Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #597

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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.


Norman Osborn is now the most powerful man in America, runs his own team of Avengers and heads up HAMMER. He has made an offer for Harry to work with him and the Avengers, an offer which Harry has accepted solely for the benefit of Lily, his ex, who it turns out is not only Menace, but also now pregnant.

Spider-Man, sick of watching Norman get what he wants, and not wanting him to get Harry too, takes out Venom and, using a device given to him by Reed Richards, infiltrates Avengers Tower disguised as Venom. Norman Osborn is about to show the team his plans for his son...

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #597
Jun 2009 : SM Title
Arc: Part 3 of "American Son"
Editor:  Stephen Wacker
Writer:  Joe Kelly
Pencils:  Phil Jimenez
Inker:  Andy Lanning
Staff Only
Articles: Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius) (Cameo), Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn), Green Goblin II (Harry Osborn), Menace

Norman Osborn leads his Dark Avengers along a hallway, accesses a secure facility using a blood sample, and goes into the facility and shows the Avengers (including Spider-Man disguised as Venom pretending to be Spider-Man) the American Son armour that he has developed for Harry's usage. Norman tells the Avengers he plans to make Harry an enhanced man, to be a new super-soldier like Captain America, but instead fighting with the Avengers unlike the current Captain America (Bucky Barnes) who isn't a team player, and won't work with Osborn. One of the test subjects that has been injected with super- soldier serum and the goblin formula gets loose, but Spider-Man restrains him, protecting Osborn (under the auspices of actually being Gargan).

Meanwhile, Harry sneaks along Avengers Tower, looking for Lily, when suddenly he is grabbed from behind by a creature with glowing eyes and mutated hands, away from two security guards.

Back at Aunt May's house, she's up late working on the wedding, when Jay tries to convince her to come back to bed. When the power suddenly goes out, she agrees to finally go back to bed.

However, the power outage is the cause of small little orbs that have tentacles, which are showing up throughout the city, controlled by Dr. Octopus (only his tentacles are seen, plus the reflection of his head and glasses).

Back at Avengers Tower, it turns out that the creature that grabbed Harry is none other than Lily, who kisses Harry, and is so glad that he's here, in Avengers Tower. He reveals that he's come looking for her, and tells her that his plan is to cure her, so that Norman won't want her there anymore, as she won't have Menace inside her any longer. She slips him a keycard that will allow him special access within Avengers Tower without activating the security logs.

Elsewhere, Norman tells the team he thinks Harry'll be ready in a few days, so then training can commence. He puts Spider-Man on monitor duty for a new facility on level 25, the same place where Lily has directed Harry to go.

Spider-Man takes the elevator to level 25, and when the doors open, Daken (Wolverine of the Dark Avengers, the real Wolverine's son) attacks Spider-Man, telling him that he knew who he was becuase of his smell. The two spar, with Daken revealing he didn't tell anyone it wasn't Venom because he wanted to ensare him on his own and take credit for ferreting him out. Spider-Man narrowly manages to take down Daken, leaving him in the floor, when Harry shows up. Spider-Man indicates to Harry that he's the real deal and not the imposter, and Harry tells him he has to get out now. Spider-Man tells him he's there for Harry and he's got his back, but Harry is hearing none of it and is tired of him messing up his life and getting involved.

Norman shows up, with Ms. Marvel (the former Moonstone, Karla Sofen) and Hawkeye (the former Bullseye) at his side, and Spider-Man attempts to pretend that he's really Venom, and that Daken was after Harry, hence why he took down Daken. Harry is asked by Norman if it's true, and Harry gives him up. Hawkeye shoots two arrows at Spider-Man, one in each thigh, and the already drugged Spider-Man is easily hit. Norman beats him, and then takes outa gun and shoots Spider-Man in the head.

In General...

As much as I enjoyed this issue, I was very annoyed that we got yet another artist for this issue, making three artists in this storyline thus far, which has only seen three issues of print. For goodness sakes, can we get an artist on this book for more than an issue? We used to get full arcs by each artist, but I'm let down by getting three different artists in three consecutive issues, although once more this artist has an issue with eye lashes, just like the last artist on this book. So at least there's a bit of consistency, I guess.

The writing here is great, as Kelly does a fantastic job on the scripting, writing a very tensely plotted story of Spider-Man masquerading as Venom masquerading as Spider-Man, in his attempt to get into Avengers Tower and protect Harry from whatever plans Norman might have in mind for him. However, Harry is there for reasons of his own, to protect his unborn child and his girlfriend (or is that ex-girlfriend, or is that fiancee, or is that ex- fiancee) Lily from Norman and whatever plans he might have in store for them. The ruse goes fairly well at first for Peter, as he works on pretending to be Gargan, but it doesn't last long enough, and soon he finds himself in a knockdown, dragout fight with Daken, the Wolverine of the Dark Avengers. But there's still more betrayal and violence for Peter once he's done his fight with Daken...

The writing here is very strong, and the artwork is actually not bad, but I just want a bit more visual consistency on this title, especially as we near the 600th issue. Speaking of the 600th issue, we're seeing some of the build- up to that issue here, as we see Doctor Octopus arranging his 'bots throughout New York, although we're not at all clear on just what the plan is yet at this point in time.

Overall Rating...

A good issue, very enjoyable, and surprisingly violent and dark for Amazing Spider-Man. I'm interested to see just how Kelly gets around the cliffhanger ending to this issue. Highly Recommended!