"

In both instances in writer Marc Guggenheim's story, our reaction is, "Yawn." I won't reveal the answers in case you haven't read the recent issues yet, but in both cases the solutions seem to spring out of left field, with virtually no set-up at all. What little foreshadowing that was given to the reader was entirely without meaning.

Of course, the main story also suffers from gaps in logic. Spidey has been arrested - so one would expect Norman Osborn, who hates Spider-Man, to immediately take Spidey into custody. Instead, we have a series of legal scenes that indicate much time is passing without the federal authorities taking much interest in one of the heroes resisting the Superhero Registration Act.

And Spidey seems to have recovered from his life-threatening wound quickly. And on and on.

There's no griping about the artwork, though - John Romita, Jr. and Klaus Janson are turning in terrific work here, and the comic is well worth buying for that alone.

But that's the only reason.

Grade: B-

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