The Amazing Spider-Man #791

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SpiderMan791-minConsidering just how simplistic the script to Issue Seven Hundred And Ninety One of “The Amazing Spider-Man” arguably is, it probably didn’t come as too much of a surprise to the comic’s 50,358 readers in November 2017 that “Marvel Worldwide” desperately attempted to boost the book’s sensationalism by advertising that its biggest selling point was the titular character and Mockingbird “flying in the air, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!” Yet whilst this third instalment to Dan Slott’s “Fall Of Parker” does somewhat focus upon the ‘blooming romance’ between the former C.E.O. of Parker Industries and Bobbie Morse, the duo’s relationship is hardly as overt as Alex Ross’ cover illustration suggests, nor is it arguably ever placed in jeopardy as a result of “down on his luck” Peter’s “latest conflict”.

Indeed, the vast majority of “Back To Ground” actually focuses upon the first day at the Daily Bugle for Joseph Robertson’s latest “full-time employee” and the Science Section’s subsequent “field trip” to Humanitech Robotics Incorporated in Upstate New York, rather than the two lovers’ costumed alter-egos battling container-cracking criminals on the Waterfront. This “guided tour” of Doctor Xander Zynn’s major corporation feels strangely reminiscent of some of the former photographer’s earliest adventures, when his thirst for knowledge led the then teenaged human mutate into all sorts of misadventures, and whilst the visit invariably does conclude in a mass night-time battle with an army of robotic Humanitrons, it hardly places any pressure upon the fast-developing bond between “two of the Avengers”; “Hey, Petey. Yeah. Everything’s great over here. More important, how’s your first day at the new gig going?”

Of course, the highlight to this twenty-one page periodical is undoubtedly Spider-Man and Mockingbird’s stealthy sojourn into the aforementioned “high-tech place” and their discovery that the “bad guy” has been cyber-enslaving Quicksand. Dynamically drawn by Stuart Immonen, the revelation that the sand used to ‘power’ the cute-looking automatons’ smart silicon matrixes weren’t “actually trapped parts of” the Sandman after all, but instead belonged to an adversary of Thor who was once a “member of Superia’s all-female criminal organization the Femizons” makes for a pleasant surprise, and doubtless caught many in this comic’s audience as off-guard as it does Web-Head himself.

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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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