Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #587

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This story is part of an Arc: "Character Assassination"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

As Election Day nears, Carlie Cooper has discovered that Vin and other cops are involved in the spider-tracer conspiracy that has been going on for the past year's worth of Spider-Man comics. Spider-Man, suffering from a gunshot wound, exhaustion, and a beating by Menace, has been arrested by the police. Harry Osborn has discovered that Menace is, in actuality, none other than Lily Hollister, who has no accepted his marriage proposal!

In Detail...

"Mistaken Identity"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #587
May 2009 : SM Title
Arc: Part 3 of "Character Assassination"
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Writer:  Marc Guggenheim
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Klaus Janson
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Articles: Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Menace

The newscasters who have been following and reporting on the upcoming Mayoral Election break the story that Spider-Man has been arrested, and issue some commentary on how this will affect the polling for Hollister, as they expect a major upturn in support for the candidate as a result.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man, in full restraints, is brought in to the 5th Precinct of the NYPD.

Carlie continues her confrontation with Vin and his partner about their role in the Spider-Tracer conspiracy, as she learns more about just how big it is, and how dangerous it could be. The two officers leave the apartment, leaving Carlie alone, worried and scared, and Vin unsure just what will happen now.

Palone tries to question Spider-Man, but he shoots back innane chatter, which just infuriates Palone, as he tries to take off Spider-Man's mask. However, before he can, Matt Murdock bursts into the holding cell, and tells Palone to get his hands off of his client. Murdock tells Spider-Man to wait this out, and that he'll get him out of jail legally.

In Palone's office, Carlie tells him about the secret behind the Spider-Tracer conspiracy, and when he asks why she would rat out fellow cops, she replies that she "became a cop to punish people who break the law."

Back in prison, Spider-Man is given a fresh costume for his upcoming hearing by a kindly prison guard who owes Spider-Man for once saving his life, which meant a lot to him and his family, which includes two young girls. He thanks Spider-Man, and wishes him luck in court.

Spider-Man enters a plea of not guilty, as the newscasters report on the story. There is then a narration box directing readers to read a short online story at www.marvel.com, the Spartacus Gambit, which depicts that which comes next in the story, but that which was also recently included in Amazing Spider- Man Extra #2, so don't feel put-out by the directing readers to the online version of the story and not stating that it was already previously included in one of the Amazing Spider-Man Extra specials.

Lily and Bill Hollister pour over the new election polling data, as Spider- Man's arrest has led to an unnatural spike which Lily calls the spider-bump, which shows Hollister now posting a commanding lead over Randall Crowne, his opponent.

In the squad car, O'Neil and Gonzalez talk about what happened back at the apartment with Carlie, when Palone calls for O'Neil, and makes him go off- speaker. The two have a quick conversation, and afterwards O'Neil has Vin pull over and tells him that warrants have been issued for his arrest as well as Carlie's. O'Neil reveals that Palone is twitchy about the issue because it was him (or at least it is heavily implied that it was Palone) who killed the Bookie, when the Bookie figured out the truth behind the Spider-tracer killings. As Vin pulls over, O'Neil, and a squad of officers, arrest him for criminal conspiracy.

Spider-Man is led back into his cell, and just before he goes in, he sees Vin being ushered through general population, in cuffs. Spidey gets Murdock in, and tells him that now circumstances have changed, as he's worried about Vin being put in general population, and how he might be treated or harmed by the inmates.

The next day, Election Day, at the trial Spider-Man is ruled to be allowed to keep his mask on, and derails the trial. Matt Murdock leaves a law book for Spider-Man, and within, he finds a web-shooter.

Norman Osborn checks on his storage room that Lily and Harry have recently pilfered, and does a quick inventory of missing items, and realizes that either Harry has become bolder, or perhaps he was wrong about who was taking the supplies and equipment.

On Ryker's Island, Vin is violently beaten and assaulted in general population, so Spider-Man does what it takes to violently and desperately break out of his restraints, and drops down into the middle of general population and prepares to take on all of the thugs so that he can take them all on and save Vin from certain death!

In General...

After a fairly enjoyable interlude issue of Character Assassination, we're right back in the thick of things with this issue which is part three of the current four-part storyline. I have to say that I'm immensely entertained by the writing and the artwork in this storyline. It's obvious that there's been a fair bit of planning and coordinating going on behind the scenes, to make all of this work, and the result is a storyline which does an amazing job at drawing a multitude of story threads together all at once.

There's a lot going on here, all at once, and yet it never feels overcrowded. There's never TOO much going on, and the pacing here is actually something I wanted to take special note of. This issue moves fast and furious, the pace is relentless, because there's so much to go through, and it all builds into this feeling of it all truly coming to a head. The quick bouncing between scenes and storylines makes each brief snippet that much punchier, so that each fragment delivers more to the reader.

I'm really wondering how the characters are going to get out of this one, as Carlie and Vin are really looking screwed at this point in time. I liked how the prior Spider-Man/Daredevil story that was in Amazing Spider-Man Extra #1 was worked into the new story, and now of course we see how some of the stuff makes sense and works together.

The artwork in this issue is by John Romita Jr., and this really is some of his best work in a while. The pencils are clean and sharp, the inks by Janson are fantastic, and the colours by White are just right (an unfortunate rhyme). All the characters look fantastic in their close-ups, particularly Carlie, and the shots of Spider-Man in his shackles is a particularly fantastic rendering of the character restrained and confined.

Overall Rating...

A great issue, once more, and a great storyline thus far. I've yet to really be let down by this storyline, Guggenheim on Amazing Spider-Man, and Brand New Day in general. Sure, there might have been a story or two that wasn't brilliant, but the general level of quality has been remarkably high compared to the past. Recommended!

Footnote...

The Spider-Man story, The Spartacus Gambit happens simulataneously with this issue, and helps to flesh out some of the court-room scenes. You can find a review of it here: Spider-Man: Extra #1 (Story 3).