THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #558

TITLE: “Freak the Third”
WRITER: Bob Gale

PENCILS: Barry Kitson
INKS:
Mark Farmer
COLORS: Avalon’s Hannin and Milla

Reviewed By:
Crazy Chris

PLOT:

After telling May about his move-out plans, Peter dons his tights to visit Doctor Connors, who explains that they must find Freak’s cocoon and neutralize it with maximum pH quicklime.

Peter goes to take more unflattering photos of Bill Hollister, but Menace interrupts the event with death threats directed toward the candidate. Our hero lets Menace escape so he can instead stop Freak, who Connors locates at a dump in Brooklyn. Spider-Man arrives just when the drug-addicted monster hatches, now in the form of an armored monkey. Spidey tricks Freak into snorting the quicklime, which sends him back to his chrysalis state. An Oscorp van, shoddily disguised as a police vehicle, carts the cocoon away.

THOUGHTS:

WARNING: Bob Gale’s dialogue may cause birth defects. If I listed every insipid, cringe-inducing utterance, then I’d come up with something resembling the full script. Let’s just say Menace actually says “Who’s you’re daddy, spider-coward? Who’s your daddy?” and leave it at that. Yes, there’s something at least that laughably inane on nearly every page.

The bystanders’ tendency to joke about the villains who have come to kill them proves especially irritating. A civilian cracks about how Menace must not like politicians, saying, “who can blame him?” and Freak’s appearance prompts a worker to make a mother-in-law joke. Spider-Man can quip as much as the writer wants, but when everyone tries to be funny it sucks away any sense of peril and kills all excitement.

We get more clues regarding Menace’s identity, but I still have no clue why I should care. Jonah’s subplot advances, but the scene makes him look like a caricature of himself and Marla look psychotic. It could be downright powerful to see these two confront each other like human beings in a real relationship, but Gale makes every page a farce.

I actually enjoyed this issue more than the others by Gale, partly because it’s bad enough to be hilarious and also because the art was good and the fights were cool. I dig the way Spider-Man defeated Freak, both for its cleverness and because it means quicklime won’t stop Freak when he regenerates. I like a villain who can never be beaten the same way twice, so hopefully Freak will return someday under different authorship.

RATING:

2.5 webheads out of 5, because I’m in a good mood. Don’t spend money on this issue, but if you somehow find it in your possession then you might want browse through it just for a laugh at the writing’s expense.

REVIEWED BY: CrazyChris

7 Responses to “THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #558 Review”

  1. #1 InsaneJonny says:

    All gales issues are ruined to me by his awful writing and this is no exception. Leading aside Aunt Mays “glee” at her nephew finally getting out of her house/finally getting back on his own two feet (that scene could of been wrote so much better and clearer if Bob Gale didn’t try to make it funny) the dialogue is cringeworthy throughout. At least he’s not staying on the title for too long thank havens. Think 2.5’s definitely to generous though cause even though I loved the art and the story wasn’t bad to me writing is more important then anything.

  2. #2 CrazyChris says:

    InsaneJonny, THANK YOU for the comment! It makes writing these things worth it to be able to see how folks react to them. I agree with you that writing is important, and that’s why Bob Gale’s issues are never as good as issues by the other three. I don’t think he knows how to make dialogue seem natural, and his scripts aren’t very witty either. However, I’ve been reading comics long enough to know how much worse it could be, so I tend to save the lowest scores for special occasions. Hence the 2.5 for this issue. It was poorly written, but harmless in the grand scheme of things.

  3. #3 Irishlad says:

    Hey Chris,
    Love the reviews but disagree on this issue.

    I think Gale nails Pete/Spidey’s dialogue and the conclusion is satisfying enough. It reminded me of a 70s Spidey tale to be honest. And as a single issue I thought Gale fitted it all in really well.
    Aunt MAy’s glee was hilarious as weas the clone/skrull comment.

    Ok the Menace stuff looked like it was inserted to keep that subplot going but other than that I liked it.

    Bob Gale for President!

    Ps. Bob Gale’s my Dad!! ;-)

  4. #4 CrazyChris says:

    Thanks for all your commnts, Irishlad. They are very helpful.

    Man, if I had realized Aunt May’s glee would be such a point of debate I would have mentioned it in the review. Another advantage to these comments is that it helps me learn what type of things are important enough, so I know what to cover.

  5. #5 rockinjohn says:

    i think bob gales art work is very good but i agree that the writing is no good.

  6. #6 CrazyChris says:

    The artist was actually Barry Kitson.

  7. #7 Dail says:

    i just wanted to say that I love this site