Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciler: Marco Chechetto
Inker: Marco Chechetto
Story Title: “American Son Part 3”
A tour of Avengers tower. Peter in disguise. Harry and Lily meet. “Wolverine” vs. “Venom”. Harry chooses sides.
Before I get into the commentary this time out I wanted to mention that there were two ads in this issue that made me smile. The first had the Hulk and Thing playing the new Punch-Out game for the Wii. It may have been a tad silly but I chuckled a bit. The other was the retro ad that Marvel put in as part of their 70th Anniversary celebration. It was a 1984 advert for Power Man and Iron Fist where Iron Fist informed the reader that they should buy the book or risk making Power Man mad. I remember this ad vividly from when I was a kid and it was neat to see it in a “modern” comic.
See, you don’t get this sort of thing when you wait for the trade.
Overall this was a rather average issue. It felt like the middle chapter that it was. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy certain aspects of the issue but I felt like the creative team were just killing time until the more interesting portions of the story picked up again. Sure seeing Peter “in disguise” was neat but the pace of American Son slowed down with this issue.
The Daken/Spider-Man fight is a good example of this. An action packed fight should cause an issue to pick up but here I was pretty much bored. This has a lot to do with the fact that I think Daken is near-worthless as a character and concept but also because it did more to try and make Daken look cool than anything else. Still it makes sense and was kind of necessary but my own biases prevented me from enjoyng it more.
What I did like was the ending to this issue and frankly this is what saved it as a chapter. While the build-up was kind of hoo-hum the cliffhanger and the four pages leading up to it were fantastic, bordering on spectacular, no pun intended. I liked the fact that Harry was angry not so much at the fact that Spider-Man was poking into his life yet again but that he was going to ruin any chance of saving Lily and his unborn child. While it is true that I am 99% sure that Lily is going to betray Harry and 50% sure that the kid isn’t Harry’s I still like that Harry is committed to saving the woman he loves and (supposedly) their unborn child no matter the cost.
I also liked the fact that Spider-Man wasn’t simply beaten to a pulp. Instead Norman played with him a bit, which made for a better scene I can buy that Norman knew it was Spider-Man from the get go and the panel where he asks, “How stupid are you?” literally added insult to injury as Peter sat there with arrows in his legs. Also, I have to say that despite the fact I know Peter isn’t dead the sight of Norman just shooting him was very, very cool. It was, as Norman put it, something different. I am fairly sure it has happened before but for me it was new and dramatic.
So after a boring opening and a mediocre middle this issue ended on just the right beat. The Harry/Lily part of the story is fast becoming the most interesting thing about American Son and is threatening to overshadow Peter and Norman squaring off. It is also three issues in and Harry has yet to put on the armor, which means that his donning said armor might end up being uninteresting at best and a let down at worst. The art was decent this issue as well. It wasn’t anything to devote a paragraph too but there were some good moments. Harry continues to look a little funky but overall I can live with it.
3 out of 5 webheads.