Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #533

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This story is part of an Arc: "The War at Home"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

In the wake of the New Warriors fight against Nitro and other villains in Stamford, a Civil War is brewing, as the Superhuman Registration Act is passed. Tony Stark, Peter's current employer, asks Peter to stand with him, and to reveal his identity as Spider-Man. Unsure of whether or not he should do it, Peter consults with his family, and decides to do what he used to regard as unthinkable, and reveal his identity to the public...

In Detail...

"The Night the War Came Home"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #533
Aug 2006 : SMURF 533.500 : SM Title
Summary: Spider-Man Unmasks
Arc: Part 2 of "The War at Home"
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils:  Ron Garney
Inker:  Bill Reinhold
Cover Art:  Ron Garney
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 Reprinted In: Civil War Chronicles #2
Articles: Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn) (Cameo)

Peter stands before the assembled Press Corps, with his mask off, Tony Stark standing beside him. As he gives the Press Conference, J. Jonah Jameson sits in his office, watching the Conference, chewing nicotine gum. He tells Robbie Robertson about how he finally decided to give up smoking, and how he always thought he could trust Peter Parker, that he was a good guy, and how he feels betrayed now that Peter's secret identity has come out. Jameson is angry, and throws his ashtray at the wall, and he asks Robbie if he knew at all about this. Jameson decides he will get back at Peter, if only to save the credibility of the Daily Bugle.

Back in Washington, Peter is in the bathroom throwing up as Tony waits outside. Tony tries to empathize with Peter, but Peter tells Tony he doesn't know what it's like because he doesn't have a family to worry about. Peter makes Tony swear that he'll protect May and Mary Jane if anything ever happens to him. As the two men leave the building, they are swamped with press, protestors and supporters. Peter takes a limo to the airport, and while there he calls Mary Jane, and receives a call from Mr. Fantastic. As he juggles both phone calls, he ends up playing telephone relay between the two, before webbing both phones next to each other on the ceiling of the car, so they can carry on their own conversation.

After the flight, Peter gtes off the plane and is met by Pierce McPherson, a lawyer representing the Daily Bugle, who serves him a letter detailing that he will be subject to a lawsuit by the Daily Bugle for, amongst other things, Misrepresentation, Fraud and Breach of Contract. As Peter returns to Avengers Tower, and again is ambushed by the Press, a broadcast on TV discusses what the average reaction to the unveiling is like to typical New Yorkers, as the scene shows images of Flash Thompson watching, Eddie Brock in a hospital bed, Doc Ock watching in an abandoned warehouse, and Vulture watching sinisterly from an undisclosed location. There's a varied reaction to this event from all across the superpowered spectrum of heroes/villains.

Peter watches a press conference with Tony Stark, where Stark addresses the fact that those who don't submit to the registration act will be dealt with and apprehended. He details that the initial strike team will include Reed Richards, Henry Pym and Spider-Man, much to Peter's surprise as he didn't sign off on the idea. Peter and MJ walk out the back of Avengers Tower to get some air and do some thinking, when the Mob surrounds them, and a Captain America booster pulls a gun on Peter and Mary Jane. Peter manages to web up the gun before the shot is made, and the two return inside. Spider-Man confronts Tony about not telling him about being part of the strike force, and Tony apologizes and tells Spider-Man that to prevent the dying tomorrow, they need to fight and apprehend those who break the law today, as he introduces him to the rest of the growing strike force.

In General...

Straczynski has done an excellent job of portraying Stark fairly evenly, and fairly, more so than he has been in many other tie-ins and the main Civil War mini-series itself. Last issue was a look at Peter making the decision and slowly deciding on it, and this issue features the aftermath, as he now has to deal with a totally different status quo. Straczynski does a brilliant job of showing just what happens when a controversial figure like Spider-Man admits his identity, with two different camps celebrating and denouncing him. Some of the best Spider-Man stories have been ones where he's a fish out of water and dealing with a change in status quo, and this is a pretty major one. It's great to see him having to deal with such a monumental change, and Straczynski handles it quite well. There are some great easter egg bits as well, with the appearance of Eddie Brock (alive, even if not necessarily well), and the Captain America fan's costumed regalia.

The art by Garney is a lot stronger than it was last issue, with some great representations of the characters, although at times the art does seem a tad stiffer than I would have liked. But for the most part it's still a well-illustrated piece of work, with the artwork conveying the appropriate emotions for the story.

Overall Rating...

A very engaging and interesting story coupled with improved artwork make this issue a solid 4-webber in my book. Although there are those that think unmasking Spidey takes away from his uniqueness and takes away a core element of the character, I think that it presents some fascinating new avenues of storytelling, which Straczynski will be able to implement and play with.