Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #503

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This story is part of an Arc: "Chasing a Dark Shadow"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Recently Spider-Man was involved in some inter-dimensional nonsense with Dr. Strange involving the return of Dormmamu and the imminent end of the world. Part of this involved an inter-deimensional portal being opened and some things not going quite as planned when closing.

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #503
Mar 2004 : SMURF 503.500 : SM Title
Summary: Loki
Arc: Part 1 of "Chasing a Dark Shadow"
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  Fiona Avery, J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr.
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Amazing) #7

Here's what basically happens. An inter-dimesional bad girl named Morwen was released through the inter-dimensional tom-foolery that Spidey and Doc Strange got up too. She possessed the body of an innocenty women and has now finally gained dominance over her new mortal residence.

Of course Morwen is happy to be on earth and use her chaotic mystical powers. So happy that she wants to thank Spider-Man for helping causing the ruckus that led to her escape from inter-dimensional nothingness. She tracks down Spidey and promises to give him great mystical power in thanks. He refuses and Morwen informs him the only other option is that she kills him! So she proposes that she will drop by later after he has taken the time to consider her offer...

Meanwhile, it seems that Morwen's presence is of interest to other mystical beings. In particular good old Loki, evil godly brother to Thor. So, Loki makes the long trek to earth, he and Spidey duke it out for a little while, before settling on the idea of cooperating to bring Morwen down.

While the boys are playing though, Morwen is out having fun of her own. You see she's a chaotic mystical power. So in keeping with her nature, she hands out high powered guns to thugs in a gun battle, then sits back to watch the sparks fly!

Cue next issue....

In General...

Last time Fiona Avery joined JMS on co-plotting and scripting I quite enjoyed it. Sure the arc got a little lost at the end, but the start was very very good. This time around I'm not all that impressed. Maybe its my frame of mind, but this issue just seems really ho-hum. Not particularly bad, but far from good.

First of all, all the attempts at humour just seem to fall a little flat this issue. From Spidey's quips to Loki walking around as a child. I mean I know Spidey's constant quips and talking is supposed to become annoying for the villain, but I thought the reader was supposed to find it entertaining! Instead I found myself getting annoyed at Spidey.

Loki's appearance and involvement is a bit of a mixed bag. I like some of the ways he is portrayed. Like the fact that Spidey's punches do nothing to him. This to me seems realistic. On the other hand, he generally seems way out of character. He seems much too calm and altruistic for a god of mischief. And of course in keeping with Marvel's current approach to continuity, Spidey and Loki's shared history seems to be basically ignored. Last I remember, Spidey and Thor faced off against Loki in the pages of Peter Parker: Spider-Man v2.#2. I don't expect this to be specifically referenced, but I do expect that Spidey would be able to remember enough about Loki that he knows he's an enemy and totally untrustworthy. I mean how could Spidey and Loki really team up? Only if one is brainwashed and the other out of chracter that's how! If you want to do a story like this, then why bother using Loki? Pick someone else that would fit better, but if you have to change a characters traits and make your hero look like a tool to make your story work, then maybe it would just be easier for us all if a different character was picked! I'm not blaming Fiona Avery or JMS necessarily, this is what editor's are employed for. But, hey this a general Marvel policy lately, who am I to complain.

On the good side, John Romita Jr is on pencils!

Overall Rating...

Not truly horrible by a long shot. Maybe I should got revisit some Howard Mackie stories, then re-read this. I'm sure it'll get 5 stars then. (in other words, who am I to complain, it could be much, much worse).