Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #536

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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: 2007.

Background...

Peter Parker has taken a huge risk and unmasked before America as Spider-Man, in support of Iron Man and his Pro-Registration Forces. However, after a skirmish with Captain America, and the death of Goliath, Parker's belief in Stark's side wavers, and he prepares to leave Stark Tower and go underground. He gets his family together, tells them to go, and takes off to find Iron Man ready for him, as they have a brief skirmish which sends Peter careening out a Stark Tower window.

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #536
Nov 2006 : SMURF 536.500 : SM Title
Summary: Civil War
Arc: Part 5 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 #8

As some average New Yorkers stand on the street and enjoy a hotdog, they look up as Spider-Man suddenly lands onto the hot dog cart. He gets up, costume damaged and broken, to find Iron Man standing above him. Peter punches Tony, and then leaps towards him, only to have Iron Man activate a code in the Spider-Armor which turns it off and leaves Spider-Man defenseless. However, Peter has an ace up his sleeve, namely an override, and hits Iron Man back. Having knocked out his sensory apparatus, and webbed the Iron Man faceplate, Spider-Man retreats into the sewers.

Later, after the events of Civil War #5, Peter drops in on May and MJ who are staying overnight at the school Peter works at. Peter and MJ discuss this change in their lives, as MJ reveals she's cleaned out their bank accounts now that they're on the run. May wakes up and joins Peter and MJ's discussion about what to do next. Peter goes out to the recreational field behind the school, and remembers playing sports in high school, when things were difficult, balancing powers and being tormented by bullies.

After the talk with his past self in his head, Peter takes his family to a motel, and pays in advance for the week. Once in the motel's room, Peter checks to make sure they're safe, as May shows Peter that she grabbed his original costume from Stark Tower. He puts the costume back on, and heads to a television station where the news is being filmed. In front of the cameras, Spider-Man denounces Iron Man and the Registration Act, unmasks during his speech, and calls out Iron Man. Iron Man, watching the broadcast, gives the order to bring him in...

In General...

This is an interesting issue, with a strong start, with Iron Man and Spider-Man facing off, with Peter managing to escape into the sewers. However, from a continuity point of view, although this issue manages to roughly mesh up up with Civil War #5, my one major gripe is that the assumed difficulties that Spidey goes through aren't nearly as pronounced. He faces Iron Man briefly, gets hit with some bullets, falls out of the skyscraper, hits the ground, fights Iron Man briefly, then escapes into the sewers where he's hunted by two fairly lame villains (a fight which isn't seen here at all, actually). By Civil War #5, we were led to assume there was more of a struggle, so that was a tad disappointing. Also, now that Civil War #6 has come out, its hard to reconcile exactly how the chronology works for the character, in Civil War #5 and #6, as it weaves in and out.

That being said, his discussions with Aunt May and MJ were a definite strong point, and the final few pages with him in the classic suit, calling out Iron Man, was just extremely well written. There was a genuine sense of grandeur in that sequence, very dramatically conveyed and written by Straczynski.

The art by Garney is fairly good, for the most part, although I still have my issues with his fluidity of movement, particularly for a character like Spider-Man. The first shot of him back in his classic costume felt too stiff, although the sequence with him on the news was extremely well rendered visually. The fight with Iron Man was well done as well, and a nice artistic segue between McNiven's work on Civil War #5. His Aunt May could do with some work, as it seems to regress her in terms of her visual portrayal, and MJ could be drawn a tad bit more conservative as it seemed to go against the much more serious nature of the story. It almost bordered on a cheesecake quality.

Overall Rating...

For the most part, even with my various quibbles and issues, this was a very entertaining and enjoyable issue, with a very defined personal stance for the character to take. Its nice to see Peter Parker really know what he's doing and stick up for what he believes in, and doing so in front of the nation on the televised broadcast is a pure Peter Parker moment. The writing and art is capable enough to make the issue exciting when it needs to be. For these reasons, this issue merits a 4-webs score in my eyes.