Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciler: Paulo Siquier and Marco Checchetto
Inker: Siqueira, Checchetto and Santos
Story Title: American Son Part 4
Harry and Norman talk. Spider-Man tortured. Norah gets what she wants. Harry betrayed and the truth revealed. American Son to the rescue.
What a horrendously almost offensively ugly cover.
I realize that is sort of the point. We’re not supposed to look at this cover and think, “Wow, she’s hot,” and if you do well that’s fine but I think this is the ugliest take on the pregnant and naked Demi Moore cover I have ever seen in my entire life.
Seriously. It’s art but it ain’t pretty.
After the relative slowness of last issue’s pacing this was a definite improvement, but that is what you would expect from the fourth chapter of a five part storyline. Kelly kicked things up a notch in terms of his writing and I have to admit that while I saw what was going to happen between Lily and Harry a mile away, or at least an issue or two away it was still a dramatic moment.
There is a difference between seeing something coming and being disappointed at the execution and seeing something coming and liking it anyway. This issue was an example of the latter.
The torture scenes were very well done, as odd as that is to write. It spoke to Peter’s character and inner resolve to stand up to the abuse at the hands of Norman and Bullseye. The Norman/Peter scenes were particularly strong and there was a lot of raw emotion being thrown around. It is a shame that this is probably one of the few confrontations these two are going to have until the end of Dark Reign because while I don’t have as much personal experience reading stories where Peter and Norman square off I appreciate the history of their relationship. The Bullseye/Peter scenes had a certain amount of dark humor about them. When Joe Kelly is “on” as a writer there are few that can top him as far as humorous dialogue is concerned. While Peter wasn’t throwing around his trademark quips quite so much in this issue because he was, you know, getting tortured, that one moment where he set Bullseye up made me chuckle.
The Lily/Harry confrontation went down, as I alluded to earlier, pretty much as I thought it would. In my last review I said that I was 99% Lily was going to betray Harry and that I was 50% sure that the kid wasn’t Harry’s and it turned out that I was right on both counts. I had this sneaking suspicion that Norman was the father of Lily’s child. It just made sense. Norman strikes me as the sort of rotten example of humanity who would indeed impregnate a woman to maneuver his son into position. There’s also the added “bonus” of having another child in case Harry doesn’t fall into line and he needs to be sanctioned. What neither Norman nor Lily counted on was Harry having enough and stepping up. As good as that is for Harry as a character and as exciting as that is to read there is a fundamental problem with it because it threatens to make Harry more of a central figure in the book that Peter is. American Son was not a Spider-Man story. It was Harry vs. Norman with Peter in the middle, which is kind of disappointing.
Norah continues to garner of lot of affection from me as a reader. I like her. She’s spunky and cute or as cute as ink on paper can get. The cliffhanger to this issue was kind of neat as well. Again, it was telegraphed a mile away but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. The art was spotty this time out but I think that had more to do with the mixing of artists than anything else. I wasn’t too keen on the opening scenes as far as the artwork goes but it definitely picked up later in the issue. Despite not being an according to Hoyle Spider-Man story and focusing more on Norman and Harry’s relationship and despite having a haphazard middle I am enjoying American Son and look forward to the final chapter.
3.5 out of 5 webheads