Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #24

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This story is part of an Arc: "Distinguished Gentleman From New York"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

The mystery of Senator Ward has been around since the reboot and this storyline is set to resolve this subplot. Previously Senator Ward has been scheming to gain power and has some strange powers. He has used the likes of Doctor Octopus and others previously in his plans. Arthur Stacy has an as yet unrevealed past with Senator Ward and believes the danger he poses is so great that he has been trying to assasinate the Senator.

The Senator Ward plot has been around for the nearly 2 years and is now being resolved. Previously, it was learned that Ward, Arthur Stacy and the Ranger worked for the government together. That went on a mission to infiltrate Hydra and Ward betrayed them after which he seemingly died. Turns out he hooked up with some aliens and as result of that mission was infected with a deadly alien virus that gives him power, but what is his ultimate goal...?

In Detail...

"Failure is not an Option"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #24
Dec 2000 : SMURF 465.500 : SM Title
Summary: Maximum Security - The Z'Nox, Ranger
Arc: Part 3 of "Distinguished Gentleman From New York"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Howard Mackie
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Dan Green, Randy Elliott
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr.
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Articles: Aunt May Parker, Glory Grant, Jameson, J. Jonah, Robertson, Joe "Robbie"

It's the final part of the storyline that wraps up all the plot threads to do with Senator Ward. This issue also ties in with the Maximum Security, Marvel wide crossover happening at the moment.

We start with Spider-man, the Ranger, Arthur and Jill Stacy facing down Ward and two Alien Z'Noxx. Ward captures Arthur, infects Spidey & Ranger with his virus and heads off. Spidey ditches the Ranger & Jill to track Ward down, but due to the Maximum Security crises (the crossover, that involves Earth being made prison planet for alien races) runs afoul of some other aliens, after which he decides to duck home for a little sleep. We then cut to a seemingly new Green Goblin duking it out with an Alien, before returning to Peter. Pete wakes feeling lousy and after chatting to Randy & Glory, sets of to Aunt May's.

Once at Aunt May's Pete notices someone sneeking around outside. He checks it out and discovers the Ranger. The Ranger spills his guts on all he knows. Basically he's figured out Pete is Spidey, he reveals they've been infected with a deadly and contagious virus and he also explains Ward's plan of holding the world hostage with the cure for the virus. The Ranger then leads the way to Ward's hideout.

When they reach the hideout, the rest of Wards plan is revealed. The pathogen has become too much for Ward's body and so he wants to transfer to Arthur's body. Basically Ward hates after because Arthur married the chick that Ward loved. Anyway a fight ensues, the cure is released and the Ranger and Ward seemingly fight to both their deaths in an explosion.

In General...

Like so much of Mackies writing, the story started well, but drifted down hill as it looses focus.

Overall, this issue was a pretty dissapointing end to a story line that has been carried on for so long. Really the real problem with this issue, isn't that it was totally unreadable, or that it didn't tie up plot threads. It was just all done in a totally unexciting manner.

I do have to give points to Mackie for 2 things. He did well tying this long running storyline into a Marvel wide crossover and he tied up just about every loose thread to do with Senator Ward. But, since there were so many loose threads, left unanswered to the last minute, it meant there was a lot of boring conversations that just rattled off revelation after revelation. In fact Mackie's script in general is unexciting, a couple of times Spidey tries to crack a joke under pressure and he seems lame. And Arthur's final speech is painful.

Fortunately for Mackie (but unfortunately for us) he's not the only one to under perform on this issue. Romita's normally great art isn't so crash hot here. It doesn't really seem as powerful as normal really. And there are a couple of places where he just doesn't draw a characters face! In particular check out Jill Stacy on the 2nd & 3rd pages. In fact I can't recall any issue that Romita has drawn that just didn't deliver to such an extent!

Overall Rating...

This storyline started with 4 webs, dropped to 3 in the second issue, and finishes here with a bad taste in the mouth and a disappointing 2 webs. This is a very below average effort for both Mackie and Romita, which gives a lame ending to this long-standing storyline.