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Subj: My Thoughts on Amazing Spider-Man 646
Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 at 08:59:12 pm EDT (Viewed 27 times)
Reply Subj: Amazing Spider-Man 646
Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 at 11:01:05 pm EDT (Viewed 52 times)
So, the final chapter of Mark Waid and Paul Azaceta's "Origin of the Species" came out yesterday, and here's some of my reactions towards it:
Again, the art in this issue by Paul Azaceta (with help from Matthew Southworth) may not be for everyoneâ€™s taste, and it certainly has been one the biggest downsides to â€œOrigin of the Speciesâ€ as a whole. However, when there are scenes depicting the character in dark or dimly lit places with lots of shadows, and when there are also depictions of action involved, this is where one can see Azacetaâ€™s strong points as an artist, not to mention there are a couple of nice splash pages involving Spidey fighting Doc Ock.
Ah, yes, the conflict thatâ€™s been building between Spidey and Doc Ock since the beginning of the story. Unfortunately, Mark Waid, by including the Lizard--and also having the Lizard manipulate the â€œreptilian brainâ€ in Doc Ock (ugh!)--winds up undermining the very climatic battle between the two arch-enemies. In fact, other than the Lizard acting as a deus ex machina to help provide the big twist that Norman Osborn isnâ€™t actually the father of Lilyâ€™s baby, and to be someone else for Doc Ock to fight (and Spidey leaves them for the two of them to duke it out and not seemingly caring whether or not theyâ€™ll actually kill each other which seem rather uncharacteristic of him), there isnâ€™t that much of a reason for the Lizard to even be included in this story.
Of course, knowing that Norman is not actually the father of the baby leads to obvious conclusion that itâ€™s Harry even before Spidey confirms this with a DNA test at Avengerâ€™s Tower. That and the fact Marvel, in the very solicit for this issue, wound up spoiling this major development months in advance. But rather than it being a â€œmiracleâ€ that Waid tries to make it out to be, this revelation about the babyâ€™s true parentage is rather mixed. On the one hand, it serves as a fitting poetic justice against Norman Osborn, Doc Ock, and the other villains in that the hopes and aspirations they pinned on Lilyâ€™s child were thwarted, not to mention it is a relief that Norman hasnâ€™t fathered yet another goblin offspring a la Sarah and Gabriel Stacy as he did in Sins Past. However, since Harry is now a father once again and thus has been given a second chance, one canâ€™t help but wonder where exactly does the character go from here? This and other developments Harry has undergone since he was brought back at the start of Brand New Day has resolved much of his personal demons and internal conflicts--the very things which made him a potentially compelling character to begin with, so one has to wonder what role he plays in comic, especially since this is the â€œlast storyâ€ before Dan Slott takes over the full writing chores (although, if the preview for Amazing Spider-Man #647 is anything to go by, it appears Marvel was well aware of this dilemma themselves and have found a â€œsolution.â€).
Also, while it certainly does resolve the dilemma involving the baby, it comes across as being way too convenient and thus anti-climatic. In fact, a lot of the resolutions this story set-up feel that way. Spidey explains Carlie forgives Lily and Lily realizes all the wrong sheâ€™s done before she gets on her glider and flies away, presumably leaving everyone behind for good (or until Marvel can figure out what to do with her). Harry never took the Goblin Formula again, despite last issue making a big tease out of it (so much for the law of Chekovâ€™s Gun). The Avengers clear everything up with the authorities and Steve Rogers helped to clear Spidey of all charges---none of which we see on panel, by the way. And of course, Spidey, despite still having unresolved personal issues, still manages to swing off in an iconic pose while someone managing to work both the title of the story and says how his life is â€œAmazing.â€ At least there was confirmation in this issue that it actually was the â€œocto-tracerâ€ which had been triggering Spideyâ€™s spider-sense all through issue #644.
Still, I did like Waidâ€™s use of Spidey banter in this issue, especially his â€œStar Warsâ€ reference, but thatâ€™s not enough to really recommend this issue. Again, as with this entire story, itâ€™s hasnâ€™t been particularly bad, but certainly donâ€™t consider this to be one of Waidâ€™s better efforts, especially given his past performance on this title. Considering how he has apparently become disillusioned with modern superhero comics, I suspect this attitude rubbed off on this story. I also suspect there was a lot of editorial mandates placed on him, which would explain a lot of the develops and twists that occurred over the course of the arc. It may also explain why this story which was hyped as the â€œclimatic resolutionâ€ of â€œBrand New Dayâ€ goes out with a whimper instead of bang.
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