Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #21

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Alistair Smythe has returned and wants to take down Spidey, his loved ones and J. Jonah Jameson

In Detail...

"Slayers to the Left of Me"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #21
Sep 2000 : SMURF 462.500 : SM Title
Summary: Alistair Smythe, Spider Slayers
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Howard Mackie
Pencils:  Erik Larsen
Inker:  John Beatty, Rodney Ramos
Cover Art:  Erik Larsen
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Articles: Aunt May Parker, Glory Grant, Jameson, J. Jonah, Smythe, Alistaire

Last issue we were left with a cliffhanger, Spidey was on the ropes and Smythe seemed to have everything in hand. But, early on Spidey ditches the small Spider slayer that had him under wraps. At this point Smythe reveals his plan. Apparently he not only wants to kill Spidey, but wants to kill his loved ones too. And through his new Spider Slayer technology this is supposedly possible. Smythe also has Jonah as his hostage. So, Spidey has a choice to either stand and fight to save Jonah or to run off to save his loved ones. Spidey quickly decides to grab Jonah and run off to save his loved ones.

The rest of the of the issue involves Spidey running around town, chased by a giant spider slayer, to save his loved ones. By doing this he drops in on the various members of the supporting cast and saves them. This continues until Spidey is finally caught by the giant Spider Slayer in his Aunt May's yard, he turns and fights and when he emerges triumphant all the mini slayer that were still around were disabled.

Of course, Smythe is still to be dealt with and so Jonah takes to him with a baseball bat, in probably the best Jonah moment in years. Not to mention the best moment of this book.

In General...

Well, what can I say? This was a very average issue, the main storyline was okay, but it was really hard to care about what was happening. This was mainly because it was never in doubt that Spidey would prevail and the status quo would be back next week. The 'danger' didn't really feel dangerous. I think the creators wanted me to be on the edge of my seat, I think this was meant to be a roller coaster ride. But, if this was the intention, they certainly missed the mark. Besides this there were some really bad moments.

This was mainly to do with dialogue. The worst was when Spidey saves Marla Jameson. Her final comment as Spidey swings off, was written so badly I nearly wanted to close the comic and stop reading there. It was just so clunky and unconvincing. The next 'bad dialogue' instance is to do with Robbie Robertson. I don't know if we (the reader) is supposed to be developing a dislike for him, but the way he is characterised this issue and in recent issues of amazing is really bad. If we are supposed to think he is the ultimate sleaze and egotist alive, then Mackie's doing a fine job. But, somehow I don't think that is the case from the way other characters respond to Robbie. The are other instances of this bad dialogoue, including most time Smythe speaks and some of Spidey's inner monologue, but I won't harp on any longer on it.

So what's good? Well, there is one great scene to this comic that I quite liked. I really enjoyed the scene of Jonah beating Smythe with a baseball bat. It broke Jonah out of the one dimensional shell he has been in since the reboot. It was a great sequence that made sense and engaged me. The characterisation was great and dialogue was okay! If only I could say this about the rest of the book, I might be just that much closer to being a totally happy man, feeling completely satisfied with my life.

Overall Rating...

Two webs. I would really like to rate this higher, because I feel bad for not rating an amazing issue above 3 webs for awhile. I really looked hard though, but unfortunately all this issue has really done is move Mackie's name to the top of my secret list. And on the day when I finally snap.... well lets just say I too will use a baseball bat as a stress reliever.