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Spectacular Spider-Man #15

Posted: Friday, June 18, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Michael Ryan

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Normally, I'm a big fan of when a writer teams Spider-Man up with a hero that we don't normally see him interacting with, and Captain America fits nicely into this category. I can only think of a handful of encounters in the 20+ years I've been following the adventures of Spider-Man.

However, I found I wasn't enjoying this team-up as much as I had expected to, and I found myself openly wondering what was missing right up until it came time to write this review.

It was then that I noticed that this issue is entirely devoid of internal captions once Spider-Man encounters Captain America and because of this the writing has an unfinished feel to it.

I mean, we don't get to see what Spider-Man is thinking when he encounters Cap and, truth be told, the thoughts that are left unspoken are far more engaging than the funny quips that we're offered up. Now, I realize that the thought captions are a bit of a cheat as they allow the writer to offer up the internal thoughts and feelings, but this issue felt a bit empty without them and of all the heroes in the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man is the one that I've become the most accustomed to following the action via his thought captions.

Now the story is enjoyable enough in its own right, as the first introduction of the threat that pulls the two heroes together is well presented and the final page cliffhanger moment was unexpected.

There's also a great little moment where we see Peter collapsing bleeding from the nose and ears and it really caught my attention to have an idyllic moment between Peter and Mary Jane brought to such an abrupt halt by this nightmarish scene.

Normally, I'm a little more impressed by Michael Ryan's art but his work on this issue had an unfinished quality to it that left me a bit disappointed.

The backgrounds were largely empty, featureless voids and there were a few too many moments when the limbs of the characters looked to be the wrong size (e.g. our first shot of Captain America with his tiny arms).

Now, there are some nice web-slinging shots, and the fight between Spider-Man and the mystery woman is nicely laid out, but there were a few too many moments when the art simply didn't look as polished as I've come to expect from Michael Ryan.



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