Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #588

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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 dawns, it has been revealed that Menace is in fact Lily Hollister, the woman that Harry Osborn has just proposed to! Meanwhile, Carlie and Vin are framed for the spider-tracer conspiracy, which was really perpetrated by the police at Vin's station! Spider-Man is in jail after a battle with Menace went south, but thanks to Matt Murdock's intervention has been able to keep his mask on. And to top it all off, Vin is put into general population at Ryker's, prompting Spider-Man to make a run for it, escaping his cell, and leaping to Vin's defense, when he's being beaten up by inmates of the prison!

In Detail...

"Character Assassination Conclusion"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #588
May 2009 : SM Title
Arc: Part 4 of "Character Assassination"
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Writer:  Marc Guggenheim
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Klaus Janson, Tom Palmer
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Articles: Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Menace

Spider-Man, with one arm in a sling, takes on a number of prison inmates to defend Vin, finally escaping from the thugs with Vin in tow. They are about to escape from the prison when... CUT SCENE!

Lily and Bill Hollister watch the results together, until suddenly Carlie runs into their headquarters, claiming that the entire NYPD is after her for the a crime they committed.

Meanwhile, Harry Osborn stands on a roof, thinking of Carlie, as he holds a Green Goblin mask and the matching gloves in his hands, a goblin glider in front of him. He slowly puts on the mask, and it feels good...

Back with Spider-Man and Vin, Spider-Man is forced to knock out the one prison guard who actually likes him, webs up oncoming guards, breaks through the bars of the prison cell, and leaps through with Vin hanging onto his back for dear life. Together, they land on a prison vehicle's roof, Spider-Man gets Vin into the passenger seat, hotwires the car, and they're off, crashing through the prison fence.

Back at the Hollister headquarters, Carlie comes clean to Bill and Lily on what has just happened, and Bill is determined to protect the young woman who is like a daughter to him. However, at that moment cops bust in on the three!

Spidey and Vin are in the van, Spider-Man driving, and freaking out Vin as Spidey's a terrible driver, and Vin starts to tell Spidey about the spider-tracer conspiracy, and how it is related to Carlie at this point in time, and why she's in danger.

Carlie tells the cops that she's already blown their cover, and Bill tries to protect Carlie, but the cops take her anyway, telling Bill that he's not the mayor yet, and thus has no jurisdiction.

Spidey and Vin have a quick heart to heart, well, not really, but they have a brief confrontation in an alleyway. Spidey takes off to take on Menace, as he hears on a radio that Menace is attacking some officers, and Vin decides he has to get to Carlie, make sure she's okay.

Menace attacks the police outside of Hollister HQ, determined to protect Carlie from the corrupt police attacking her. Meanwhile, Spioder-Man attacks swings in, distracts Menace, and knocks Menace onto a car, causing some major property damage. The two battle, Spider-Man is very weakened and injured, thanks to the most recent injuries, coupled with the beating he is taking, when Menace prepares to deliver the killing blow, and Peter thinks about Gwen, and how he'll see her soon.

However, just then, Harry arrives, wearing the Goblin mask and riding the glider, having shot Lily wit ha special syringe, which she managed to grab in mid-air. Harry calls Menace Lily, as Peter starts to piece things together, and realize it's Harry and Lily who are in front of him. He grabs the syringe and drives it into Menace's neck, which transforms Menace back into Lily, as it is captured live on television.

Watching Menace be revealed on television as his daughter, Bill orders the room cleared at his headquarters, as tears run down his cheek. He's told that he's been projected the winner for the Mayoral Race, not that he cares in this instant.

Spider-Man is picked up by Harry, and deposited on a rooftop minutes later, while Lily is captured by the police. Vin finally finds Carlie, and vows to make things right, to fix things.

The next day, Hollister is declared the winner despite a swing vote at the last minute towards Crowne. However, Hollister is being called on to resign, by a three-to-one margin, prior to even being sworn into office.

Vin shows up and gets Palone at gun-point, and arrests him, slapping the cuffs on him, and reading him his rights.

At the Coffee Bean, Peter meets up with Harry, and the two talk about whether or not they're cursed or not, as Harry deals with Lily having been driven insane, and the fact that he truly loved her, despite how it worked out.

Meanwhile, Lily gets a special visitor, in the form of Norman Osborn, who tells her that she's not defeated, she hasn't even finished getting started yet. He shows her the engagement ring that she had on her person when she was taken down, and Norman welcomes Lily to the Osborn family...

In General...

This issue is the fourth and final part of the action-packed Character Assassination arc, and it's a doozie. Just like the rest of the issues in this arc, and the arc itself, this issue has things coming to a head, as long-running plotlines finally reach a conclusion, some more final than others.

Guggenheim packs a hell of a lot of plot development and character development into this issue, and makes it all compact enough that it fits, but at the same time doesn't feel like you're missing out on anything at all. Reading this arc, and the repercussions that it'll likely have on the characters in the issue, it definitely made me appreciate the switch to BND, because we haven't gotten this kind of stuff in a long time. I mean, seriously, from the minute JMS came aboard the book, the supporting cast disappeared, for the most part, and you no longer got to see how they developed and grew throughout the years. Carlie being on the run, Vin willing to risk so much to save her life, after the mistakes he's made, the fact that it really looks like there are status quo changes for these characters brings to mind (in a good way) the old issues with Hobgoblin, and then him framing Flash for having been the goblin. Flash was there for a long time, and he continued to play a part in the cast, no matter what. I like that they aren't staying still, and that the consequences of his actions will be felt, although in reduced amounts, of course.

There's a moment in this issue where Peter and Harry sit down and talk for a little while, and I actually found it quite fascinating, and a great character-building moment for both of them, with regards to their friendship, which I'm sure much of the readership has only ever read about and never seen in comics as Harry was killed approximately 16 years ago originally. I'm really interested to see just what happens next with the election, as well as with Norman Osborn, and what kind of spectre he will play in the ongoing tales of the Avengers.

For the most part, the art by Romita Jr. is quite enjoyable stuff, with a strong sense of composition and movement. However, that being said, the last few pages are terrible, and it's not a coincidence, I don't think, that inker Palmer is on those particular pages. They are so rough, and lack details, lack definition, I have no idea what's going on as a result. Totally took me out of the comic, and that's not a good thing.

Overall Rating...

Discounting the badly inked artwork at the close of the issue, this is still a very entertaining book, and very enjoyable. A good end to the arc, many many questions asked, and so the show goes on... HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!