Plot: Harry Osborn visits his ex-wife Liz Allen and gets into a brawl with his former brother-in-law, the Molten Man.
Comments: I’ve been quite content with Amazing Spider-Man since “Brand New Day” started more than a year ago. Save for little niggles here and there, no one issue or story arc ever deterred me from buying the next. ASM #582 came close.
Why? Mike McKone’s art. Although I have enjoyed his run on the series before, this issue is just bad. First, McKone doesn’t capture the immediacy of the scene. In the very first panel, Molten Man declares Harry a “dead man” as he and Liz look on in fear. Harry and Liz’s reactions seem delayed, as if a big red guy made of lava didn’t just threaten to kill the person standing in front of him. Besides having no tension whatsoever, the panel is so obviously bizarre that it pulls you out of the story. In the first panel!
Second, Spider-Man’s anatomy. There are a few great poses of the Ol’ Webhead here, but the remainder is mind bogglingly awful. At times, Spidey has an oversized head, unnatural short arms, no shins, or all of the above. The character looks dumpy and unrealistic, despite McKone attention to detail in the background.
Lastly, Spider-gymnastics and poor layout. When Spidey jumps out to surprise attack Molty, both his arms and legs are in front of him. The position of his body doesn’t make sense initially, as in the next panel he rams his shoulder into the lava man’s back. Surely he would be in position for a drop kick or punch, not a shoulder ram. Turn the page 45 degrees, and the Spidey’s position becomes plausible. Due to the angle of the Spidey’s body, you can’t discern at the outset what is going on in this fight. Not only is the movement of his figures hard to follow, but his layout as well.
The only redeeming feature is the final page. Harry and Pete sit on the curb after the battle and summarize the events of the story arc. Slott’s dialogue is organic and genuinely warm, making whatever reasons for bringing Harry back from the dead the right ones.
Final Word: Move ahead and buy the next issue.
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