What If? Back In Black Review

Here we have an out of continuity tale, therefore not affecting the main Marvel Universe in any way. A “What If?” tale concerning Back in Black, an arc which was in fact to cash in on Spider-Man 3 by bringing back the black costume. Written by Steven Grant (best known for the his Punisher mini-series in the 80s) and drawn by Gus Vazquez (best known for digital comics), I wondered who the target audience was for this book.

Then I realised I bought it and my question was answered…

What if Mary-Jane had been shot instead of Aunt May?
WRITER: Steven Grant
ARTIST: Gus Vazquez
COLOURS: Frank Martin
LETTERS: Cory Petit

We cut back to the scene in Back In Black, where the Parker family is in the sniper’s crosshair. Peter saves Aunt May, but Mary-Jane is shot instead (the spoiler was in the title). Peter immediately runs to the assassin and finds out the Kingpin hired him. He then kills the assassin…um what?

Peter goes after the Kingpin, who now has Iron Man as his bodyguard as he is being threatened by a superhuman. Spider-Man arrives at Ryker’s to see Kingpin’s protection by S.H.I.E.L.D. and starts to fight Iron Man. They argue about responsibility before Iron Man throws Spidey into a building a blows it to hell. Kingpin goes with his police escort, but Spidey isn’t defeated yet and goes another round with Iron Man, but defeats him by removing Stark’s armour…um what?

Spidey chases Kingpin to Newark Airport to find Aunt May as a hostage to corrupt policemen and Kingpin. Aunt May is saved and Spider-Man then kills Kingpin…um what?

Aunt May is disgusted at what Peter has done and refuses to go near him. Iron Man turns up (again) and Peter surrenders, blaming Stark for Mary-Jane’s death and saying he never would have married her if he knew this would happen.

-The art was very good, especially how things stood out from the background.
-Peter’s last line in the book

-Every line of Peter’s apart form the last one.
-Peter’s knowledge of schematics allowing him to remove Iron Man’s armour
-Peter’s killing streak

There is one main flaw with this book…if Mary-Jane died instead of Aunt May, I personally don’t think much would change. Peter loves his aunt and his wife immensely, but when Aunt May was shot, he didn’t kill anyone. I don’t think that it would be much different if someone else close to him was killed. He would still go after the Kingpin, but that’s what happened in Back In Black. So, this story was doomed from the start with a poor idea.

What didn’t help was the writing of the book. Firstly, Spider-Man does not kill. Peter Parker does not kill. When Gwen Stacy was hurled off a bridge, he didn’t kill. He just was not brought up that way. So in a story where he not only kills, but then does it again without thought is just bad. If Spider-Man killed someone, he probably wouldn’t stop killing people, so that is why he doesn’t start. I apologise for being repetitive, but that is just the way it goes.

The dialogue was pure exposition and just plain bad. More on that point later.

OK, it doesn’t mater how much you know about schematics, you cannot remove the Iron Man armour (infused with Extremis) just by touching the centre plate. Can’t be done. Just to let future writers know.

On a more positive side, the art was actually very solid. Slightly cartoon-ish but did well. It has a good style I’d like to see again in another comic, (hopefully a good one next time)

Everybody’s favourite feature is back.

KINGPIN: How hard did your wife die?


0.5 webheads out of 5

Take your $2.99 and buy shares in toothpaste. That’s a better investment than this comic will ever be.

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