Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #579

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This story is part of an Arc: "Unscheduled Stop"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: 2008.

Background...

Peter Parker had a fortune cookie saying this would be his lucky day, and then found a subway pass that had just enough for another ride. He went to get on the subway, but soon found the subway the target of a vibrational blast. Upon changing into Spider-Man, he tried to lead the group of passengers back up to street level, when the Shocker attacked, as he was the culprit behind the vibrational blast in the first place. The two men fought, nearly bringing down the tunnels, and now the water is rising, the ceiling is almost collapsing, and the access tunnel was destroyed. On top of it all, one of the passengers, who was also one of the jurors for a case against a local mob boss (who had hired Shocker), turns out to be none other than J. Jonah Jameson Sr., JJJ's father...

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #579
Jan 2009 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "Unscheduled Stop"
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Writer:  Mark Waid
Artist:  Marcos Martin
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Review

At the F.E.A.S.T. Center, May Parker is disappointed that Peter is late arriving. She sees a report on the TV about the subway car accident, but disregards it upon finding out that it was a private car for the sequestered jurors in t he case against Giacomo.

Meanwhile, Peter tries to quickly web up the ceiling as much as possible, but it's still not holding. Spider-Man tries to get Shocker to reveal how he got down to this level, so that they can all manage to escape with their lives. He threatens Shocker, and finally gets a response, but it would lead them up through the broken ceiling. Spider-Man puts on one of Shocker's gauntlets, and tries to use it to shake some of the ceiling free.

Meanwhile, J. Jonah Jameson and Marla begin their divorce proceedings with their lawyer. In the middle of the meeting, Jonah sees a news report about the jurors, and sees his father in the background in one of them. He hastily departs the meeting.

Back underground, Spider-Man is slightly buried, but is soon rescued by the jurors, who dig him out. They've shaken free a small tunnel upwards, so Spider-Man and JJJ Sr climb up it. They create a small platform out of webbing and beams that Spider-Man can use to hoist up the other jurors and survivors. Spider-Man strains as he pulls them up, and Jameson keeps the spider-light focused on the survivors. Spider-Man keeps struggling, as he and Jameson try to talk. Shocker, now up the makeshift lift, finds a real flashlight, and not just a spider-light, and flashes it on Spider-Man, revealing that he's being swarmed with rats as he strains himself and holds the webbing that is connected to the platform he was previously raising.

When everyone gets up and off the lift, Spidey uses the Shocker's gauntlet at a low setting to vibrate all of the rats off of him and down into the hole below. The water is rising fast below, as the group wades through the entire mess, up to their mid-sections. Just before they make it to the rescue team, Shocker hits a button on his belt and Shocker's gauntlet, which Spider-Man is now wearing, shoots off a blast, sealing Spidey and his group off yet again. Spider-Man finds a small vent leading out onto the street level and helps everyone up to it and through it, and suddenly Jameson disappears, below the rising water. Spider-Man manages to grab him and bring him up to the street level. Spider-Man leaves him when he sees JJJ, and taunts him for a moment, to introduce him to his estranged father. However, Jameson Sr. has already disappeared into the shadows...

In General...

Before we move on to the review, I just want to quickly take note of something I noticed when reading this issue, although I'm not sure if this is the first place it happened. The Spidey Braintrust as mentioned here is Gale, Guggenheim and Slott, which marks the absence of Zeb Wells. I wonder if this is the first issue to indicate that, and what it means. I believe Wells is still on the roster for creative teams, but perhaps his role in crafting the overall direction of Spider-Man in the braintrust is limited, or there's less need for the Braintrust now that we're a year into the weekly Amazing Spider-Man book.

Now that we have that out of the way, we can proceed to the review. Now, normally, when I review a comic, I start with the general story, and script, before closing with a comment about the artwork and then closing statements. However, with this issue, I can't remain silent till the end of the review to tell you, the reader, that Marcos Martin was truly born to illustrate Spider-Man. His visual style is such a unique marriage of styles which are reminiscent of both Ditko/Romita Sr, and he pulls it off magnificently. His storytelling skills are singular, in how he lays out scenes, and has Spider-Man moving throughout them in a way that your eyes follow him, and in so doing make the scene move for you. His art-style really interacts with the reader on a fundamental level, instead of just showing you attractive poster-art, a la Jim Lee and others like him. They have very strong pencils, and have beautiful artwork, but all their work is still life, there's a lack of a sense of motion and fluidity, and Martin has so much of that in his artwork it's a shame he couldn't share amongst others in the field.

Waid did an absolutely amazing job in this two-issue arc, he captures Spider-Man perfectly, introduces a new character into the cast (possibly), and does a good job at writing The Shocker, which can be a considerable challenge for most writers. You really get a sense of the severity of the situation, and how dire things are, and the art by Martin really elevates that feeling of claustrophobia, and urgency.

Overall Rating...

Yet again, another fantastic issue of Amazing Spider-Man. It's been such a fantastic year for Spider-Man fans, the series has been firing on all cylinders, and I find myself actively excited for the next Spider-Man book, something I previously couldn't have said for a long time. Highly Recommended!