Testing … testing … testing…
Hey, this whole “I can update these myself” thing isn’t half bad. Anyway, I’m here to share with you my review of this week’s ASM. Fans have given a mixed response to Bob Gale’s previous issues, so you’ll have to click the “Read the rest of this entry” button to learn how the latest one stacks up. Oh, and make sure to leave a comment! It’s easy, and it helps make the site more interactive.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #562
TITLE: “The Other Spider-Man”
WRITER: Bob Gale
PENCILS: Mike McKone
INKS: Andy Lanning
COLORS: Jeromy Cox
While Dexter Bennett’s blacklisting of Peter has made the young man’s job-hunt fruitless, the mysterious Bookie has no problem racking in gambled dollars at the villain-haunted Bar With No Name. The latest wager is whether or not Spider-Man will accept the Basher’s youtube-broadcasted challenge. The odds are in favor of Spidey not even showing up, so that’s how the villains bet. Peter sees the video and visits the scene to make sure no one gets hurt.
It’s a scam; in fact, the Bookie hired an imposter Spider-Man to encounter the Basher so that he’d clean up on the bets. Pete changes into costume and chases down the other Spider-Man, revealing to the villains watching from the bar that the Bookie staged the event. The real Spider-Man unmasks his doppelganger and discovers that she is Screwball. Screwy tells Spidey about the Bookie and the Bar With No Name. Our hero drops into the bar, only to find the place full of disgruntled villains.
Even with Marvel’s excessive promotion of this issue, did anybody actually think the “other Spider-man” would be a clone or the Tracer Killer or anything else relevant, rather than yet another imposter in a costume? Actually, don’t answer that. I have a better question: who else is floored by how much this Bob Gale issue doesn’t suck?
No one wil accuse this chapter of being great, or even significant in the grand scheme, but it does tell an amusing story that feels self-contained within the context of a two-part arc. Better yet, Gale’s dialogue actually flows naturally this time. Sometimes it’s even kind of witty. Is this the same Bob Gale I mocked a mere month ago?
Gale finally gets the “Parker luck” right. Peter can’t find a job because of an unsung moral gesture, not because he’s a genuine loser like in previous Brand New Day misadventures. I also dig Peter’s interaction with his new roommate. Now, Pete living and interacting with HIS WIFE was infinitely more compelling, but he and Vin do have chemistry. One might even call it a bromance.
We’ve seen plenty of Spidey posers in the past, and there was a story about crooks watching and betting on super-fights a few years ago in Peter Parker Spider-Man Vol. 2 #53-55 (braintrust member Zeb Wells wrote that one, so Gale must have known his idea lacked originality). Even though Gale uses familiar ingredients, they fit together well here. The absurd villains crowded in such a mundane setting reminded me of something out of The Tick. A funny scene showing the Bookie’s home life gave a similar real world touch to Spidey’s universe.
The editorial tone blemishes this otherwise solid issue. As usual, I notice an overabundance of footnotes, but one unwelcome public service announcement by Joe Quesada proves especially irritating. It’s preachy, and it interrupts the story’s rhythm, but the real problem is that trappings like these suck all subtlety out of the page. Why include a caption that says “In case ya been livin’ in a cave for 40 years, smoking causes lung cancer and death” when the art and writing already show the smoking guy hacking his lungs out? Getting beat over the head with a message like this makes one wonder if the Marvel staff thinks their readers are stupid.
This review can’t end without mentioning Mike McCone’s pencils. All of the action looks big on the page, so he makes what could have been a ho-hum little story seem bold and cinematic. The only art flaw is that the climax clearly takes place at night even though the dialogue refers to the time as “high noon.”
“Why does everyone run when they hear the word ‘lawyer’?”
3.5 webheads out of 5. A good Bob Gale issue. Does anyone else hear the flutter of flying pigs?
REVIEWED BY: CrazyChris