The Amazing Spider-Man #796



SpiderMan796VCThe tenth best-selling title of February 2018, at least according to “Diamond Comic Distributors”, many of this comic’s 55,138 readers were probably left wondering just how the Hunt Valley headquartered supplier apparently managed to ‘run out’ of Issue Seven Hundred And Ninety Six of “The Amazing Spider-Man” in advance orders alone and subsequently require the “Marvel Worldwide” book to go to a “second printing” before it had hit the shelves. Admittedly, this twenty-page periodical provides Norman Osborn’s incarnation of Carnage with a little ‘screen time’ as the murderously merged, sadistic symbiote cold-bloodedly kills a pair of the arms dealer’s loyal bodyguards slowly. Yet half a dozen panels somewhat ponderously pencilled by Mike Hawthorne hardly explains just why this publication was supposedly selling on “eBay” “for $15 to $25” before the $3.99 cover-priced copy had even gone on sale.

Likewise it is highly debatable that “Higher Priorities” owes much of its supposed success to Dan Slott and Christos Gage’s narrative either, as the collaborative partnership’s script featuring the colourfully costumed crime-fighter and Agent Anti-Venom battling the ever crazy Goblin Nation over “a rare explosive metal” was hardly likely to ever win the duo a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Single Issue despite the robbery’s pleasing, pulse-pounding pace. Indeed, considering that the successful conclusion to thwarting Phil Urich’s dastardly theft shockingly hinges upon the fact that J. Jonah Jameson now knows Peter Parker’s secret identity may well have had many in this comic’s audience baying for the writing pair’s blood, considering that such an astounding revelation was not depicted within the “mainstream continuity of the franchise”, but rather previously penned in Chip Zdarsky’s “Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man”.

Of course that isn’t to say there is nothing to enjoy within this somewhat ‘self-contained’ story. Flash Thompson’s prominent presence throughout provides the piece with some fun moments, such as when an incapacitated Boomerang informs the titular character that having just “been busted” by Anti-Venom “I just wanna say — He did it way better”, or later when the New York-born adventurer turns his back upon his fellow wall-crawler whilst the ‘team-up’ faces the Goblin King so as to return Hugo’s recently severed forearm to the disabled guard in order to help reattach it; “Okay, Now that’s hilarious. You look like you just got stood up at the super hero prom! Heh Heh…” However, such merriments simply make this tale a competent comic rather than account for why bibliophiles worldwide suddenly acquired so strong a bout of “Goblin fever”!

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


Reviewed by
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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