The Amazing Spider-Man #32



AmazingSpiderman32-minBilled by “Marvel Worldwide” as a “special issue that sets off the Amazing Spider-Man event of 2018”, this twenty-page periodical reads more like one of the New York-based publisher’s “What If?” stories, than a particularly serious addition to their flagship character’s canon. In fact, it many ways Dan Slott’s narrative for “Personal Demon” seems to play out as a somewhat perverse re-imagining of Doctor Stephen Strange’s origin story by having a physically flawed Norman Osborn desperately turn to The Temple With No Name after modern-day conventional medical treatment has failed to destroy the billions of “microscopic nanites spider-man put into my system… [which] were designed to block any trace of my [Green Goblin] serum.”

Just how the “genius industrialist” finds the Buddhist sanctuary amongst a range of snow-capped mountains is never actually explained, nor is the willingness of the three aged monks, Masters Hawk, Ox and Snake, to try and help the human mutate. But whatever the rationale behind Harry’s father being able to place his hand upon the Emerald Oracle of Ikkon, it’s profound impact upon the impotent supervillain is enthrallingly extreme, and for the rest of this comic its 58,885-strong audience must have read with increasing dread as he quickly establishes himself to be an omnipotent rival of the Sorcerer Supreme himself…

Indeed, Osborn’s battle against the titular character is undoubtedly one of the most one-sided conflicts the arch-rivals have ever experienced, with the facially disfigured “proficient scientist” immobilising his wall-crawling opponent using the Chains of Krakkan, rendering him unconscious courtesy of the Flames of Faltine, and then sickeningly swallowing the super-hero whole having transformed him into a normal-sized arachnid; “You don’t know the bug like I do! He crawls back! He always does! This time the Goblin gets his just desserts!” Of course, none of these sense-shattering moments are actually real, just visions of Norman’s future should the monks have been so unwise as to have “instructed him in the ways of magic.” But even so, the thought of an all-powerful Green Goblin, even for an instant, makes for scary stuff.

Brought in as a “guest artist” following his cessation as the regular illustrator on “Moon Knight”, Greg Smallwood’s rather recognisable drawing-style doesn’t initially seem to particularly suit Dan Slott’s somewhat sedentary script, at least until the former Iron Patriot dons a painted wooden goblin mask and teleports Spider-Man to his location. However, once the spells fly, and the temple’s stone-bricked walls are ominously glowing luminous green, then the Will Eisner Award-nominee shows just why at the time of this comic’s printing he was “one of the industry’s most in-demand” pencillers.

This article is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the site owner.


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For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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