Comic Book Review

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Authors: J. Michael Straczynski, John Romita Jr.
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.25


Still doing whatever a spider can

By Arnold T. Blumberg     July 03, 2003

I have to hand it to Straczynski the man single-handedly rescued the webslinger from years of aimless storytelling and abysmal misfires (Clone more need be said there). And to top it all off, a few months ago he finally wrote an end to our long national nightmare by reuniting Peter Parker with his estranged wife, the ravishing redhead known as Mary Jane. The couple haven't been this cute together in years, and with a reinvigorated sense of romance, our friendly neighborhood Spidey seems to be throwing himself into his work with even more gusto. Good thing too, since there's a gamma-irradiated gestalt entity on the prowl in New York City, and it's planning to kill a mob boss unless Spidey stops it.

Wait a minute - stop it? Why should the wall-crawler care if a mutant creature itself composed of the undead remains of former gangsters killed by the target Don Corleone clone offs a Mafia hood? Well, he happens to be on the old man's retainer, but that's not the real reason. No, Spidey is a moral guy, and as he himself says, nobody is going to kill anybody on his watch. And our hero may also have a plan to make sure that everybody gets their just desserts before this whole thing is over.

Straczynski goes from strength to strength with this latest story arc, allowing Peter and MJ to settle back into domestic bliss while Spidey battles this odd new foe and earns some money doing it! And this isn't morally ambiguous either. Straczynski makes it very clear how and why Spidey should feel perfectly secure in cashing a check from a mobster, and readers will feel damn good about it too. With the return of the original numbering just around the corner as we approach AMAZING #500, artwork that delightfully blends a classic Spidery look with a modern edge, and sharp writing from Straczynski's pen, this may be the best time in over a decade to be a Spider-fan.

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