Current Reviews


Amazing Spider-Man #51

Posted: Thursday, April 3, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: John Romita Jr (p), Scott Hanna (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

As Peter & Mary Jane get mend their burnt bridges, we see a government test of a gamma bomb acts to create a rather unusual villain who is comprised of the reanimated corpses of gangster whose bodies had been buried in the desert.

I'm glad to see Mary Jane back in these pages, but I have to say that this issue did leave me cringing, as J. Michael Straczynski delivers some of the most painful dialogue I've ever seen in a comic, as he tries to show us these two reestablishing their connection with each other. Now I will give him credit for coming up with one of the most unusual backstories I've ever seen for a villain, as the bad guy of this issue is a collection of gamma irradiated corpses of a group of mob bosses that had been dumped in the desert in the late 1950s. Basically this villain has taken Hammerhead's M.O. and added a Frankenstein monster twist to the mix, and while it's a little early in the game to tell if he'll make a good opponent for Spider-Man, the character does have a nice novelty factor going for him.

Plus I'm always game for a good old fashioned gang war story, and this opening chapter does look rather promising. Then again I could simply be happy that the gang war will keep J. Michael Straczynski from delivering any more Peter & M.J. moments. As for the art, John Romita Jr. continues to deliver some lovely work, as there's a chilling scene where we see the new villain rises from the chemical soup, and the destruction of the building is also pretty impressive.

Final Word:
It's issues like this that really make one appreciate what writers like Brian Michael Bendis, Kevin Smith & Alex Robinson are capable of, as J. Michael Straczynski proves that it's not all that easy to deliver a realistic relationship between two characters. I mean the humor it's going for is grating on the nerves, and Peter is downright annoying as he nervously babbles on. However, the secondary plot involving the creation of a new villain was rather interesting, as I have to say the character is certainly a odd amalgamation of ideas, and one has the love the comic book science that explains his creation. My only real concern is that Daredevil is currently in the midst of setting off a rather impressive gang war, and this one this issue looks to be starting up may end up suffering when one compares the two. Still, this issue has left me gun-shy when it comes to MJ's role in this book, so here's hoping the action will crowd out this painful character interaction.

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