The Amazing Spider-Man #799

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SpiderMan799VCUndeniably packing plenty of web-swinging bang for its buck, Dan Slott’s script for “The Ties That Bind” was arguably just the sort of action-fest its 192,609-readers were anticipating, considering its plot builds upon the premise that a badly-wounded Spider-Man has previously been overwhelmed by “the Red Goblin’s terrifying power” and resultantly needs “the help of friend and foe alike if he hopes to stop” Norman Osborn. But whilst this third instalment to the Berkeley-born author’s “Go Down Swinging” storyline pays plenty of attention to the likes of Johnny Storm, Silk, Agent Anti-Venom, Miles Morales and even Clayton Cole’s criminal alter-ego Clash, the motivation behind just why Peter Parker has assembled his own ‘Bat-Family’ may well have proved somewhat disconcertingly contrived for the odd perusing bibliophile.

True, as the former “amoral industrialist Head of Oscorp”, Harry’s father is far from the most trustworthy of people, especially now he is wholly merged with the homicidal Carnage Symbiote, so it’s perfectly understandable that the wall-crawler might be a bit dubious as to whether the super-villain will stick “to our bargain” not to harm everyone he cares about, like “the Mary Janes and Aunt Mays of the world”, “as long as you don’t show your pwetty widdle webbed head.” However, the Red Goblin has already disconcertingly lived up to their agreement by allowing the badly beaten Spider-Man to survive their opening encounter, so just why Parker suddenly believes that their deal will be broken and resultantly sends Morales to guard his elderly aunt, the Human Torch to protect Mary Jane, and Cindy Moon to look after “what used to be the Daily Bugle” is perhaps a bit perplexing..?

Equally as annoying is how the Eisner Award-winner deals with the symbiote’s well-known weakness to “fire and sound” so as to enable Osborn’s latest criminal incarnation to survive a withering attack from the combined forces of Storm and Cole. Not unsurprisingly, the assault fails, but rather than provide any sort of explanation as to why it — it did absolutely nothing” Slott lazily just writes that Norman is now “the ultimate hybrid” with “all of the strengths” and “none of the weaknesses! Ha Ha Ha!”

Fortunately, what this twenty-page periodical is good at demonstrating is Stuart Immonen’s terrific artwork and ability to imbue his figures with precisely the sort of dynamic energy fans of the Canadian penciller have come to expect. Indeed, the illustrator’s double-splash of the Red Goblin defeating Silk and an overly cocky Miles is superbly drawn, as are his later panels depicting Flash Thompson’s ill-fated decision to save the lives of his badly-wounded friends rather than ‘take-out’ this comic’s main antagonist first; “Too easy! Like taking candy from a dead baby.”

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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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