Comics : American Son #4

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This review was first published on: Sep 2010.


Harry Osborn has been trying to carry on with a normal life after the events of Amazing Spider-Man #595-59, in which be became the superhero American Son, and the recent events of Siege which has seen his father, Norman Osborn, imprisoned for his actions and stripped of his powerful role as head of HAMMER. Unfortunately it’s not going very well…

Harry has been shot by Gabriel Stacy! He was saved by American Son but no-one is sure who American Son actually is…

In an attempt to find out, Harry visits Norman, with Front Line reporter Norah Winters. He learns that Gabriel is his half-brother and then outs him to the press.

Meanwhile, Gabriel, whose split personality is the heroic American Son, kidnaps Norah. Spidey, Harry and The FBI track him down to a standoff! Spidey smashes the American Son helmet, killing the heroic side of Gabriel! Only the villainous one remains…!

In Detail...

"American Slayed"
American Son #4
Oct 2010 : SM Spin-Off
Summary: Harry Osborn vs. American Son/Gabriel Stacy
Editor:  Tom Brennan
Writer:  Brian Reed
Pencils:  Chad Hardin, Phillipe Briones, Stephen Segovia
Cover Art:  Marko Djurdjevic
Staff Only
Articles: Gabriel Stacy, Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Winters, Norah

Spider-Man lands on a police car but recovers to save a SWAT Team from a booby trapped door!

Inside the former hideout of Normal Osborn, Gabriel Stacy (American Son) hears the explosion and flies outside to wage war on the gathering police and FBI! He shoots down a helicopter but Spidey is able to catch it in his webs.

Gabriel returns to find Harry tinkering with some computers and Norah Winters escaped through a secret passageway. Harry begins to infuriate Gabriel even more and they begin to fight! Gabriel smashes and shoots Harry but Harry is prepared. When Gabriel touches him, Harry deactivates the American Son armour via voice command, leaving Gabriel exposed! Harry knocks him out, knowing that he doesn’t need his daddy to win his battles for him! Spidey swings in, Agent Owen appears and they all leave the place, and the American Son armour, to burn…

A few days later: Norah pays Harry a visit at The Coffee Bean, thanking him for his story. She confronts him about his pills and he explains that he’s now sorted his life out…

That night, Harry continues taking his pills…

Norman Osborn receives information regarding recent events. He learns that Gabriel has “accidentally” been transferred to a lower security unit… and that the American Son armour was recovered… and delivered to him!

In his cell, the American Son armour talks to Gabriel once again…

In General...

It’s definite; this is a bad means to an end… that provides no end. Lovely as this is for continuity, and bringing Gabriel Stacy back into the grand scheme of things, the fact that no noteworthy conclusion is reached makes this final issue a poor one.

Redeeming factors, much like previous issues, are there but hard to find. The action is well scripted and allows Spidey and Harry their own moments of heroism. Phillipe Briones’ art delivers great energy and drama, capturing these key moments with style. Gabriel vs. Harry is pretty powerful as well, making use of clever panelling and storytelling. Looking forward to the forthcoming Osborn series, I like how Brian Reed uses Norman as an architect from prison, manipulating events outside as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin has done so well.

However, the scene with the videotape, clearly given time last issue to show it was doctored, wasn’t. This shows a complete lack of clarity and point to Reed’s storytelling here, leaving me unfulfilled and frankly clueless to the waste of space.

On top of that, we need three artists to complete it (that’s 4 across a four-issue series). Not a strong visual finish at all.

Its things like this that have let this series down and not allowed the secondary cast to succeed as primary characters.

Overall Rating...

The conclusion follows the rest of the series – plenty of potential but the execution fails to deliver. Ultimately, this has simply moved characters, not developed them which could have been done a lot easier than this.

It is a pity that Briones’ art is filled by others, as his sequences remain very strong.

When supporting characters have a series dedicated to them, just as a hint for the next time, something important has to happen with clarity and involvement.