Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #512

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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 has been terrorised by two strangers who are Gwen's children. But, who's the father? MJ has the answer and is about to tell all...

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #512
Nov 2004 : SMURF 512.500 : SM Title
Arc: Part 4 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 (FB), Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn) (FB), Stacy, Sarah (FB)

MJ reveals to Pete that she has knows who the father is and that Gwen had kids, but has kept it hidden all theses years. Pete's upset at her for hidng this secret and she explains that at first it was because she promised Gwen and then after thought it was better left unsaid.

Then MJ relates the details: basically, before Gwen went to Europe, she visited Norman for some reason and found him in an emotional mess, but some inner strength and magnetism attracted her to him and before she knew it whoops! And next she knows she is pregnant! So, distressed about the whole situation she scoots off to Europe where the twins are born fully grown after a 7 month pregnancy. So, Gwen comes back to the USA to sort things out and tell Peter. But, when she gets back Harry is having drug problems and she ends up nursing him with MJ, as Norman refuses to help him. Gwen argues with Norman and refuses to give him the kids and tries to blackmail him into helping Harry by threatening to go public about the whole situation. Gwen is a little worried about the early birth though and asks NOrman if he'd know why. Norman just said that it's their special Osborn blood. Norman wants the kids bad and makes some threatening statements. But, Gwen tells him she plans to raise them with Peter then leaves. MJ was outside the door and heard the conversation, so Gwen tells her the rest and swears her to secrecy. Then Pete arrives on the scene and they all decide to get out of the house. As they leave MJ goes back in and slaps Osborn. While outside Gwen starts to build up to telling Peter, but decides there is time for it later when MJ returns and interrupts.

Returning from the flashback, Pete reflects that it all makes sense now. Why Gwen left for Europe mysteriously, why the Goblin picked Gwen as a target, why the Goblin hid in Europe after his apparant death, why the Goblin has been obessessed with Peter and making him part of the "family" and why the kids aged quickly and have super-human powers. But, as Peter agonises over the fact that Gwen and Norman had sex, it drives him nuts and he starts smashing furniture until MJ calms him down and collapses, crying in MJ's arms.

In the morning they discuss what to do know. Peter decides that he has to help Gwen's children. He realises that they are going to die because of their rapid aging and decides that he has to help, even if they want him dead...

In General...

Oh man! What do I say about this! First of all, let me say I hate the idea of what this means for Gwen's character, it doesn't seem to fit and is really abhorrent. Those panels in which Gwen is depicted bedding down with Norman, make me feel sick to the stomach. On the other hand this is a very well thought (as far as how it all fits together, if not the consequences) out and very well executed comic. It definitely had me riveted right to the end and drew me emotionally into the story. I don't think I've ever read another comic that has played on my emotions so much. I was still reeling and coming to terms with this comic days after reading it. I mean its only a comic and eventhough I love comics and must admit to a obsession with Spider-Man, comics really don't play that big a part of my everyday life. But, after reading this comic, it really impacted me.

As a result of these conflicting feelings, I find it really hard to know what exactly to say. I guess I'm really hoping that there's more to be revealed and that the Goblin used some potion, gas or hypnotizing technique to seduce Gwen. That way it wouldn't besmirch Gwen's character. That way this story would sit perfectly fine with me and my praises would pour forth. But, from the way it's presented, I really don't think its going to go that way at all. Which is a shame, messing with Gwen this way is really sad.

I do like some of the implications of this though and how it links in with the Goblin's motivations for what he has done. It almost makes it look like this was planned from the beggining and that this storyline was in mind way back when Stan Lee was writing. But, since we know it definitely wasn't in Stan's mind, full credit has got to go to JMS. And he definitely deserves some congratulations, for not only writing an engaging read, but pulling of a continuity feat with only minor retcons.

Mike Deodata Jr. does some truly excellent work, and for the first time I think that this story wouldn't have been able to be pulled off with John Romita Jr on pencils. It's Mike's art that really conveys the horror of what Peter must be feeling and makes the reader feel the same. Top job.

Overall Rating...

I really hate what this does to Gwen, but I can't deny the superb craft at work here, nor the way I was drawn into the story so fully. This could be a perfect 5, if Gwen's character wasn't so mis-represented. But, in other creative team's hands it could of been alot worse as well. So four webs.