Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #41

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Aunt May has discovered that Peter is Spider-Man and responded by starting a crusade to make Spidey's public image better. Peter has been investigating missing homeless youth and found a bad guy responsible. But who is he? And what's his motive?

In Detail...

"Looking Back"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #41
Jul 2002 : SM Title
Summary: (#482) Spidey Learns Shade's Origin
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  Jason Pearson
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Tales Flip Magazine #12
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Amazing) #3
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Doctor Strange, Shade (FB), Shade

The issue starts out with Spidey meeting up with Jennifer, the homeless girl he befriended as Peter Parker. Spidey's hot on the trail of the Shade and gets a tip to follow up.

Lieutenant William Lamont is the case officer for Jennifer's brother and other homeless people that have gone missing or attacked. Spidey catches up with him, they hit it off and the Lieutenant agrees to help and do a little research.

Spidey heads home and hangs with Aunt May. She reminds Peter that MJ is coming into town and if she should let MJ know that Peter wants to meet her or not. Pete says yes.

Later Spidey meets up with the Lieutenant again. The Lieutenant has a lead, a guy who's currently incarcerated and just a little nutso. Spidey dons a trenchcoat and hat and they both enter and interview him. The prisoners name is Richard. Apparently he was into the occult and in search of a spell book that would give him power, he killed a guy to get it and was thus sent to jail. He continued his studies though, unaware that he was being watched by his cell mate, the man we now know as the Shade! So, when Richard finally performs his spell, the Shade with a handy piece of wood, steps in and claims the power. Something goes wrong though as Richard tries to grasp at the power. The results are Richard is nutso and the Shades powers are somehow out of whack. Oh and the power invovled somerhing to do with the astral plane!

So, what does Spidey do? He heads off to see the master of mysticism himself: Dr. Strange! The End.

In General...

A pretty average issue when all is said and done. I'm not really enarmoured with the main plot, it's really not drawing me in that much. Mystic sorta storylines I don't really like and since the Gathering of Five storyline, I really hate mystic crap mixed up with Spidey. But it's not all bad...

This issue also has some great character moments. Pete's conversation with Aunt May was cool. I really enjoy how JMS writes Aunt May, I think it's the best version of her I've seen. It makes all the pain of her stupid ressurection subside... almost! Spidey's meeting with Jennifer was also pretty cool, though the thing with her wanting him to say his name was a little painful. And she gets pretty cuddly with him at the end of the scene, what's with that? Anyway the intro of Lieutenant William Lamont was pretty good. His conversations with Spidey were enjoyable and it's great to see Spidey investigating in other ways than just swinging around and waiting for his spider-sense to trigger. There were lots of great character moments written with great wit and very enjoyable. And of course John Romita Jr excels as always.

The shade and this Richard guy just do not interest me at all. And it seems there's not going to be some sorta bigger player revealed. We means we're going to stuck with a pretty boring antagonist...

Overall Rating...

Fairly average plot, saved by cool character moments.