Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #596

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This story is part of an Arc: "American Son"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5

This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson Sr. are getting married soon, which is going to be quite the adjustment for JJJ and Peter Parker. Norman has offered Harry a job working with him and the Avengers, which Harry laughed off, until visited by his ex Lily/Menace, who is now pregnant. Harry calls Norman and agrees to his deal, which happens to occur just as Spider-Man is beating the crap out of Norman and threatening him to stay away from Harry

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #596
Jun 2009 : SM Title
Arc: Part 2 of "American Son"
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Writer:  Joe Kelly
Pencils:  Phil Jimenez
Inker:  Andy Lanning
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Articles: Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Menace, Winters, Norah

At a press conference, Harry confirms that he is coming to work with Norman Osborn and his Avengers, and is seen shaking hands with their black-suited Spider-Man (Venom). Peter is watching the replay of the conference and can't believe it, and expresses this disbelief to Harry. Harry can't bring himself to tell Peter just why he's taking the deal, which is to protect his unborn child with Lily. Harry tells Peter that he's a good friend, but that ultimately his family isn't any of his business. He leaves, and asks Peter to trust him.

Later, Spider-Man is trying to let ig go, as he comes across a building on fire and tries to save the inhabitants,

Later, at Avengers Tower, Norman shows Harry around the facility. Nearby, Norah is undercover as the new page girl at Avengers Tower.

Back in Queens, Peter is trying on clothes, and trying to talk to May and Jay about the Osborn situation. As May leaves for a bit, leaving Jay and Peter to talk, they talk about what Osborn said about Jay at the dinner party in the last issue. Jameson reveals his past history, as he went AWOL from the military to travel back to America to be with his wife when she was giving birth to Jonah, however she died in childbirth. Jay tells Peter that in regards to his situation with Harry, he should always do what his gut tells him is right, as forever is a hell of a long time to live with a mistake.

Later, Harry gets innoculated against certain pathogens that he can be exposed to in Avengers Tower, in the secure areas, and as that happens, Lily watches from another location on her security camera monitor.

Peter sits at Gwen Stacy's grave and tries to talk to her about what he should do, to talk things through, finally deciding that Harry does need him. When Peter goes into Midtown Manhattan later, he runs into Norah, and discovers that she's undercover at Avengers Tower. She tries to Peter to work with her, but he's too worried for her safety, so she gets upset at him and leaves. Peter sees Venom and Hawkeye going by, and realizes he just can't let it go.

Later, in the Bronx, Gargan starts talking to a streetwalker, finally using his symbiote to attack her, while nearby Bullseye as Hawkeye is babysitting him, and kills a rat out of boredom with some change. As Venom threatens the girl, Spider-Man shows up with a brown noise generation which uses sub-harmonics, which hurt the symbiote and scramble it off of his body. Venom tries to yell out, but he's encased in a force bubble by Invisible Woman, so Bullseye has no idea what's happening. Peter secures Venom into a containment chamber created by Reed Richards, as Invisible Woman makes her self known, and gives Peter a costume that is made of unstable molecules, and is tweaked to make his mask look like Venom's face.

At Avengers tower, Harry Osborn wakes up in his room and uses a gizmo to disrupt the cameras in his room, and runs out to find Lily and save her.

Meanwhile, Norman gathers his Avengers, now including Peter as a Venom-stand- in, and tells them that he's got plans for something new called American Son. Daken (Wolverine) notices something off about Spider-Man's smell...

In General...

When this storyline was first announced, I was pretty excited, as it shows that this title is finally jumping headlong into the current Dark Reign status quo. This issue shows Harry Osborn giving into his father, as a way to protect his family (as Liily is pregnant). However, to Peter, it all looks far too suspicious, as he doesn't know the details, and so he worries about how to let Harry do this on his own, and what he should do.

I really liked the set-up to what Spider-Man eventually ends up doing here, as he really does get some great advice from different corners. Kelly does a great job with the characterization here, as Peter visits with JJJ Sr and May, and JJJ Sr imparts some good advice to Peter, and shows that although the whole him and May plotline might be contrived, creepy, and a little out there considering how old May and JJJ Jr are supposed to be already, he is a good character with a good heart and a good source of advice for Peter. He reminds me of Arthur Stacy, back when that character was first introduced, although he was more of a confident and advisor for Spider-Man than Peter himself. Peter also has a nice graveside chat with Gwen Stacy, which helps bring everything back home for the reader and for Spider-Man. Ultimately, every moment that Norman Osborn is in control means that the man who killed Gwen Stacy is in control, on top, and winning. It's the reminder of the woman he lost to his madness that helps steel his resolve so that he will do anything to protect another of his loved ones from Norman's madness.

The assist he gets from Sue Richards here is a nice touch, as is the invention that Reed Richards provides him with. I have to admit that it's a clever concept and idea, and I'm glad that Kelly went with it, so that we'll get to see Peter doing something he doesn't normally do- shut up, be quiet and do reconaissance. The subplot with Norah is a nice touch as well, as she goes undercover at Avengers Tower to get closer to finding a story she believes is hiding in plain sight.

The artwork by Siqueira is good, for the most part, but I did feel a bit let down by Jimenez only being on the title for one issue, the first part of the storyline. Siqueira definitely has a Jimenez-like vibe going on here though, although I really can't stand the way that he does eyelashes. They really bugged me throughout the issue, they just don't look right on the male characters that he illustrates. The artwork is at the end of the day good, but not as good as last issue's work by Jimenez.

Overall Rating...

For the most part, this is a very engaging and interesting issue, as Peter Parker builds up the resolve to go through with his plan to protect Harry at all costs, and to try and finally take Norman Osborn down. Highly Recommended!