Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #534

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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...

Spider-Man has revealed his identity to the world and sided with Iron Man's Pro Registration Forces. After a massive conflict with the Opposition, the hero Goliath was killed in battle by a clone of Thor. There were prisoners captured, and they need to be moved to a more permanent detainment facility...

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #534
Sep 2006 : SMURF 534.500 : SM Title
Summary: Civil War
Arc: Part 3 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 #5

Tony Stark sums up the events of the major battle which occurred in Civil War #3 and #4, as the Pro Registration Forces prepare to move some prisoners across town to a more secure holding facility. As the team breaks, and gets ready to escort the convoy, Peter puts his mask on and gets ready to follow his orders and guard the convoy. Spider-Man stays with the convoy on the ground, and Iron Man tells him that he's there so that he can warn the others of possible danger he might sense with the spider sense. Peter realizes that he never told Tony this, which makes him worried of just what his armor is transmitting to Tony. As the convoy continues onwards, Spider-Man begins to sense danger coming from below as Captain America's forces go through the sewers. As the convoy is forced to take their third possible Route, Route C, they approach Yancy St.

As the convoy goes through the area, the Yancy Street gangs bombard the convoy with debris and garbage, until missiles suddenly come streaking through the area, as Ms. Marvel and Iron Man attempt to dispatch them. Spider-Man webs two of the, which end up taking him on a ride away from the convoy. The two rockets hit each other, and send Spider-Man to the ground as the Thing grabs the transport and Dagger and Daredevil run away from the convoy. As Spider-Man gets up and sees one of the captives fleeing, Captain America shows up, and asks Spider-Man to switch sides and join him in his fight against Registration.

Spider-Man turns him down, and the two start fighting, with Spider-Man taking some hits, before Captain America throws his shield at Spidey. He manages to dodge the shield and web it up, which gives Captain America the chance to take a good hit at Spider-Man. Spider-Man tries to web up Captain America, but he fails, so Spidey unleashes the waldos in his armor, which manage to prick Captain America's face and draw first blood. As an explosion is heard in the distance, Captain America jumps up a fire escape and takes off to protect and help his forces. Before Spider-Man can go after Cap, some neighborhood kids try to take the webbing off the shield, so Spidey scares them away and guards the shield. He webs it up a little higher on the side of a building, where Captain America can get it later. Spider-Man can't shake the feeling that he's on the wrong side, and that Captain America might have been right about the Act and about his own decision.

In General...

This is an extremely well written story by Straczynski, not to mention an emotionally powerful one. He's really making Peter's decision a monumental struggle, and for all the right reasons, and it just reads so well. Peter's totally at odds with himself, trying to make up his mind, not realizing he's really already made his choice, and now realizing that he may have made the wrong one. His battle with Captain America is deftly portrayed, both by the art and by the story, and is just fascinating to read as well as emotional. This is, by far, the most serious Spider-Man book of the three, and it's telling an amazing story at the heart of it all. Of all the Civil War tie-ins, it is definitely one of the most compelling and facsinating of the bunch.

The artwork by Garney is still the lowpoint for me, I'm just not sold on his artstyle for this book, although I will admit that it looked better in this issue than in the last. I just think that for such an important chapter of Spider-Man's story, not to mention Civil War, there should be better art to go with it. It also appears fairly rushed, which isn't excusable given the sizeable delays that are now coming with each tie-in issue of a series.

Overall Rating...

It's the art which makes this anything less than a 4.5. The story is just fascinating, truly brilliant stuff, and the art can only take it down so far. This is a monumental Spider-Man story, and it's got all the right Parkerisms and humour while still being serious as all get out when it needs to be. This is a great book, and definitely worth your time and money to read.