Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #44

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This review was first published on: 2004.


Last issue Peter travelled with Aunt May to find Mary Jane to confront her and hopefully start to rebuild their ailing relationship. In the meantime, Doc Ock is in the neighbourhood.

In Detail...

"Arms and the Men"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #44
Oct 2002 : SM Title
Summary: (#485) Doctor Octopus vs. Carlyle vs. Spider-Man
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr.
Staff Only
 Reprinted In: Marvel Tales Flip Magazine #15
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Amazing) #3
Articles: Aunt May Parker, Carlyle, Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius)

At the end of last issue Pete had tracked down MJ to where she is working on a movie set. MJ was pretty cold, but said she'd give Pete some time to explain why he stood her up when she was in New York. So this issue starts with Pete launching into a breathless excuse. MJ seems slightly amused, but still isn't pleased. She is even less pleased when she finds out that Aunt May has discovered Pete's secret, but that Pete had neglected to tell her. MJ suggests that they hang around the movie lot awhile, so they can figure things out later, while she works on a superhero movie starring 'Lobster-Man'.

Meanwhile, Mr. Carlyle (the new baddie who has his very own Doc Ock suit) has been tracked down by Doc Ock and an all-out brawl ensues in a plush motel.

Back at the movie set, MJ is having a conversation with 'Lobster-Man' in make-up about the 'theoretical' situation of being a supehero's significant other. Lobster-Man comes out with the pearl of wisdom that a female in such a situation would have to be loser... basically. Outside Pete is with Aunt May and hears about the Octopus ruckus, so he heads off to take it on as Spidey.

Spidey arrives and jumps into the brawl, with both Octopi trying to kill him and each other. In the end the Mr. Carlyle ducks out and Doc Ock briefly helps Spidey save some civilians before ducking out himself and leaving Spidey to be crushed by a ton of rubble.

In General...

Another solid issue of Amazing Spider-man, great story and art. Nothing earth-shattering or particularly ground-breaking, but ultimately still really good. I really liked a lot of things about this issue.

First of all, I really liked and appreciated the way this Peter and MJ reunion was handled. Neither MJ nor JMS makes it easy, and its obvious that this relationship needs serious work, which I find extremely realistic and refreshing to see. Most comic love tiffs seem to end with a quick kiss-and- make-up, but this is playing out differently, and though I sincerely hope there will be reconciliation, I'm glad JMS is handling it this way. There were some hard-to-swallow bits, and it does seem a little too convenient for MJ's first movie role to be so similar to her real life.

The Doc Ock situation is getting pretty interesting now too; at first, it seemed a little lame, but this issue, it is clear that both Ocks are playing for keeps (particularly with John Romita Jr's strong visuals) and that really lends an exciting feeling of tension to the story. The last scene with Doc Ock helping Spidey with civilians and then leaving him to die was also great. It really seemed to add to Doc Ock's character: often Spidey and his villains seem to come off as WWF wrestlers (sorry to all those wrestling fans) with no real danger, just a couple of costumed guys bouncing each other around for awhile. This issue, though, there seemed to be a real sense of danger and reality to the fight scene, which is awesome!

Lastly, I really liked something about this issue and other recent issues that isn't often talked about: paper quality! I've noticed the better paper stock being used and its just really nice. At least there's some noticable benefit in the rising price of if only they could throw in those nice cardstock covers as well...

Overall Rating...

An excellent issue, for plenty of reasons.