Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #54

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

A gamma powered amalgalm baddie resurrected from the parts of dead mobsters is out for revenge against mob boss Forelli. Spidey's mixed up in it all, trying to stop the monster without getting too close to the mobster...

In Detail...

"The Balancing of Karmic Accounts"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #54
Aug 2003 : SM Title
Summary: (#495)
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  Terry Dodson
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Tales Flip Magazine #25
 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Amazing) #5
Articles: Digger

This issue begins with Spidey breaking into medical research facility to analise a sample of the Digger's blood in an attempt to find a way to defeat him. He discovers that the blood is fairly unstable and that Digger is having trouble staying together.

Later, over breakfast, Pete talks to MJ about his discovery about Digger. Pete comes to the conclusion that all he has to do is wear Digger down and his crazy genetic-gamma make up will be his own downfall.

Pete leaves to find Digger and on the way stops to set up something with Detective Lamont. After that he heads to Forellii's house. Spidey talks to Forelli and gets the money owed him. Spidey says its obvious the Digger has a personal vendetta against Forelli and tries to get Forelli to tell him what it is. Their conversation is interrupted as Digger arrives and goes after Forelli's daughter. Spidey and Digger fight it out, but are interrupted as Forelli's guilt and fear for his daughter force him to step in and admit to murdering the mobsters that make up Digger and that he'll give himself to Digger. Spidey jumps in again though and after some fighting they end up in the sewer outside the house, where Digger, run down, disentegrates after one final tussel.

After the Police arrive, Spidey is sharing a cuppa with Detective Lamont. Forelli comes out all pretentious and arrogant since the Digger is gone. But, Lamont and Spidey reveal that Spidey was wearing a tape and got Forelli's confession. Forelli is booked and the daughter swears revenge.

Later, Pete and MJ are outside a building as Pete nails a sign up. They are talking about how Pete is spending Forelli's money. Pete has donated it all so that a library can established in the name of Gwen Stacy.

In General...

I've often found with JMS's storylines that they often end alot stronger than they started. This was true of his Morlun storyline in particular. I remember at the start thinking that it wasn't too crash hot. But, by the end I really liked it. While I don't think this storyline is as strong, it definitely finishes up a lot better than it started. The pacing is a lot faster, there's a couple of nice character moments squeezed in and my doubts about Spidey's shady alliance with Forelli are vanquished, as Spidey finds a way to Forelli and Digger down.

I'm so gald MJ is back and while she doesn't play an upfront role often, just having her around and not forgotten is great. I like the way Pete blabbers on with his ideas and MJ gets lost. Alot more is being invested in the writing and portrayal of this relationship and its great.

The final battle is portrayed brutally and while I was put off by the "be the spider" bit, it played out well. JR, Jr's art is clear and powerful.

My favourite bit is the end. While I think Pete taking the money still is a little dodgy (I can't remember him doing anything similar before), I really like the tie-in with Gwen Stacy.

Just a couple of niggly problems, I like that Pete is portrayed as intelligent and using is science know-how. But, the blood thing is awfully similar to how he defeated Morlun. Also the whole, "Hulk needs to turn into Bruce Banner to repower" thing just seems plain wrong! I don't know what JMS is trying to say. I think Peter could of made that conclusion about Digger from what he has observed. But, I don't think the same thing could be said about the Hulk and I don't really see why the Hulk has to be brought into the equation at all. I hope that this idea isn't perpetuated...

Overall Rating...

Overall an improvement, and the mere mention of Gwen Stacy is worth almost a web in my book!