Monday, October 10, 2016

Amazing Spider-Man #19 Review

Spider-Man and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day

Written by: Dan Slott
Art by: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Jason Keith
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: October 5. 2016
Review by: Branden Murray

The Amazing Spider-Man series has been on a roll as of late after Volume four’s relatively slow start. Something about the Before Dead No More story arc has really captured my attention, amping up my excitement for next week’s Clone Conspiracy crossover to get started. So, let’s get right into the mix here and follow Spidey along on his latest escapades. 

The Jackal continues to influence enemies and friends close to Peter with his New U technology that has been shown to mysteriously bring back people from medical emergencies … even a long death. Aunt May leans on Peter for support during this time, waiting for his determination on whether or not to use the New U procedure or traditional medicine to save her husband Jay Jamison.  Jay’s son Jonah, who has seen his wife brought back to life, is trying to convince everyone to go along with this experimental plan. 

However, Peter continues to have his doubts because the New U tech sets off his “Spider Sense” when he’s near the patients. It sounds pretty silly and confusing to type out, but Dan Slott has flawlessly setup this area of the story so far in my opinion and it comes off incredibly heart felt as decision with actual consequence and weight behind them are made.  

May, Jay, and Peter agree to go with the traditional procedure, against Jonah’s best wishes.  Jay, sensing the end may be near if things don’t go as planned, asks Peter go pick-up a family heirloom he can pass down to his son back across town. Peter suits up and heads off. Meanwhile Jonah, influenced by Jackal, continues his effort to try and convince Peter by any means necessary New U is the way to go. 

Spidey webs the heirloom into a backpack setting off for the hospital.  As “Parker Luck” would have it in his travels across town he passes an elevated construction crane losing its supports about to crash down onto the people of the city.  Spider-Man has to go full messiah pose, webbing the crane to nearby building supports, holding the two ends of the web in each hand waiting for rescue services to arrive.  

As the story progresses both Spider-Man’s webbing and Jay Jamison begin running short on time. With the construction workers finally rescued and the crane secured Parker luck starts to take effect. The web backpack on Spider-Man disappears, because an hour has passed rescuing the workers, resulting in the Jamison family heirloom hitting the ground. 

This moment in the story also ironically signals the death of Jay Jamison as the traditional medical procedure, they ultimately decide to go with, fails to save his life.  Peter finally arrives at the hospital and receives the bad news giving the broken heirloom to Jonah. 

We also get a back-up story, setting up Clone Conspiracy a little further, that teases future confrontation between the Jackal and Kingpin.  Jackal in an effort to secure Kingpin’s services brings him, a back from the dead, Vanessa.  When Vanessa asks Kingpin to help Jackal with his plan Kingpin shockingly snaps her neck stating “That wasn’t my wife. That was an Abomination.”  

He attacks Jackal who at the last minute is saved by one of his current henchman the Rhino.  Rhino and Kingpin start to mix it up and just when it looks like Rhino has the upper hand to strike a “good” blow Spidey comes in with a saving assist.  This forces everyone involved Kingpin, Jackal, and the rest of their crews all to bail as the wheels in Kingpin’s head start to move about how he can manipulate Spidey into dealing with this problem for him. 

The Amazing Spider-Man #19 moved at a fast and furious pace, as Dan Slott did an excellent job laying the final pieces of ground work for the conflicts Peter/Spidey will face in the coming months.  There’s a lot of information to digest here because not only do we get a back-up to accompany the main story, but if you download the digital code, you also receive the free comic book day issue of Spider-Man that’s referenced in subtitles throughout the story. 

This would be one of those rare cases you get your money’s worth from a $4.99 Marvel comic, although they still really need to do something about the paper quality of their physical copies. Even the covers feel like toilet paper.  

The art team of Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, and Jason Keith continue to impress. Each character have their own look and distinct characteristics, no two people ever looking alike to be confused with one another, a common trap some very good artists fall into.

This issue hit some classic Spider-Man tropes. Regardless of how good of a guy Peter was trying to be throughout the issue every decision he made ending up being wrong somehow despite his best intentions.  His duel identity prevented him from revealing key information only Spider-Man was privy too that had direct impact on those close to him.  While it may sound like the story arc is treading nostalgic grounds just to gain readership that doesn’t feel like the case to this reviewer at all.  

Bits and Pieces:

The setup and construction of the story so far deserves much more credit than that because it’s been a heartfelt affair with spot on characterization for everyone involved.  As a long time reader and Spider-Man fan I’m riding high at the moment and hope this trend continues. 


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