Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #55

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This story is part of an Arc: "Unintended Consequences"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Peter has recently started teaching science at his old high school. He often takes an interest in his students and their welfare...

In Detail...

Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #55
Sep 2003 : SM Title
Summary: (#496)
Arc: Part 1 of "Unintended Consequences"
Editor:  Axel Alonso
Writer:  Fiona Avery, J. Michael Straczynski
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  Mike Deodato, Jr.
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 Reprinted In: Spider-Man TPB (Amazing) #5
Articles: Ezekiel

Pete is running late on his way to work and notices some students congregrating not far from the school and looking a little suspicious. Most of the kids scoot when Pete approaches, but one girl named Melissa stays. She has a foot in plaster and is on crutches. Pete helps her into class and uses makes an excuse to cover both himself and Melissa.

Later, Pete checks into the school office to check up on Melissa's academic record. Pete finds out that because of some bad scholastic luck she is stuck in remedial reading and no longer in an Bio Honors class Pete teaches. As a result she also has to do PE, but with her leg is stuck on the sidelines. So, Pete arranges for her to get out of PE and into his Bio Honors class. Melissa is pretty happy, but a little distrsutful still.

That afternoon Pete helps her home because of her cast. When they arrive at her apartment they find she is being robbed. Not wanting to reveal his secret identity, Pete manages to take out the robbers by bumbling around and whacking them with the bags he is carrying.

That evening, Melissa's mum comes home and thanks Pete. He discovers that Melissa has a brother, Josh, who was put in jail after Spidey caught him carjacking. He was recently released, but has gone missing. Obviously Melissa and her mum are worried. The reason they were robbed is because Josh owes some hoods money and since they can't find Josh to collect, they are taking what they can from the family.

Pete and MJ meet up for dinner. Pete discusses the situation and how Melissa's situation is partly his fault. So, half an hour after dinner is finished, Pete tracks down the robbers to their hideout as Spider-Man. He beats up the baddies and tells them to leave Melissa and her family alone.

On his way out out of the baddies hideout Spidey finds Ezekiel. Ezekiel acts all mysterious and then is gone. Spidey then checks up on Melissa and makes a promise to himself to help her further in whatever way he can.

In General...

This is probably my favourite issue of Amazing since the "Conversation" issue where Aunt May and Pete discuss his secret identity. I have really liked the new teaching aspect of Peter's life. Pariticular I like the new characters that have been introduced and how they affect Peter's life. His interest and care for his students is believeable and the relationships he develops seem to ring true.

Melissa's story is interesting and ties into Spidey's well, making Spidey question the way he does things. It makes him think about the 'unintended consequences' that might come out of his actions as a crime-fighter. I hope this theme is explored a little more in future issues, as it is new and seems to have a lot of potential.

One of the things I like the most about this issue is that there is no super-villain! It's refreshing to see Spidey take on a more real-world problem and not force it to be linked to a super villain plot. I think that is also what makes this story stronger than the previous stories that focused on Pete's students. Those stories had a super-villain thrown in and it seemed to take away from the realism.

The art is great once again. There are some funny moments, MJ makes an appearance, this is almost perfect! Ezekiel is thrown in at the end though for seemingly no reason... but that doesn't really detract from things. My only hesitation with this issue is that it won't be remebered in future stories. I mean the student characters that have been introduced so far, while interesting, seem to have mostly been forgotten. I would like to see these characters become a more regular prescence in Pete's life. Surely if he cared about their situations enough to do something about it intially he would at least check up on them once or twice afterwards?

Overall Rating...

An awesome issue in my opinion!