Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #530

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This story is part of an Arc: "Mr. Parker Goes To Washington"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

Peter Parker has accepted Tony Stark's offer to become his protege, and his second. It's a full-time position with Stark, and his first task is to accompany Tony to Washington where he's going to be discussing the proposed Superhuman Registration Act...

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #530
May 2006 : SMURF 530.500 : SM Title
Summary: Road To Civil War
Arc: Part 2 of "Mr. Parker Goes To Washington"
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils:  Tyler Kirkham
Inker:  Jay Leisten
Cover Art:  Ron Garney
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 Reprinted In: Civil War: Decisions

Peter meets Tony at an airstrip, as the two prepare to get on Stark's jet to Washington. Tony has just returned from a midnight meeting with the rest of the Illuminati, as detailed in the recent one-shot, New Avengers: Illuminati. Once in the plane and in the air, Tony shows Peter the proposed Superhuman Registration Act, and explains to him just what the act would entail. Tony tells Peter that although he thinks the Bill presents a good and valid point, he's going to Washington to try and talk the Senate out of it.

Once in Washington, Peter goes to his hotel room and tries on the new suit which Tony has left for him. It's an upgraded model from the one he tried on last issue. The costume can mroe or less disappear when not needed thanks to Stark's technology, or change it's appearance to Spider-Man's classic look if he wishes. The new suit also comes with the 3 protrusions from the back.

Peter then gets into a limo with Tony, as the Titanium Man contemplates taking a shot at their limo, but decides not to.

Tony and Peter go the Senate Committee discussing the proposed bill, and Peter is introduced to the committee. The Committee presents details of the dollar value of all the property damage which resulted from superhero battles since 1946. Stark counters with the number of times superheroes have prevented the US from being vaporized, conquered or nuked to the stone age. The Senator expands upon his point, mentioning that superheroes should be held accountable for their actions, just like doctors, and should have to register in order to practice. Stark doesn't have an answer for that, so Peter pipes up. Peter mentions his beliefs on power and responsibility, and how the superheroes' families would be at risk if they were to unmask and register. Peter speaks the truth about what he thinks about responsibility and why heroes do what they do, only to have a rebuttle which strikes down his points. Peter apologizes to Stark, who gives him a lesson in how to respond to lawyers, etc.

Peter talks to Mary Jane on the phone during a recess, and tells her about his blunder. Just then, Peter's spider-sense goes off, as Titanium Man gets him in his sights. Peter goes back into the hearing, which lasts for four hours and fifteen minutes. As it wraps up, Stark speaks to the Senate on how the act, if passed, could turn patriots into criminals, and split the superhero community. The Senate decides to recess until the following day. Peter and Stark leave the Senate and are intereviewed on TV, which is being watched by Reed Richards and Sue Storm. Peter's spider-sense blares, and he knocks down Tony, to protect him from a shot. Titanium Man touches down on the steps of the Senate, and declares he's there to kill Stark. Peter webs his face, turns into Spider-Man, and jumps onto Titanium Man. Titanium Man backs into a wall, smashing Spider-Man into it. Spider-Man punches Titanium Man, then jumps out of the way as the military arrives and takes shots at the two of them. The bullets ricochet off of Titanium Man, as he flies off, and Spider-Man webs his back and hitches a ride.

In General...

The story is pretty good, all in all, although at times a tad preachy. The Senate's argument would have been better presented if one of the characters didn't obviously have it out for Tony, given how the dialogue was written by Straczynski. The relationship between Tony and Peter is an interesting one, of mentor and mentee, and a nice touch. Tony's someone that Peter can relate to on a scientific level and on a super-hero level, which is a rare combination. He looks up to the man, who's given him so much, a job, a place to live for his entire family, and now a new costume. It's a fairly organic development, which feeds nicely into Spider-Man's upcoming choice of side in the Civil War which this issue leads up till. I appreciate the continuity between FF and Amazing Spider-Man, although it means the timeframe for everything is very tight. This issue has Tony returning from the meeting, and the only continuity slip is that it's a workday later that he and Peter are seen on TV, which Reed watches right when he comes back from the meeting, which would have been hours earlier, but I suppose that's nitpicking.

The artwork is just atrocious. The in-costume stuff is passable and almost good, in some cases, but the work on facial expressions leaves a lot to be desired. It's inconsistent, and half the time Peter looks like a little kid, which is horribly inaccurate.

Overall Rating...

Honestly, the story is a very good one, I'd say worth of 4 webs, but the artwork is worthy of only a 2, and that's me being generous. Overall, it evens out at an average 3 webs. If you're one of those readers who can bypass artwork and not really care about it, you'll really like this issue. But if you need good artwork to appreciate a story, this one might be hard to swallow.