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Amazing Spider-Man #520

Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"Acts of Aggression"

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils: Mike Deodato
Inks: Joe Pimentel
Colors: Matt Milla
Letters: VC's Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
$2.25 U.S. / $3.25 CAN

Plot:
As the new leadership of Hydra sets it's sinister plan into motion which involves the use of fake versions of established heroes, we see at the Avengers headquarters Aunt May is busy making herself at home, much to the displeasure of Logan who discovers Aunt May isn't buying into his tough guy act. As Hydra's superpowered minions are unleashed on the city we see the Avengers race into action, but it's Spider-Man who's able to figure out the true goal behind these attacks.

Comments:
This issue features the battle that the entirety of Marvel fandom has been demanding for the better part of three decades. Yes it's a showdown for the ages as in one corner we have the king of the crazed mindless fury, Wolverine, while in the other corner we have the grand Madame of supporting characters, Aunt May. Now truth be told no matter how much hyperbole I use to sell this encounter, it still sounds like a silly plot device, but I have to say it's good to see J. Michael Straczynski has so fully embraced the new status quo of Spider-Man's world, as frankly scenes like the one I mentioned above and the opening exchange between Jarvis and Aunt May are the reason why I'm quite enamoured with Spider-Man's inclusion in the Avengers line-up. If nothing else it's good to see Aunt May being given more to do than play the dotting mother hen to Peter, and a supportive ear that Mary Jane can express her concerns to. If nothing else this issue makes it pretty clear that J. Michael Straczynski has fully embraced the change, as I don't expect Spider-Man's membership in the Avengers strong-armed him into to picking up his cast of characters and move them into the Avengers Tower. If nothing else previous solo titles of characters that were also Avengers have taken that extra step of establishing a life apart from the Avengers. In fact moving "Amazing Spider-Man" so completely under the Avengers umbrella makes the title a bit of a novelty, as the Spider-Man titles have survived on their own for pretty much their entire run, so it makes for a refreshing change of pace. As for the action I have to say the battle between Spider-Man and the false Hawkeye wasn't nearly as much fun as I'd been hoping for, but it is nice to see Peter was able to figure out what Hydra was up to by using the reporter instincts that he's picked up over the years.

It's become pretty clear that Mike Deodato's work is at it's best when he's delivering the out-of-costume aspects of the story, as when he's called upon to deliver the action sequences, the art comes across as a little flat, and the battles lack the proper sense of energy. I mean his work on the opening sequence as Aunt May wakes up to start another day was a great little sequence, and how can one not love her expression when she decides to give Jarvis a day off. The big confrontation scene between Logan and Aunt May is also a lot of fun thanks largely to the reaction panels that follow Aunt May's efforts. The art also does a pretty nice job of selling the underlying danger of that final page revelation without coming right out and showing the readers what the threat is. I do wish this title would show a little more imagination when it comes to it's covers though, as the continual shots of Spider-Man moving though the city are getting old. I'm also not quite sold on the new cover logo, though I understand the reasoning behind it, as getting back into 7-11 does require a logo design that plays to the way the comics are likely to be displayed in the stores.



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