Monday, December 26, 2016

Amazing Spider-Man #22 Review

The Blue Hoody Returns
Writer: Dan Slott & Christos Gage
Art Team: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, and Jason Keith
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 21, 2016

I hate to break it to you guys, but at this point in the Clone Conspiracy event, after finishing the eighth date, you’re firmly entrenched in either a beautiful loving or vengeful hate filled relationship. Basically speaking in non-relationship terms, you’ll enjoy whose back and what it could possibly mean for the future of the Spider-Verse as a whole, or you’ll hate the latest reveals and find the callbacks to history best left alone.   What side of this criterion, which I just made up in my weird head, do I stand on after eight dates? Would I consider putting a ring on it in the future? Well I think we all know around these parts I don’t buy rings so let’s just see if I liked this comic book instead, shall we.  

Things start right where Clone Conspiracy #3 left off as Ben Reilly propositions Spider-Man asking the hero to work with him and in return he’ll bring Uncle Ben back to life.  Spider-Man reacts by smashing the face of poor Ben Reilly, who seemingly allows Spidey to do this, until his frustrations are worked out and they can sit down for a long exposition filled chat.

Ben fills Spider-Man in on how he’s gone from ash in his arms to the mastermind behind the New U Empire.  As we’re taken on a trip down memory lane, recapping the adventures of Scarlet Spider’s past, we discover that of course Miles Warren was responsible for the events that lead to Ben Reilly’s resurrection and repeated death, over twenty-seven times, in an effort too perfect his cloning process.

When the backstory catches up with the events that lead to this current predicament we discover exactly when Ben Reilly made his turn from plucky underdog to fed up mastermind as he finally works up the strength to break free of Miles prison. The Scarlet Spider promptly turns the tables on Miles Warren to the point he’s unsure if he’s even real or a clone, subjecting him to the same experiments he was a patient of, only with the eventual “successful” results Miles craved for himself.

The big break through Scarlet Spider made is of course this red and blue pill we’ve become used to this story revolving around. So now with Spider-Man filled in, Ben Reilly reaffirms to Spidey that “nobody can save everyone” as they both very well know. However he also asks him “why he wouldn’t want a chance to bring back the people who’ve died” and with their own memories? When Spider-Man is offered the chance to fix mistakes of his past, something that haunts many heroes, he hesitates and asks Ben to tell him more as our issue ends exactly how Kaine and Spider-Gwen feared it would.

Overall we have an issue filling us in on the backstory of Ben Reilly’s resurrection which was obviously needed.  Really though what we get is nothing but a conversation over the span of 20 pages that only moves our timeline forward a few moments with really not much occurring.  Now I need to state the Ben Reilly Scarlet Spider is one of my 90’s comics era darlings so I’m enjoying these latest reveals but I can also see how some may be turned off to this type of story as well. Although Ben Reilly/Peter Parker is “technically” the same person you can see how someone buying an Amazing Spider-Man book might be disenchanted by the lack of Spider-Man action lately.

The art was solid but not really attention grabbing in any way.  There wasn’t much for the artists to do in their defense, and there are a couple solid montage pages, but I wanted a big Scarlet Spider in his hoody splash page damnit and I didn’t get it … yet.

Bits and Pieces:

If you’re following the Clone Conspiracy event this is a must read for the backstory of “Jackal” alone.  If this is an issue you may have an interest in as a stand-alone Spider-Man story wait things out until the event is over because it’s become a true tie-in to the event … enjoyable but still just a tie-in story.


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