Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #555

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This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

The Daily Bugle has been bought by Dexter Bennett and been renamed The DB! Peter Parker is back to working there as a photographer. Peter is still part of the New Avengers, even after the events of One More Day...

In Detail...

"Sometimes It Snows In April"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #555
Jun 2008 : SMURF 555.500 : SM Title
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Writer:  Zeb Wells
Pencils:  Chris Bachalo
Inker:  Tim Townsend
Cover Art:  Chris Bachalo
Colorist:  Bachalo, Studio F's Antonio Fabela
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Review

Spider-Man battles some weird ninjas, as he ruminates on how he got to be there.

Earlier in the day, Spider-Man drops by Dr. Strange's sanctum, otherwise known as the New Avengers' secret hideout, and has a bowl of cereal, while Wolverine has his favourite breakfast, beer. They talk about Spider-Man's personal difficulties with regards to the murder charges and the stories in the DB!, when Dr. Strange comes in. Spider-Man makes a quip about the blizzard currently blowing through New York, so Dr. Strange endeavors to tell Spider-Man when the blizzard will cease. Dr. Strange does some magic, and tells a portentous piece of rhetoric before passing out. Wolverine and Spider-Man make plans to team up at the site that Strange mentioned, as Spider-Man swings off.

At the DB!, Spider-Man swings onto the roof as two workers put up the new DB letters on the rooftop. Peter grabs the elevator with them, and hears them talk about the former worker who's now suing Spider-Man. Peter gets off the elevator and runs into Betty Brant, as they talk about J. Jonah Jameson's current condition after his second heart attack, and about how Spider-Man isn't being blamed for what happened.

He then runs into Dexter Bennett, who tells him he wants pictures of the clean-up effort the following morning after the blizzard.

As Spider-Man waits for Wolverine, he sees a man fleeing in terror, and upon investigating finds three ninjas chasing the man, who match what Dr. Strange had foretold. As he fights them, he finally finds Wolverine, and the two face down the ninjas. Once defeating them, Spider-Man stops Wolverine from killing them. Wolverine doesn't feel like bringing them into the police, so he leaves to check on the doc, leaving Spider-Man with the ninjas. Spider-Man webs up the ninjas and then drags them, with their target they'd been pursuing on top, to a police station. As they wait for the police to open up, Spider-Man learns that the target's name is Dr. Rabin, and that he's been studying algorithms that may have been intuited by the Mayan culture. The ninjas were Mayan Extremists, who believed the equations were sacred and shouldn't be messed with. Rabin reveals that his colleagues are in the back of a truck, possibly freezing.

When the police finally open up, Spider-Man webs up a trigger happy cop and takes off into the cold to save the Dr's colleagues.

In General...

Although I didn't find this issue as good as the previous NINE of Brand New Day, it was still a good read, it had a nice dose of humor, and although the enemies were rather bland and uninteresting, for the most part, the rest of the writing was quite strong. One thing I really have to commend Wacker and the Braintrust for is the CONSISTENCY with which they are producing these stories now. They're coming out at a very frequent pace, haven't missed a deadline yet, and the stories are consistent and there is no real misstep in terms of keeping the general feeling of the books consistent. Its hard to do, when dealing with four different writers taking turns on a character's book, and writing in three issue arcs, as well as introducing subplots that are then handled by the other writers. And with new writers to be introduced to the crew soon, and switching up artists and the flow, one would want to be nervous about such changes, but considering how brilliantly the Brain Trust and Wacker have engineered this new status quo for the creative team, I'm not worried at all. Just something that has to be said, because often many people slag Editors for oversights, etc, and I think Wacker should be commended for keeping this ship on a consistent trajectory, even with all these different people steering for a month at a time. That being said, there IS a continuity gaffe here, but what I appreciated was that they didn't pretend it didn't happen or blame magic, but actually opened it up to suggestions for a No-Prize to explain how it works. Doing so is a fun way of admitting that they made a mistake, based on timing, but also embracing the fan-base, and inviting discussion. Its a classic Marvel Bullpen concept, and I appreciated it as a reader.

Its a simple plot, but its actually a lot of fun. We have Peter Parker and Spider-Man in the same comic book. It seems simple, but consider how over the past eight years, it was sometimes one or the other dominating the book. I love how the Brand New Day writers are bringing back that balance to Spider-Man, by featuring both Peter Parker and Spider-Man in relatively equal shots. There's a lot of plots being juggled, different characters, ideas, concepts, and yet it works, and for the most part it actually IS fun. The fun is back in Amazing Spider-Man. And the team-up is actually a quintessential Wolverine-Spider-Man team-up, showing not just their differences in terms of being heroes, but even by choice of breakfast. Its priceless stuff, they have great banter, and just in general its an entertaining read.

The art by Bachalo is actually quite strong, its really clean, clear and enjoyable work. He really reins it in here, and what results is a crisp example of his artistic storytelling skills. Plus the colorists do a great job with the snow as a dominating feature/characteristic of the issue.

Overall Rating...

Another good issue, and although the villains are relatively bland, it doesn't mean that Wells/Bachalo don't land a solid double with this issue. Its not a home run, its not a triple, but its a very solid double, a great read. I'm really digging Amazing Spider-Man, its put the fun back into the character, which was long overdue.