Comics : Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #56

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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. One such student is Melissa. Pete discovers that he put her brother away, but her brother has been released and is now missing. Pete vows to help her out by finding her brother...

In Detail...

"The Revolution Within"
Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 2) #56
Oct 2003 : SM Title
Summary: (#497)
Arc: Part 2 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

This issue starts with Pete at school looking very tired. Melissa comes into chat and we see in flashback that Pete is so tired because he spent all night looking out for Melissa as she searched for her brother.

After school Melissa confronts Pete about her brother, she thought his reaction to a picture of her brother was suspicious. Pete panics and says he's seen him around. Melissa accuses Pete of flunking him, which lead to his downward spiral into crime. Pete points out he hasn't been teaching that long. Pete walks Melissa home and resolves to find Joshua (her brother) soon.

Later Pete goes to a parole office to try and track Joshua down. He is unable to find out where he is and on the way out passes Ezekiel. Ezekiel acts a little suspicious. Pete decides to use some of his journalistic contacts and meets a guy in a bar. The dude gives Pete some information on a new gang setting up shop and the location. It seems alot of freshly released criminals are part of it, though he isn't sure what exactly is going on.

That night Pete heads out as Spidey to check it out. First he webs up Melissa's window so she can't sneak out herself. He heads to the location given to him and finds some goons entering the place. He sneaks in. He finds some seeming crooks, with a surprising vocabulary, talking mysteriously about some big guy. Spidey is quite surprised by the incongruity of their educated language versus their the fact that they seem to be criminals.

Joshua appears and then Spidey's mobile phone goes off, blowing his cover. He jumps in to talk to Joshua and beats up the thugs as he tells Joshua to get in touch with his family. As Spidey is laying waste to the thugs, Ezekiel enters and tells everyone to stop fighting. Apparently this new gang has been set-up by Ezekiel for good (though undisclosed) purposes. Ezekiel explains that there enchanced vocabulary is due to the fact that they studied during their stay in prison. He tells Spidey that he hooks up with and recruits such people as they exit jail.

It then all wraps up with Spidey explaining to Joshua about Melissa. Joshua goes home to let his family know he's okay. Ezekiel asks Spidey to keep his plans confidential. Pete feels good about how things worked out and recounts to MJ in the park.

In General...

I really liked last issue and while this issue continues that story, there's a couple of really stupid things that make it less enjoyable.

The theme of Spidey exploring the consequences of his actions is carried on and is sort of resolved. I guess Pete sort of concludes that his job isn't just about catching people and webbing them up for the cops and then forgetting about them. He realises that to really help people, its not always that simple and with a little extra effort he can really change people's life for the better. This is an interesting aspect to explore and I think has alot of story potential. The way it plays out is a little too cutesy though. Especially at the end when Joshua returns home and Pete is all smug when they talk about Spider-Man. That gets a little over the top.

I really liked the start of the issue, it was a good mix of different things with some great humour mixed in. Everything seemed to deteriorate when Spidey entered the warehouse and encountered Ezekiel's vocabulary enhanced ex-cons. That whole thing just came off as really stupid and far-fetched. And the fact that Spidey doesn't push to find out what Ezekiel is really up to is really frustrating and seems extremely unlikely. I don't think Pete really trusts Ezekiel that much. The whole sequence just seemed poorly written aswell. There's heaps of text there, but its still really confusing and unclear as to whats going on. I may change my mind later, but in my opinion, this is probably the worst scene that has appeared in Amazing Spider-Man since JMS took over writing. I know Fiona Avery co-write and scripted this issue, so maybe this sort of thing won't happen again due to JMS coming back next issue. But, I tend to think that it was a JMS plot point that maybe got a little mangled. In that case I hope this Ezekiel thing is handled alot better if it turns up in the future.

I still really like a lot of things about this issue, but there's some really stupid things aswell. I hope that JMS continues to explore some of the themes introduced and keeps up supporting characters that've been introduced. I have a feeling though that Melissa probably won't be seen again, sort of like that homeless girl Pete previously helped out in another story-line. If JMS can spend 3 issues on the Digger, surely he can spare some time on keeping these interesting suporting characters around.

Overall Rating...

Some great elements mixed with some stupid moments = 3 webs!