Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #557

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This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

Spider-Man saved Dr. Rabin from some Mayan Extremists, but as it turns out, Dr. Rabin is trying to commit a sacrifice to gain power. As a snowstorm hits New York, Spider-Man goes to save Rabin's colleagues, only to discover that Rabin nearly killed the colleagues he sent Spidey to save. As Spidey heads back to the Police Headquarters, Rabin has killed one of the Extremists, and approaches Carlie, Peter's newest friend who also works at the Police Station...

In Detail...

"Dead of Winter"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #557
Jun 2008 : SMURF 557.500 : SM Title
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Writer:  Zeb Wells
Pencils:  Chris Bachalo
Inker:  Faucher, Irwin, Mendoza, Townsend, Vey
Cover Art:  Chris Bachalo
Colorist:  Bachalo, Studio F's Antonio Fabela
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Articles: Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Menace

Dr. Rabin's colleague explains to Spider-Man what kind of man Dr. Rabin truly is, and what he has perpetrated. Spider-Man tries to defend the woman against the Lord of Death, as he gets more powerful and stronger as Rabin's sacrifice is made to him. Dr. Rabin reveals his actions to Carlie, and prepares to take her as his sacrifice.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man and the God fight, as back at the station, Carlie is taken hostage by Dr. Rabin as he takes an NYPD vehicle and smashes out of the headquarters. Spider-Man stops by a phone booth and tries to call 911, but getting an answering machine, turns to calling Harry and not telling him who he is, and telling Harry that Carlie is in danger and to call them to send reinforcements. After Spidey is beaten again by the God, he finds Carlie and Dr. Rabin, who've made their way to Spidey and the God.

Rabin makes it to the God, as Spidey looks after Carlie. Rabin explains why he is the chosen Priest, when Vern from last issue appears with other unshaven men, which offends the Deity. Vern and others light some alcohol and cause it to burn up the Deity, and then Spidey throws his web-cartridges into the fire and causes it to explode onto him, trapping him for the moment. Spidey then easily takes out Rabin.

The deity leaves and states it shall return at the next alignment of the stars, as Dr. Rabin feels the power leaving him, and is saddened. Spidey takes out Rabin to end the affair.

Afterwards, things return to normal, as Carlie tells Pete she has a line on a new apartment for him, and Peter, now sick with a cold, is in the dog house with Bennett for not getting any photos. Peter, with only $20 left for the week, gives it to Vern, in appreciation for his help in taking down the deity.

In General...

I know that some fans are taking some issue with this arc being more different stylistically than the other three writers' arcs on Amazing Spider-Man's Brand New Day so far, but I think it just contributes to the fact that the writers are trying to re-establish the unpredictable nature of Peter Parker's life, from costumed villains, to monsters caused by science, to crime lords, to evil deities. Classic Spider-Man villains have been caused by various of these elements, and so I appreciate that the first four months have been about getting back to basics, and featuring these kinds of villains, these kinds of circumstances. Its very classic Spider-Man type of villains, in a modern context.

Zeb Wells writes a great Spider-Man here, with some fantastic humor, and an engaging and scary villain. Dr. Rabin is actually presented as an interesting threat, who kills in service of a deity, and yet calls those who kill themselves to prevent the deity from being brought back zealots. He's a walking contradiction, a scientist who's also becoming involved with this deity, and I really liked how Wells characterized him. He's doing what he has to do appease his deity, even if that means carrying out "wicked" and "evil" deeds, but this is what's necessary for his deity. Interesting characterization, for sure. Plus, there's more Carlie, Vin and O'Neil, which I always appreciate. I'm really digging the extended cast, and really would like to see more of Carlie. Plus, Wells fits in a great epilogue page, which manages to sum up the arc quite well with regards to how the aftermath works, so that it will fit well into the overall ongoing storyline with Peter Parker and help lead in to the next story arc. Plus, there's a nice letters page which is taken up by Wacker talking all about what's to come up for the series, etc.

The artwork by Chris Bachalo keeps getting better and more focused, and the inking is tighter as well (although at times a tad inconsistent, but that's kind of to be expected when there's so many inkers on a book). This is some of his better stuff in quite some time, really concise linework and strong storytelling skills are exhibited.

Overall Rating...

Another entertaining issue, although at this point in time its really not a surprise anymore. Brand New Day has, for me, been a total success, its brought fun back to Spider-Man's world, its bringing in new characters, new villains, and trying to inject a certain fresh flavor into Spider-Man's world. Sure, not all the villains are going to be as memorable as the classic Spider-Man villains, but the fact is that the team is actually trying to do more than just recycle Dr. Octopus stories. And that is worthy of credit enough. Looking forward to issue #600, just a year and a bit away! Recommended!