Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #563

 Posted: 2008
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)

Story 'Crisis On Coney Island'

  Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #563
Arc: Part 2 of 'The Other Spider-Man' (1-2)
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Writer: Bob Gale
Pencils: Mike McKone
Inker: Mario Alquiza
Cover Art: Mike McKone
Colorist: Antonio Fabela, Jeromy Cox
Articles: Mr. Negative

Spider-Man starts by bashing a few heads together as the villains at the bar attack him. But, before things can go too far, the bartender steps in and points out that the bar was created so that wanted people can have a drink in peace without the law coming after them. As a vigilante, that would include Spider-Man. As things calm down, Spidey asks the other people in the bar if they know where the Bookie is. Very reluctantly, the bartender reveals where the Bookie lives – Jersey. As Spidey leaves, he phones in to say Spider-Man is on his way.

At the FEAST shelter where May works, a guy called Yermo takes a nasty fall. May and Mister Li feed him some new-recipe stew and, as if by a miracle, his leg has recovered...

In Jersey, Lester is telling Spider-Man his son Johnny the Bookie has been kidnapped by the Enforcers after his attempted hoax with the fake Spider-Man. Spidey says to call the police. Lester says he's done that – but they don't believe him. Lester says he knows Spider-Man is being framed for the murders and that Johnny knows something about it too. If they go rescue him, Spider-Man will be able to find out what.

Spidey takes Lester to Coney Island by clinging on to the tops of trains and arrives as the Enforcers are chasing a tied-up Johnny around the bumper cars track. He wants to swing in and grab Johnny, then swing out. But Lester ruins his plans by shouting to Johnny as Spider-Man begins to swing in.

Some handy webbing begins to take care of the gang – but Spidey catches a runaway rollercoaster train heading straight for Ox. Ox is grateful and agrees to surrender, if only to save himself a beating. Lester is annoyed, accidentally revealing a Bluetooth headset and a list of bets he has on the encounter. Spidey hangs him upside down and makes him promise to give his winnings - $16k – to the FEAST centre. If he doesn't, Spider-Man will trash his house.

Back on the ground, Johnny tells Spider-Man that he knows the last few 'murders' he has been accused of actually died of natural causes. He has a book on who's responsible but doesn't actually know. Spider-Man tells him to find out – else he'll come back to his house.

General Comments

First, the obvious. If a lowlife bookie knows that the most-recent dead bodies found actually died of natural causes, why wouldn't a coroner?! If the people setting up Spider-Man end up being related to the police, then maybe that will make sense. If not, then it's a very odd situation.

There's nothing really wrong with this issue – but it does seem pretty far removed from the rest of the Brand New Day storyline. That has barrelled along at a fantastic speed since the new continuity – but this pretty much just stops for two issues. It was marketed as an other Spider-Man-type story, which is not really what it actually was.

In all honesty, it's just pretty hard to be interested in anyone in the story. The writers have done a good job of making the BND cast engaging and interesting. But none of them are in this – and there's nothing really likeable about anyone involved here. Even Spider-Man not once but twice threatens to smash up someone's property to get the information he wants. That's pretty questionable behaviour from a 'hero', while using the same idea twice in the same issue reeks somewhat of idea bankruptcy.

Overall Rating

Although it's not everyone's cup of tea – and I do understand why – I've enjoyed the title relaunch and like the thrice-monthly schedule. If this is just a two-part filler to help keep on-schedule, then it has achieved its goal. I just hope it's not the start of a downturn in the quality.

 Posted: 2008
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)