Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #510

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This story is part of an Arc: "Sins Past"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Peter has recieved a mysterious letter from Gwen Stacy and some strangers have started to terrorise his civilian life..

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #510
Sep 2004 : SMURF 510.500 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "Sins Past"
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils:  Mike Deodato, Jr.
Inker:  Joe Pimentel
Cover Art:  Mike Deodato, Jr.
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Amazing) #8
Articles: Gabriel Stacy, Stacy, Sarah

The issue begins with Pete and MJ going over what they already know of their recent trouble. Is there a reason for the letter to have appeared now? Why are two people trying to kill Peter Parker? Are they connected? They examine the letter again and the mystery it represents. MJ discovers that the letter has impressions on the back from where the second page must've rested when it was written. Pete thanks here and thinks its worth following up.

At breakfast Aunt May hands Peter another package that was left for him. Pete opens it to discover photos of May and MJ accompanied by people who's heads have been removed from the photo. With the photos is a note: "We can kill them whenever we want". Peter hides the contents from MJ and May.

Peter then takes off as Spidey, visits Detective Lamont and asks him to use police resources to find out what the second page of the letter says. Spidey takes steps to ensure the first page can't be read and even threatens Lamont, so that his true identity won't be compromised.

Spidey then calls MJ to check to see she's ok. He then tries calling May at Anna's house. Instead of May or Anna answering, another voice does, apparently the guy from the graveyard attack last issue. He reveals that he knows Peter Parker and Spidey are one and the same. He threatens to kill May if Spidey doesn't reach a certain warehouse within 11 minutes. Spidey takes off...

Meanwhile we see a telephone repairman leave Anna's house saying he won't stay for lemonade because he has somewhere to be in 9 minutes.

Back to Spidey. He realises he's proably walking into a trap but jumps headfirst into in the warehouse anyway, because he's so worried for May. He hears a noise and sees someone who could be may tied to a chair. Approaches and instead finds a dummy strapped with explosives and a timer with 5 seconds remaining. He tries to escape the building, but is caught in the blast. As he lies hurt from the blast, the black clad guy from the graveyard appears and starts beating on him. Between blows, Spidey asks why he's doing this, he doesn't even know who he is. This infuriates the attacker who loses control and promises he's going to kill Spidey. He stops though as his female partner arrives and calls his name: Gabriel. She reminds him of their deal. Gabriel reveals how they're going to first ruin Peter's life and ten finally kill him. They leave as Spidey finally loses consciousness from his injuries.

Spidey's mind flashes back again to those days when Gwen returned from Europe and before she died. He recalls how there was something worrying Gwen and how she did seem to be trying to tell him something, but that with all the drama happening around that time, she never actually got the time to reveal all...

Back in the concious world, Spidey pulls himself together and returns to Detective Lamont. The police were able to recover parts of the letter. From the pieces of text revealed it seems that Gwen went to Europe because she was pregnant and gave birth to twins: Gabriel and Sarah. Spidey makes the connection to his two previously unknown attackers and hangs his head in despair...

In General...

Well... what can you say about a story like this? The plot developments are pretty bold to say the least! I don't know what to think really. I'm not sure I'm happy with the revelations, if they are what they appear. But, its definitely got me reeling. JMS has left plenty of holes though, like the incomplete letter, so that he can change things a bit. I hope he does change things from what they appear to be becuase otherwise I can see some pretty big holes.

If we are to believe that Gwen and Pete's twin children have come to get revenge on the father who abandoned them and the guy who killed their mother, the that's really stretching things a bit. First of all its hard to believe that Gwen and Pete were sleeping with each other. Sure they were deeply in love, but it really doesn't fit their characters. Always pictured them as a sex only after marriage pair. Secondly, I can't believe Gwen would've left her children in Europe while she returned to tell their father. Next, there are big age problems. I'm pretty sure that Marvel still want us to believe that Pete is still in his mid to late twenties, early thirties at the very most. To have children the age they seem now, from that period in his life, he'd have to be aged around thrity-five to fourty! SO, I really hope that this isn't the path JMS is taking. I hope its just a decoy. I don't know what the answer would really turn out to be or even if it would be a good answer, but the more I think about the current "obvious" answer just seems worse and worse.

There are other holes appearing in the plot. For instance, I can't believe that Aunt May and MJ wouldn't want to know what was in the package Pete recieved at the start. Also, if Gabriel does look like Pete, which seems to be the case, surely Aunt May would've noticed when they met. It also seems a bit silly that Gabriel and Sarah want to screw up Pete's life before killing him. Isn't that the Green Goblin's thing? Isn't that what the clone saga was all about? I've liked JMS's more realistic approach to Spidey and his superheroics, this seem to be tired way of plotting jsut so you can draw things out.

Deodato Jr, does fine this issue. I didn't find the art quite as dark or shadow overly used. It's still certainly darker than Jonh Romita Jr's work, but I like it. Faces and human emotions continue to a strength. His Spidey is okay.

I guess I've given this issue a bit of a bashing in some ways. I did enjoy it though and I like the fact that the storyline has gotten me stirred up a bit. JMS promised that his Ezekiel stories were going to 'shake Spidey's world'. Well in my opinion they didn't, but this storyline sure seems set to. The fact that the craft involved is top notch (as far as dialogue and art) is making it quite enjoyable. I guess it all really depends on how it plays out.

Overall Rating...

Some possible holes starting to appear, but enjoyable all the same.