Thursday August 6, 2009 6:45 pm
Marvel Comics Review: Amazing Spider-Man #601
Rating: ** 1/2*
As readers know from my postings here at Comix 411, I just recently began reading Amazing Spider-Man after a long absence. I was turned off by the “Brand New Day” storyline and refused to collect Spider-Man. Well, the latest Amazing Spider-Man annual got me interested in Spidey again after a great story revolving around Ben Reilly. I also really enjoyed issue #600 of Amazing and was looking forward to this issue after we saw the return of Mary Jane at the end of #600. Since Amazing Spider-Man began being published three times a month, we’ve had a revolving team of writers and artists. In this issue we see Mark Waid take over the writing chores and, unfortunately, I was disappointed.
Mark Waid has done some great comic book work in the past. He’s the reason I love the characters of Captain America and the Flash (Wally West). His stories and the development of these characters was amazing and textbook for what I consider good comic book writing. Over the past few years, Mark Waid’s work hasn’t really interested me all that much.
The story opens up with Peter Parker in bed with a hangover from Aunt May’s wedding. He notices that he’s not alone and instead of Mary Jane being in bed with him, he discovers that he slept with his roommate Michelle Gonzales. Peter has no memory of their night together, which upsets her and results in her storming out. Thinking that he no longer has a roommate or a place to live Peter spends half the time this issue trying to find a new place to live. The other half is spent trying to remember when and where he was going to meet up with Mary Jane. While at the wedding reception, Peter got up the courage to talk with her and they made a date to talk.
After helping some people escape from a fire at the Empire State Building, Peter remembers that he was supposed to meet MJ at Grand Central Station at 8:00. Well, Peter arrives at Grand Central and waits for her, but she doesn’t show up. Instead we see MJ has been asleep for most of the day as a result of all the partying she did at the reception. She doesn’t seem all too torn up about having missed out on the meeting which was peculiar to me. An interesting moment in this scene comes when she turns on the TV and sees Peter in action as Spider-Man and says “Nice work, Tiger.” Which means she knows that Peter is Spider-Man and she may have retained the memories of their past life after the deal with Mephisto. If this is the case, I would think she’d be more upset with herself for not meeting up with him. Even if she knows they can never be together, I would think she would have shown more emotion towards the situation.
A back-up story is featured in this issue as well and it focuses on Jessica Jones, wife of Spidey’s fellow Avenger, Luke Cage. Jessica is an interesting character as she’s been retconned into the Marvel Universe as being a classmate of Peter Parker in high school who gained super-hero powers and fought crime as the hero, Jewel. She talks with Peter about how he was a part of a defining moment in her life. We flashback to a moment when Spider-Man fought the Sandman while he was in high school and the flashback is done using Steve Diko’s artwork from the 1960s. I don’t have a reprint of the issue, but in the crowd they show a young Jessica Jones. Whether they looked at the artwork and decided to make a girl in the foreground be Jessica or photoshopped her in I don’t know. Well, she thanks him for inspiring her to be a hero, but Peter tells her that she should still go out there and be one. We end there and it says to be continued in New Avengers. I don’t collect New Avengers anymore, but maybe I’ll check it out if they do something cool with Jessica.
This back-up was good, but the feature story left me unimpressed. There was something missing from this story. It’s missing something that the last two Spider-Man stories I read had. The other issues were fun reads while this one bored me. If I wasn’t going to review it, I would have skipped to the end and read the last page or so.
Next issue the Chameleon returns. This story will be written by Fred van Lente and the art will be provided by Barry Kitson. I’m not familiar with van Lente’s work, but I’ve always liked Barry Kitson’s art. I hope it’s good, but I’m really waiting for the “Who was Ben Reilly?” storyline which begins in October. Until next time, people.
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