The Amazing Spider-Man #800 [Part One]

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SpiderMan800Whereas this eighty-page periodical was almost certainly one of the longest single publications to depict Spider-Man battling the Green Goblin’s alter-ego, it is highly debatable that Dan Slott’s penmanship for “Go Down Singing” will ever be regarded as “the biggest Peter Parker/Norman Osborn story of all time”. For although the “no holds barred” narrative admittedly delivers more than its fair share of plot-twists, shocks and bloody bare-knuckle fisticuffs, it also arguably depicts the former Oscorp owner at his most incompetent, as the human mutate paired with the Carnage Symbiote repeatedly fails to kill the likes of Aunt May and Mary Jane Watson, despite supposedly being both super-humanly strong and skilled in martial arts…

Indeed, if anything, the opening half of Issue Eight Hundred of “The Amazing Spider-Man” appears to demonstrate just how utterly inept the former billionaire industrialist is at realising his revenge, with the Red Goblin somehow managing to be thwarted at each and every turn. Admittedly, the Berkeley-born writer does somewhat contrivingly conjure up all manner of anti-heroic cameos, such as Eddie Brock’s Venom and Otto Octavius, with which to stop the murderous villain’s machinations. But it’s hard to imagine that someone as supposedly determined as Harry’s father wouldn’t have lingered just a few more seconds longer to permanently dispatch Web-head’s one-time fiery-headed wife, or his elderly white-haired doting relation, especially when the likes of Doctor Octopus and “one of Marla’s old spider-slayers” have been neutralised.

Of course, all this lazily manufactured bungling does admittedly result in some seriously dynamic smack downs which clearly helped carry this comic’s 411,480 readers ever onwards through the Eisner-Award winner’s drawn-out, treacle-like plot. In fact, Venom’s return and subsequent battle against an increasingly enraged Osborn is probably one this book’s highlights as the symbiote-powered pair tear ragged chunks out of one another, and in many ways it’s a shame that the titular character arrives at Stark Tower as early as he does; “Y’know, Eddie, you are starting to get on my last nerve! I’m on a freakin’ schedule! You’re killing me here!”

Sadly, far less successful however has to be this celebratory edition’s decision to persistently shift artists with each chapter. Despite the clarity of his colourful breakdowns, Nick Bradshaw’s pedestrian pencilling for “Crawling Through The Wreckage” rather pales in comparison to that of Humbertos Ramos, whose dynamically-packed panels for “Too Many Targets” follow straight on from those of the “Atlantic Canadian” illustrator. Whilst for all his clean-lined competency, Giuseppe Camuncoli’s portrayal of the Red Goblin almost dispatching his entire immediate family within the Alchemax Head Office disappointingly seems to lack the energy needed to show little Normie’s emotional change of heart at the thought that his grandfather has cold-bloodedly just murdered his mother.

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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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