Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #51

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

After a lengthy separation, Pete and MJ are back together, but taking it slow.

In Detail...

"Digger"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #51
May 2003 : SM Title
Summary: (#492)
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 #22
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Amazing) #5
Articles: Digger

This issue starts of with an origin for a new villain, involving gangsters and gamma bomb goo. (Henrique's tip: One of the gangsters has the last name of Sims, which also happens to be Ezekiel's last name. Coincidence or not?) We then cut to Pete and MJ having dinner at a posh retaurant. Pete's making fun of the waiter, when MJ suggests a trip back to her motel is in order (wink, wink). Pete refuses saying he wants to take it slow and wait for the 'right' moment.

In the meantime, the new baddie has made his way to town. Apparently he is made up of a group of gangsters from the 1950's and possesses their memories, so he wants a bit of revenge. He kills a couple of mobsters and brings down a building. Lieutenant Lamont arrives at the scene to investigate (Note: Lamont helped out Spidey with that Shade character a little while back). He notices things that indicate superhuman activity and decides to bring Spidey in for some help.

Not long after, Pete is making the rounds as Spidey after spending the evening with MJ. He hears screaming, but when he investigates he finds Lamont waiting with a tape player emitting screams to get Spidey's attention. Lamont and Spidey discuss the situation and Spidey takes the case!

Meanwhile, the gamma gangster (he hasn't been given a name yet, though the story title suggests digger) decides to check out one of his old haunts. Not suprisingly it has changed a little since the 50's, which makes our new villain a little upset. Of course his natural response is to start smashing everyone and everything. The ruckus alerts Spidey and he jumps into action just as the issue comes to an end... to be continued...

In General...

This is issue seemed pretty standard and almost formulaic at times. Particularly as far as the new villain goes. The villain has a semi interesting origin that does provide some motivation for him. But, in the end it's nothing really new. His powers just seem to be that he's strong, which is a bit boring. And his standard reaction to situations is to bash and smash. Again a bit boring. Not really holding out much hope for this guy to become interesting. He isn't even given a name!

On the other hand the in-between bits this issue are excellent and interesting. I'm really glad that Pete and MJ's relationship is being portrayed the way it is. It is much more realistic than I think I've ever seen. I particularly like how their issues aren't being swept under the carpet. Though it does seem a bit implausible that Pete would turn down MJ's advances!

I also really liked the re-introduction of Lieutenant Lamont and the developing of his and Pete's relationship. I think it's great and provides a much more interesting way for Spidey to find bad guys than just running into them or being targeted by them. I hope JMS continues to utilise and develop this relationship.

Lamont's reappearance has made me recall other interesting characters that JMS has introduced. Mainly those involved with Pete's job as a teacher, including the homeless kid. I think we need to see more of these characters and less of these boring villains!

The art of course is wonderful. And once again the cover is great! I'm not a real Campbell fan, but I must admit I really loved last issue's cover and this one is almost as good. A lot better than most of JR Jr's covers lately.

Overall Rating...

A mish-mash of standard and great equals a solid three and a half webs.