Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #551

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This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

The Daily Bugle has a new name and a new boss. Now its The DB! and is run by Dexter Bennett. Peter is trying to take a picture of a new menace plaguing New York, to cash in on a $10,000 prize that Bennett has issued a challenge for. Spider-Man has had various encounters with Jackpot, New York's newest licensed hero. As the new baddie, Menace, is at a Mayoral Debate, Spider-Man is surrounded by cops at the police station where he had gone to consult on something with an officer there...

In Detail...

"Lo, There Shall Come a MENACE!!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #551
Apr 2008 : SMURF 551.500 : SM Title
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Writer:  Marc Guggenheim
Pencils:  Salvador Larroca
Inker:  Salvador Larroca
Cover Art:  Salvador Larroca
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Articles: Menace

Spider-Man is surrounded by armed officers suspended by Helicopters outside the police station. He tries to evade their gunfire to make his escape, when he realizes he's out of web-fluid, and is falling rapidly to the ground. Before he can hit the ground, however, he is rescued by Jackpot, swinging to his rescue.

As Spider-Man and Jackpot run from the cops, they head uptown to the Mayoral Debate. Spider-Man decides against trying to lose the cops, as he wants them to follow him TO the debate.

As Menace grabs Councilwoman Parfrey and prepares to escape on his glider, Spider-Man and Jackpot show up on the scene. However, as Spider-Man doesn't have any more web-fluid, he is unable to continue pursuit. He jumps onto the approaching police copter, and tells the cops inside that if they agree to follow the mayoral candidate, he'll save her, and then turn himself in. Once they agree, Jackpot gets in the copter, and they use Spider-Man's rigged tracer (that he put together in #549) to follow Menace.

Once they're close enough, Spider-Man jumps at Menace and grabs onto the glider. Spider-Man rescues the Councilwoman, and then throws her in the air, and into the awaiting arms of Jackpot. Meanwhile, Spider-Man and Menace trade blows. Jackpot, having delivered the Councilwoman to the ground, returns to the battle, however all three on the glider cause it to go haywire, knocking all three combatants off of the glider and onto the ground. The out of control glider impales the councilwoman, before Spidey is able to react. Menace disappears into smoke, and Spider-Man tries to comfort Jackpot, who is non-receptive to his words of comfort. The cops try to arrest Spider-Man, but he claims he had his fingers crossed previously, and then takes off into the air.

At the DB!, Bennett gives Peter $2000 for his picture of Menace with the now deceased Councilwoman, instead of the original $10,000.

In the final scene, Spider-Man goes to pay a visit to Sara Ehret, what he believes is Jackpot's secret identity, however the woman he finds has no idea what he's talking about, although she says something ominous which leaves Spider-Man more confused than ever...

In General...

I've made no secret thus far that One More Day was one of the stupidest storylines to ever happen with Spider-Man, and that's really saying something considering some of the doozies he's dealt with in his history. But I can't help but admit that Brand New Day has been a lot of fun so far. I know that it seems contradictory of me to like it, but I do. I didn't agree how we got here, but now that we're here, the creative team is making it worth my while as a reader. They're making it feel like an old-school Marvel Comics book, with progression of plotlines, a wide variety of new characters, and a new, fresh outlook on the character. Yes, they've really just turned back the clock and brought back some old elements to the mythos, but they've managed to do so in a way that it reads quite well, week to week. We get more and more issues, we get more plot progression and character development, and even get long-term plot development. We get storylines that although neatly set up for the A-story to be covered in a trade paperback, we also get B-stories which are percolating, and running in the background. We get mysteries, we get a nice dose of humor, Peter Parker acting like Peter Parker again, even in the post-Civil War era, and we get him talking like the Spider-Man we know all over again.

Guggenheim writes a snappy Spider-Man, as his trademarked banter is excellently captured, with all sorts of jokes that really fit the character. In fact, I really think that Guggenheim could write an enjoyable Deadpool monthly, with his grasp on action and humor. In fact, in that venue, he could really let loose with the humor and have it be even more absurdist and off-the-wall. There's some good character work here, with Jackpot and with the DB!'s new boss, Dexter Bennett. I appreciate that the writers aren't trying to reinvent the wheel here, per se, just refocusing on some of the best elements of the Spidey-mythos, by having villains,a supporting cast, and keeping the book full of plotlines and mysteries. At some point, the Spider-Man books became less about the ongoing plotlines, etc, and more about being neatly resolved for trades, as the emphasis for the book changed. The new direction and mentality for the Spider-office is much more streamlined and accessible, even with all the different balls being juggled in the air at once. Guggenheim makes this a great read, well-paced, a quick read without actually being one. There's a fair bit going on here, and yet it doesn't feel like you get bogged down with the details, either. Everything just flows quite nicely.

The artwork by Larroca is typically wonderful, although at times the colors by Peru are a little deep-set. There's a panel with Jackpot swinging, and its really hard to see the line she's swinging on. There's a few instances of possible over-inking by Larroca and slightly dark, muddied colors by Peru, but not enough to detract too much from the great artwork.

Overall Rating...

Another Brand New Day storyline has been completed, as we approach month #3, and I'm definitely a fan of the new mentality behind the book. I also like having it almost weekly, it really works well for the Spider-books. Considering how before we had three loosely connected books, either this solution or running it like back in the '90s would have been good, although honestly I'm happiest with this solution.

This issue is recommended, as its a good read with snappy banter, a good storyline, interesting mysteries, and overall is just entertaining!