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Amazing Spider-Man #547

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2008
By: Ariel Carmona, Jr.

Dan Slott
Steve McNiven, Morry Hollowell (c)
Marvel Comics
I had already resolved to take Amazing Spider-Man off my pull list. I absolutely refused to read Marvel’s hyped up “One More Day” event even though I immensely enjoyed the “Back in Black” storyline which preceded it. I was not only insulted by the company’s blatant attempt to extort an extra dollar from me for a title I was enjoying, but more so for their unscrupulous ploy to try and deceive readers into thinking they were paying $4 all along with their false cover claim, “Still only $3.99.”

Now that the title has gone into its three times a month schedule and the pivotal issues depicting Mephisto’s involvement with Aunt May and MJ’s fate have been released, surprise, surprise the title has gone back to its regular $2.99 cover price.

Regardless of financial considerations, there were other flaws with “One More Day”. For example, from reading a summary of prior issues online (remember I refused to buy the comics) I learned that MJ told Mephisto that she would only accept his terms if Peter’s secret identity was restored. This was a completely pointless thing to do considering Dan Slott had already furnished a completely logical and viable reason for Peter to resume his secret identity in Avengers: Intitiative. Essentially, doubt had been replanted in the public’s mind regarding Spidey’s true identity by his interaction with Tony Stark and the Scarlet Spiders in that issue. Apparently Spidey’s writers didn’t read Avengers: Intitiative or editorial didn’t synchronize on this subplot.

Speaking of editorial decisions which sucked, it’s been rumored long ago that the Marvel brass were unhappy with Spidey’s nuptials and were plotting to get him unmarried by any means possible, so was it really surprising to anyone that the events of “One More Day” would develop the way they did? I would imagine not, but it was still weak on execution on their part.

Not only is the marriage dissolved, but the entire comic is retconned in a major way. But this isn’t a thesis on the pros and cons of Marvel’s nonsensical decisions regarding its flagship character, so let’s get right down to this issue. Despite my obvious objections with OMD, I actually am enjoying “Brand New Day” and I am sure a big reason why is Dan Slott’s writing. He has a refreshing take on the character and he’s given Spider-Man a powerful reoccurring villain in the Negative Man.

Steve McNiven’s style is a step up on the artistic front, I’ve enjoyed his work since Civil War and his ability to draw crowded scenes will come in handy when Spidey has to take on multiple bad guys, as he’s done in the past. I only wish that “panelitis syndrome” (characterized by full page spreads or double trucks) doesn’t creep in too much as most people should know how I feel about it by now.

Even though Marvel seems bent on making Spidey, single, hip, young and relevant again (they don’t come out and say it, but they do use phrases like “Our boy Peter”) there’s a whole old school vibe going on with the writing and the entire enterprise actually harkens back to older days with the inclusion of the letters page, editorial comments in the captions and Peter hanging out with Harry again.

Although it is weird to see that without Gwen or M.J. in the picture. That’s part of the problem, that all the effort and work which went into progressing the character and taking him into a mature stage in his life has gone out the proverbial window for the sake of expanding story possibilities. This “Brand New Day” seems like we’ve been there, done that, but at least Slott throws in enough interesting story elements (The Spider burglar, the missing webshooter, a new Lemurian tablet) to keep the plot moving, unlike previous issues of the title which felt static and repetitive. Spidey is my all time favorite Marvel hero and one of the major reasons I love comics, so I am sticking with him for the time being, at least until they majorly screw up his book again.



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