Writer: Joe Kelly

Penciler: Max Fiumara

Inker: Max Fiumara

Story Title: Endangered Species


The unemployment line. Norah helps Peter. The new Rhino returns. Love and death. Rhino vs. Rhino.

The Commentary

I’m pretty hip to the fact that writers are constantly playing with the readers emotions. It’s part of the gig and frankly I wouldn’t have it any other way. A good writer can suck you into a story and involve you emotionally to the point that when the big moment finally happens it has impact. That big moment could be two people finally getting together, two guys finally throwing down in a huge bust-up or even a character’s death. A really good writer can involve you to the point that you don’t think of the story as a story but as a real event that you are experiencing with the characters.

I get that feeling. I even like that feeling and by all rights this issue of Amazing Spider-Man should have really gotten to me because I understand and on some level relate to the emotions that most of the characters were feeling.

So why do I feel like this was a story was a big waste of time?

Don’t get me wrong. I thought this was a very well written issue of Amazing Spider-Man. I thoroughly enjoyed the first Rhino story that Joe Kelly told and felt for Aleksei and the love he felt for Oksana. I was also very taken with the concept that one of Spider-Man’s old villains had decided to hang up his suit and live a normal life. That was a really neat idea. Let the old Rhino retire and find some happiness while this new Rhino takes up “the mantle” and serve as a new threat for Spider-Man. That would be a neat twist given that all of these other classic villains were coming out of the woodwork and would separate Rhino from the pack.

That didn’t happen here, though. Instead Kelly killed Oksana and had Aleksei reclaim the Rhino name out of revenge. Oh, and he blames Spider-Man too. So not only is the Rhino back he’s back because of a personal tragedy and has a particular mad-on for the hero.

I don’t like it.

Not a bit.

This brings me to the waste of time comment I made earlier in the review. A month or so back Kelly took an entire issue to show how Aleksei had changed and become a new man because of the love of a good woman. We even got a back up story showing us how he got to that point. It was great. I loved the heck out of it. Now, a few issues later, he destroys all of that so that the Rhino can go back to being a villain, which leaves me asking what was the point?

Actually I know what the point was. The point was to show how much in love Aleksei was to when his wife died and he became the Rhino once more those moments would have more impact. It was designed to tug at our heartstrings and as the issue was wrapping up I kept thinking that sure my heartstrings were being tugged but in a very heavy handed manner. There wasn’t a whole lot of subtlety to Aleksei’s rise and fall and this feeling was driven home over the last few pages when Kelly, through Norah’s narration, made sure we knew how dramatic and sad the Rhino versus Rhino fight was and then capped it off by having Peter walk out of the unemployment line because he felt bad about everything that happened.

And that’s why I feel like my time was wasted. What began as a dramatic and compelling story ended as a melodramatic, sloppy mess. It had all of the emotional impact of an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 and that is so disappointing. It’s like he has a really good idea with a dramatic ending in mind and then doesn’t trust the audience to get what he’s trying to say so he ramps up the dialogue to let everyone know how operatic everything is and this story didn’t need that. It didn’t need the last part of Norah’s narration or the scene in the unemployment office where Peter walks out with bloody footprints stretching out behind him.

Parting Thoughts

I wanted to like this issue. I really did. I thought highly of the previous Rhino story so I was actually looking forward to reading the sequel, for lack of a better word. The fact that I don’t like this issue doesn’t make me very happy either especially since this is my last review.

So yeah, I am officially stepping down as reviewer of Amazing Spider-Man for the Crawlspace. It is not the material, mind you, though given the review I just wrote that might surprise some of you. I liked reviewing this title. I looked at it as a challenge. In fact I will continue to read the title since I am still on the podcast. The thing is that between the time I started reviewing ASM and now I have added a lot to my Internet plate and one of the casualties was not being about to get my ASM reviews out on time and that isn’t fair to Brad or the people who visit the site. So I felt the best thing to do is step aside and let someone who can get the reviews out on a regular basis have a shot at the job.

There are a few people I wanted to thank before I sign off. First to Brad for taking a chance on a kid and an Internet connection. We were friends before I began writing the reviews and because of the reviews I got a chance to be on the podcast, which has been a blast. Next to George, who had my back on more than one occasion when things got “ugly” around here. Finally, thanks to all of the people that commented, for good or ill. The fact that certain reviews seemed to provoke such passionate responses made the time I put into writing them worth it. I am sure there are some people I am forgetting and for that I apologize now.

So that’s it. I’m done. Stick a fork in me. I look forward to the reviews the new guy or gal will be writing and I’ll see you guys on the boards.


Couldn’t resist that.

Oh yeah…

2 out of 5 webheads.

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