Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #34

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

A menace named Morlun has arrived to apparently kill Spidey. Ezekiel has told Spidey he has no hope, Morlun is Spidey's natural predator and will take him out. But, Spidey faces off with Morlun anyway and is beaten to pulp, so he returns to Ezekiel for some hope...

In Detail...

"Meltdown"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #34
Oct 2001 : SM Title
Summary: (#475) Spidey & Ezekiel vs. Morlun
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  Scott Campbell
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Tales Flip Magazine #5
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Amazing) #1
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Dex, Ezekiel, Morlun

We start off where the story ended last issue. Spidey, beaten to a bloody pulp, asks Ezekiel to help him. Ezekiel says there is nothing he can do. So Spidey leaves, not sure of what to do, but determined to fight. Spidey's indecision is soon ended, when Morlun starts tearing up the city to draw Spidey out. Spidey fights him for a couple of minutes and then ducks off, to make a call as Peter Parker and inform his school he won't be in. Then Spidey is quickly drawn back into the action. Spidey is litterally splattered against a wall by Morlun and just manages to escape alive. Spidey realising that this may be it for him, finds another pay phone and calls first MJ and then Aunt May, to tell them he loves them.

Morlun quickly finds him though. Spidey attacks him, vowing he won't go down alone. As they battle, Ezekiel enters the fray and taking Morlun by surprise, draws some blood. Spidey teams up with Ezkial and with renewed vigour, they duke it out against Morlun. But, Morlun grabs Ezekiel and sucks his life essence out of him. Ezekiel drops into the harbour water, apparently dying. Morlun casually walks off, saying he'd had his fill for now and would track down Spidey later. Spidey dives for Ezekiel, but doesn't find him.

Spidey crawls out of the water, with no hope left, until he remembers that Ezekiel made Morlun bleed. Spidey grabs the blood sample, takes it home and studies it. Comes up with a plan and then goes and stealthly clears out a nuclear reactor to put his plan in action.

Of course we don't know what the plan is or if it will work, we have to wait until next issue!

In General...

The last issue and this issue of JMS's Spidey have changed gears dramatically since the first couple of issues and it's absolutely awesome. I'm now pretty much convinced that JMS and co. are weaving one of Spidey's greatest tales. I find that for the first time in a long while, I really look forward to reading Amazing and I think that it is probably the best title among the current reinvigorated Spidey stable of titles. I know that I voiced my doubts at first, but these last few issues have turned me around. JMS hasn't made this storyline into some mystical mumbo jumbo (ala the Gathering of Five) and has focused on developing characters and know a gripping battle for the survival of our favourite hero.

This issue, is just as good as last. Spidey is on the ropes and it is BELIEVABLE! The reader gets a real sense that Spidey really fears for his life and Romita's visuals really express Spidey's pain and desperation. This issue really shines, it shows all of Spidey's strongest points, his battle against the odds, his strong sense of responsibilty, his intelligence and the dud cards that life keeps serving up. Basically, I can't the praises of this issue and the current run of Amazing enough, just buy it!

If was being really picky I could complain about some things though. Firstly, when Ezekiel resfuses help, Spidey swings off and rules out being able to get help from any other people. This is pretty much crap! Sure Spidey isn't the most popular guy, but he has some good friends among other heros, like Daredevil or the Human Torch or an Avenger. Surely he'd be able to contact them? Or at least other heros would be drawn out by Morlun's rampage? I can understand why JMS doesn't want to introduce another hero at this point, but his reasoning isn't convincing. The other minor thing is that Morlun kicks up such a mess, but the cops never seem to be around? I know the battle is moving, but youd' think the cops would be around at least some of the time. These points are minor and didn't really effect my enjoyment of the issue, but I thought I'd bring them up.

Overall Rating...

Five webs. This is the best Spidey and this title has been in years.