Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #519

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This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

Charlie Weiderman has burned Peter and Mary Jane's apartment, and burned down Aunt May's house...

In Detail...

"Moving Up"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #519
Jun 2005 : SMURF 519.500 : SM Title
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) #10

Peter agonizes over the fact that it was because of Peter Parker's mistake, not Spider-Man's, that Aunt May's house has now been destroyed. As he dwells in self pity, and Mary Jane tries to pull him out of it, Tony Stark pulls up in a limo, and tells Peter that he wants him and his family to move in Avengers Tower.

Peter tries to say no, as Tony insists, when Mary Jane notices that Aunt May has disappeared into the rubble. Peter goes after her, worried that she is in shock, to find her looking around in the rubble. May scolds Peter, telling him she's not in shock, but looking for something. She explains that just in case of a fire, she had put something underneath the bed, so that in event of a fire, the mattress would smolder and fall on anything under it. She reveals her photo album, complete with pictures of Ben, Peter, and Peter's wedding day, and says that "this is all I need. Nothing else matters. The fire can have the rest."

Peter, Mary Jane, May and Tony Stark ride the elevator up Avengers Tower, and when the elevator stops, they are greeted by Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, and Captain America. Captain America immediately greets May, and makes her feel comfortable, as Wolverine sizes up Mary Jane and pokes fun of her being with Peter. Jarvis then walks May to her room, and the two start to hit it off. With May taken care of, Peter and MJ make themselves comfortable in their new, yet supposedly temporary, digs.

Across town, a drunk wannabe crime lord cavorts with his female companion for the evening, not realizing she's drugging him so that she can find out where his stolen and laundered money is coming from. However, she's shot from behind, and the drunk crime lord is tied up and abducted.

The same man, and four similar men, wake up tied and gagged, listening to a voice on speaker, telling them that they ruined the organization, and that they are but men of great ambition and small dreams polluting the organization for the worst. The mirror which faces them rises, And five Hydra agents with guns fire at them, killing them all. The voice speaks of Phase One now being complete, now that troublesome lieutenants have been eliminated, and bank accounts transferred. Sleeper Hydra Agents are reactivated as part of phase two.

The speaker reveals that Hydra has invested long years in creating men of equal or greater power to their enemies. He reveals that they finally have the might to take on their enemies. The speaker stands before the cadres of Hydra, and commands "Hail Hydra!"

In General...

This issue was extremely uneven. The first half was extremely well done, seamlessly moving the Parker family from apartments and small houses in Forest Hills to a luxurious apartment in Avengers Tower. All of the characters are written in character, and the addition of Captain America and the New Avengers does not feel forced, but instead fairly organic, an evolutionary step.

The interactions between May and Captain America, and Edwin Jarvis, are logical, and very fun to read. It's at times almost comical, as Captain America easily converses with Peter's aunt, but it's much more interesting to see May's interactions with the Avengers' faithful butler, Edwin Jarvis. The possibilities are really quite enticing, regarding a relationship between Jarvis and May, and the seeds for such a relationship are quite well planted here.

Mary Jane is really well written here as well, as she supports Peter, and picks him up when he's feeling down, showing him the bright side when he's too mired in his own gloom to see it. It works well, and isn't too over the top, although his sexual advances seem a little out of nowhere given the preceding pages.

The unevenness in the story has to do with the use of Hydra. The Hydra sub-plot is actually extremely well written and illustrated, but the problem is that it doesn't feel natural at all. There isn't a good transition to this part of the issue, and it just feels like too drastic a departure in mood and content. It's well written and illustrated, but just doesn't feel like a natural extension of the rest of the issue.

The art by Deodato Jr. is really good in this issue, particularly in the Hydra scenes. They are dark and menacing, with the new Hydra Leader being appropriately hulking and scary looking. The art really fits the tone of thie book, particularly the second half with Hydra.

Overall Rating...

The issue doesn't flow well between the two major components, which really takes away from the enjoyment of the issue. The lack of smooth transition, as well as the total change in mood and atmosphere, really take away from the enjoyment of this issue.