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Spectacular Spider-Man #16

Posted: Tuesday, July 6, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artists: Michael Ryan and Studio F

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Leading into this arc the preview material suggested that this arc would have Spider-Man teach Captain America a lesson, and I found myself rather pleased by this prospect, as most of their previous meetings have had Spider-Man playing the role of a rookie novice. However, after finishing this issue I found myself openly wondering if the lesson that Spider-Man was offering up was really all that useful, or if it was one that Captain America really needed to learn. I mean essentially this arc has featured Spider-Man living up to the idea that he's a novice rookie who rushes forward into battle with no plan, and Captain America spends his time trying to reign him in, and remind him that this not the way to fight a battle if one wanted to win.

This issue also manages to do a pretty convincing job of convincing me that Spider-Man needed to take a moment to discuss strategy with Captain America, as there's only so many time one can watch a character throw themselves at a brick wall before one start to openly wonder why they don't take a moment to locate the door. I'll concede that Spider-Man is a great hero for pulling himself up off the mat, and get back in the fight in spite of a mountain of evidence that he's fighting a battle he can't possibly win, but this issue makes the character look like an idiot for continually rushing forward into battle with no plan of attack, and having Captain America standing on the sidelines reminding him that his frontal attacks are not going to work only serve to reinforce the idea that Spider-Man is extremely slow when it comes to grasping a fairly obvious problem. The abrupt defeat of the villain also left me a bit cold.

I suppose it's an adjustment that I'm going to have to make as the process where the inkers are left out of the creative process seems to have become more than an occasional occurrence. However, no matter how many times I see this style of art I find myself looking at the art and finding it looking a bit fuzzy. I mean to me the inker serves to tighten up the pencils, and add an extra level of detail that seems to be lacking when the coloring process is used over pencilled art. I like Michael Ryan's art, but his work on this issue simply doesn't look right, and there's also a couple moments where the characters bodies simply don't look properly proportioned (e.g. Spider-Man's arms on the final page.



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