Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #543

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This story is part of an Arc: "Back in Black"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5

This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

Aunt May lies in the hospital, dying of a gunshot wound, after being shot by a sniper hired by Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin. Desperate to try anything to save May's life, and unable to turn to anyone because of his status as a fugitive, Peter tried a blood transfusion, to help save Aunt May...

In Detail...

"An Incident on the Fourth Floor"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #543
Oct 2007 : SMURF 543.500 : SM Title
Arc: Part 5 of "Back in Black"
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils:  Ron Garney
Inker:  Bill Reinhold
Cover Art:  Ron Garney
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Review

As Mary Jane sleeps in May's hospital room, Peter tries talking to her, but finds little comfort in it, as he tells May about the transfusion that he attempted two issues previous. The following day, the Nurse takes May's bloodwork, which, when it is returned from the lab, is promptly swiped by Peter.

Peter returns to MJ, telling her the unfortunate news that there has been no change as a result of the transfusion. The Hospital Chaplain shows up to discuss the possible future arrangements for May with MJ.

Meanwhile, at the Police Station, a Lt. Detective is handed a file from the hospital which admitted May, reporting the gunshot wound, which doesn't have any corresponding documentation or police reports.

At the hospital, Peter and MJ discuss what the Chaplain had talked with MJ about, as the Lt. Detective questions the Nurse on what she thinks is the deal with May and MJ, as she posits an interesting theory as to why there is no police report about the gunshot that May sustained. The Lt. Detective goes to question MJ, prompting Peter to take drastic measures to subdue the cop, and then move May to another hospital, through a series of lawbreaking activities.

Finally, the threat of arrest or police involvement is somewhat allayed, as Peter worries about what will happen to Aunt May now, and just what he's done.

In General...

With the way that this storyline has been going, I really can't wait for Straczynski to leave Amazing Spider-Man behind. Honestly, this is getting frustrating and painful to read, as not only is this not entertaining, but it doesn't even feel like a real Spider-Man story. The book is a downer, the character doesn't act like himself anymore... my interest in the character, this title and the storyline is steadily slipping.

As the issue started, it seemed like it was headed on the right track, with Peter talking to Aunt May as she lies in her coma, and it was like I was reading the Peter Parker of old. However, that was before he assaulted a police officer, acted like a hoodlum, and then did a number of illegal things in order to move Aunt May to another hospital.

I really don't know how Marvel is going to resucitate Spider-Man after this storyline, as not only is he a fugitive thanks to his fighting against the SHRA in Civil War, but now he's done a number of other very questionable things. What's made Spider-Man such a fascinating character is his sense of responsibility, to do the right thing, because of what happens when he isn't responsible, and the events which led to Uncle Ben's death. And then there's this storyline which seems to systematically destroy that which is so enjoyable about Spider-Man. The issue is SO heavy-handed, and dreary, that it feels like the character is almost unsalvageable at this point.

The art by Garney is not bad, but it can only save so much of this issue. Its such a dark and dreary issue, with suitable colors and inks by the rest of the creative team, however what it ends up looking like is washed out and dreary, with no sense of life. This is a dark, depressing book which doesn't really have much redeeming characteristics.

Overall Rating...

Amazing Spider-Man during the Civil War crossover was a title where things happened, changes occurred, and the place where the most important and interesting Spider-Man stories were told. However, now, this title has degnerated into a dark, depressing mess, which hasn't made good use of the Back in Black theme at all, whereas the other various titles have really done something new and engaging with it. This title feels redundant, nothing really happens, nothing really changes, just the character dropping farther and farther from grace.

Considering this issue and how far Peter Parker has come, its hard to imagine that anything short of a hard reboot could fix this title, and this character, and free him from the depressing atmosphere which has become the Spider-verse. Time will tell if this is what One More Day promises...