AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #585
Writer: Mark Guggenheim
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Story Title: “Character Assassination Part 2”
Lily Holister gives Harry an answer. Carlie confronts Vin on her discovery and gets more than she bargained for. Despite his wounds Peter rushes off to confront Menace once more only to find himself in a rather tight spot because of it. Menace’s identity is revealed.
You know the more I look at the cover to this issue the more that I really, really like it. Of all the covers that have come out since the start of Brand New Day this is the one that has grabbed me the most. I don’t really know why. It is such a visceral reaction. This cover has a lot of power and went a long way toward me liking this issue.
Some questions got answered in this issue with not one but two big reveals. The other big subplot that popped up off and on for the past year was the whole, “Who is Jackpot?” mystery and that was mishandled in every sense of the word. This led to a certain amount of trepidation that came with approaching the second chapter of Character Assassination. I won’t lie. Thankfully it turned out well. There was actually a lot to like in terms of both character and art. Guggenheim is writing what could be the best story to come out of Brand New Day since New Ways to Die. There was a lot of action in this issue but at the end of the day what made this a pleasurable reading experience is the fact that I was sucked into the characters and the twists and the turns the story is taking.
I’m going to tackle the Spider Tracer Killer reveal first. Last issue we were left with the feeling that the killer was Vin. Carlie found the bag of Spider Tracers in his room. I didn’t quite buy it because it seemed too obvious and with the history this creative group has with mysteries I didn’t know what to think. The more I thought about it the more I came to realize that it didn’t really click. The surprise here isn’t that Vin is the Spider Tracer Killer. It’s that there is more than one killer and that other police officers are involved. If there is anything about this issue that made me go, “Holy crap!” it was that single panel where Vin’s partner lets Carlie know what has been going on.
I like having that feeling when reading a comic. It’s nice that this sort of thing can still happen after all of these years of reading comics.
Then there was the second reveal; the true identity of Menace. Surprisingly I dug it. It was one of those things that should have been fairly obvious and in all honesty I think it’s rather clever. What better character to choose to be Menace than the girlfriend of Harry Osborn? The way the revelation was paced, especially with Lily having issues with Harry’s proposals at the beginning of this chapter, gave it the dramatic oomph it needed. I have no problems with Lily being Menace. It works for me.
The Final Analysis
Surprisingly I enjoyed this issue. Guggenheim started to give the answers to questions some of us have been asking for roughly a year now and so far I am digging it. Romita Jr’s art is still fantastic and I especially like the look on the face of Vin’s partner when he drops the bomb about the Spider Tracer Killer. I also like how despite his wounds Peter still goes into battle. This to me is what makes Spider-Man a hero and I especially liked the comment he made about feeling guilty if Menace hurt somebody while he stayed out of the fight because he was injured. If Amazing Spider-Man had more stories like this or at least stories with as much character as this the book wouldn’t be so hit and miss.
4 out of 5 webheads.