Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artists: John Romita Jr., Scott Hanna and Scott Koblish
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Stop me if you've heard this one before. Character A is betrayed by character B who character A had considered to be a trusted ally, but they learn character B has gotten themselves painted in a corner and they saw this betrayal as their only way out. However when character B spots how heroic character A is when dealing with their certain death, character B is inspired to rush back and rescue character A, and in doing so they lose their own life. What's that, this plot sound completely original to you?
Well let me be the first to welcome you to the surface world, as while you spent the past five decades in a cave, every other writer has used this plot device to generate an artificial feeling that they've just offered up a
character arc, with the obvious scene where the Grinch's hardened heart is touched by the spirit of Christmas. I'm sure I'm not going to be the only reader who finds this issue a big disappointment, as after spending a fair
bit of his run leading us to this point, the big resolution to the Spider-Man's powers stem from a supernatural source is a plot device so old and overused that J. Michael Straczynski should be ashamed to offer it up as the big climax to this arc. Now I'll be the first to admit I wasn't the biggest fan of the Spider-Man's totem powers idea, but I was willing to let J. Michael Straczynski show me I was wrong to be dismissive of it, as I just assumed he was going somewhere interesting with the idea. However, this issue makes it clear that the end destination of this big trip was the world's largest ball of yarn, and you'll forgive me if I'm a little underwhelmed.
John Romita Jr.s final issue on this title and I have to say his presence on the Spider-Man book's is going to be much missed, as along with Mark Bagley he really stabilized the books on the art front. It also didn't hurt that he's a fantastic action artist as while there's not much action in this final issue, there are a couple solid examples, as the battle between Ezekiel and Peter has a wonderful sense of urgency to it. as does the scene where Peter is straining against his bonds as the giant spider creature closes in. The giant spider creature is also a wonderfully creepy presence.
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