Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy 600 Spidey!

The Amazing Spider-Man #600
Writer: Various
Artist: Various
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Peter Parker has joined the 600 Club. You have to give it to Marvel, they know how to celebrate! With over 100 pages of original stories, this issue certainly has a justified $5 price tag. More on that a little later.

The main story centers on an ailing Doctor Octopus. After years of having his ass handed to him, his body has decided to quit healing itself. So, he's essentially left to be a brilliant brain inside a dead body. So, he does what anyone with four shiny, new appendages stuck to his body, he decides to make his last year on Earth worth something and starts to make some big plans.

But some things, like comic characters, die hard. Even though he wants to do something great for the citizens of New York City, he can't seem to ignore Spider-Man (who, of course, is trying to spoil the plans). Even upon learning that his former love, dear old Aunt May, is going to be married to Jonah Jameson, Sr. (J.J.J.'s father) in a matter of days, he decides to mess that all up. Why? Because he's nuts.

As I mentioned, this couldn't come at a worse time for ol' Petey. He's got important marriage stuff to do and he can't let May down. So, he gets some help from his pal, Johnny Storm. They save the day, showing no emotion toward Doc Ock's condition (which I find kinda weird), and Peter gets to his Aunt's wedding. He even brings some arm candy - his new roommate, Michele. When the bouquet is tossed, it's caught by comics' top tier last page leading lady - Mary Jane Watson.

From there, we get some nice little 4 or 5 page quickie stories that delve into more about who Spider-Man is and what his legacy is. In particular, the little story about Peter growing up and his relationship with Uncle Ben was really nice. The final story sets up the next year, or so, of Spider-Man.

I definitely appreciate there being some actual original stuff in a bulky Marvel comic, but I'm not sure I really need much of it. I guess what I'm saying is that I kinda would rather pay $4 for a comic than $5 any day. How often have we seen a big ol' thick book from Marvel only for it to be two-thirds reprint or completely useless stuff I can find on Wikipedia?

These days, I don't know what to think of the Spider-Man book. It reached it's high over the past decade while J. Michael Straczynski was writing the book. We got some new characters that were interesting and not just punching bag for Spidey and some great stories involving those characters. I'm not in the boat with the majority of comics people who thought his final arc, "One More Day", was crappy or anger-inducing. Spidey needed some new stuff going on in his life - especially after unmasking himself in the Civil War event.

Moving forward from that, "Brand New Day" was kinda weird. It felt like the series was thrown back to the 1970s and the stories were hit and miss. I like the writer, Dan Slott, but I'm not sure I liked the editorial decision to suddenly plop this storyline in the middle of the current state of the Marvel U. Normally, I can say for certain that I do or don't like something, but with Marvel, I'm riding a lot more fence than I'd like to. Maybe with MJ coming back to Pete's life, the book can get over the hump of what happened at the end of "One More Day".

Thanks for reading. I'll be back in a few days with Leah Moore and John Reppion's Sherlock Holmes #3.

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