Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #573

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This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

As fans of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, staring the faux Right Wing Pundit, Stephen Colbert already know, the comedian-turned–commentator-turned-pseudo-politician is something of a funnybook fan. He was "awarded" Captain America's shield by Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quasada on camera after Cap was gunned down in issue #35. Well, the relationship between marvel and Colbert didn't end there, as even after Colbert's still-born run for the White House ended in real life, it has continued in Marvel comics.

Over the past several months Easter Eggs have been popping up in various Marvel Comics as billboards, bumper stickers, and people wearing the "Colbert '08" slogan have kept appearing. Well, it all comes to a head in this back-up story (that was cover featured as a variant cover on this very issue).

In Detail...

"Lo there shall come, this man... this Candidate!"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #573 (Story 2)
Summary: Stephen Colbert decides to run for president
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Writer:  Mark Waid
Pencils:  Patrick Olliffe
Inker:  Serge Lapointe
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Articles: Grizzly

At a political rally in Union Square Park, Presidential Hopeful Steven Colbert is greeting a crowd of hardly anyone as he receives a check for (a measly) $100.00 from none other than Daily Bugle Publisher J. Jonah Jameson*. Needless to say Colbert is not happy. To be sure it is not clear which makes him unhappier, that no one showed up for his rally, or that the notoriously cheap Jameson only shelled out 100 bucks to endorse his run for President.

Jameson advises Colbert that you are only as good as your last headline, so perhaps Colbert should give New York what they deserve. Leaving the truthiness of that statement on the pundit's shoulders, Jameson exits, and Colbert takes to wandering the streets of the City, even as he puts the voters of Manhattan on notice.

What we are treated to next is a scene straight out of Amazing Spider-Man #50 as Colbert dumps his suit jacket in an ally garbage can and walks away, declaring that he is Stephen Colbert no more. This profound moment of clarity is interrupted by the flying body of Spider-Man, who is currently on the receiving end of a wild haymaker from none other than The Grizzly Bear (Colbert fans know that Bears routinely top the list of Colbert's Threat Down list.

As Spidey struggles to his feet, Colbert pushes our hero to one side and moves forward to deal with his darkest nightmare. Only Spidey recognizes Colbert from his show, and tells him to stand down as it is Spidey's job as a bona-fide hero to stand up to the threat of the Grizzly Bear. The two protagonists slam each other around for a bit as Colbert attempts to mix it up with the super-powered thug, eventually dropping a stone eagle artifact on the Grizzly's head from the precipice of an overhead brownstone.

This sequence of events restores Colbert's confidence and he returns to the ally to grab up his suit and reassert himself. This all convinces Spidey that Colbert is in fact made of sterner stuff and then the pair of them swings off into the sunset.

In General...

a fan of the Colbert Report, this story was simply hysterical. Teaming Colbert with Spidey (and giving him a variant cover that was reminiscent of Amazing Fantasy 15 (with Colbert swinging on the cover and holding Spidey as Spidey was holding onto the criminal on the cover of that issue). All of the internal Spidey references and tie-ins to Colbert's show play well and this works as an entertaining back-up.

Overall Rating...

In spite of the continuity glitches (see footnote) this really is an excellent story. With the look and feel of classic Spidey stories, and works as a stand-alone (slightly left of continuity story).

Footnote...

Postscript/Comments: Let's ignore that due to the BND FUBAR at this point in time, Jameson is no longer publisher of record for the Bugle, and the Bugle is now called the DB which is run by Dexter Bennet. Further, because of Civil War Spidey is now an unregistered "hero" (no word on Grizzly, but odds are neither is he). Let's not even mention that Colbert swinging on a web line is highly improbably, but let's ignore all of that as the story really is still pretty funny.