AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #631 Review


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #631

“Shed, Part Two: The Death of Curt Connors”

Writer: Zeb Wells

Penciler: Chris Bachalo and Emma Rios

Inker: Tim Townsend, Jaime Mendoza, Chris Bachalo, and Emma Rios

Colorist: Antonio Fabela

Cover Art: Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend

Variant Cover Art: Doug Braithewaite


Be warned – there are SPOILERS ahead!

Way back in November of 2008, in Episode 51 of the Spider-Man Crawl Space Podcast, Kevin claimed that The Amazing Spider-Man #575 made him consider quitting comics.  It was a very funny moment, but when I first listened to that episode, I thought, “Man, there’s no way a single comic (that isn’t the last part of One More Day) could be that bad!”

Ladies and gentlemen, I was proven wrong today.  The Amazing Spider-Man #631 is so offensively terrible that I got the same feeling Kevin did about a year and a half ago.

The Plot

Ana Kravinoff hunts Kaine.  Carlie Cooper and Spider-Man investigate the scene of the crime at Connors’ lab.  The Lizard goes after Billy, and Spider-Man fights him.  CHOMP.

The Good

The Emma Rios pages are decent.

The Bad

Oh boy.  I’ll try to keep this as civil as possible.

Let’s start from the beginning.  We all remember Kaine, right?  He’s a super-strong, very formidable, damaged clone of Spider-Man that debuted during the Clone Saga.  He’s a driven, focused, powerful force to be reckoned with.  At least, he has been in all of his other appearances.

In this issue, he runs like a bitch from a twelve-year-old girl.

There isn’t a facepalm image large enough to describe how I felt reading that scene.  It makes no goddamn sense.  You see, a lot of (lazy) writers, in an attempt to make their creation seem more formidable, will often do so at the expense of another, more established character.  As a comics fan, I hate that garbage.  The Webheads do this here, by having Skittles the Penny Hooker (a.k.a. Ana Kravinoff) scare the Bejeezus out of Kaine for no logical reason.  He  could snap that little skank in half without much of a thought – remember, this is the guy that killed a roomful of gun-toting professional gangsters in his first appearance – but instead, he decided to run away.  (Ironically, Kaine himself was the beneficiary of this fallback – they established his badassery by having him kill Doctor Octopus.)

Then, we get to the scene in Connors’ lab.  Now, I have to ask: what is Carlie’s jurisdiction, exactly?  Is she the only crime scene officer in New York?  It sure seems like it, because inevitably she ends up running every single crime scene that appears in this series.  She’s the most important person in town apparently.  But let me back up a second … she had to call Peter from the crime scene to tell him she wasn’t coming to dinner.  Yup, they’re dating now.  So not only is Carlie the most important person in town, but she’s also dating the superhero!  Isn’t Carlie awesome?  Hey, wait a minute … isn’t Joe Quesada’s daughter also named Carlie?  That seems like an awfully large –

But I digress.  Back to the crime scene … apparently, the Lizard went bananas and tore everyone in the lab apart.  Well, everybody but the lab assistant.  However, I’ll save that one for the end of the review, because that’s probably the most vile thing in the comic.  Carlie mentions Connors’ custody battle, and Spidey races off to save Billy.  An extremely padded, hard-to-follow battle ensues.  Spider-Man sees through the open door that somebody has already been inside, so he abandons the Lizard and checks things out, even though he already knows that the Lizard is on a murderous rampage and could kill even more people as soon as he walks away.  Skittles already kidnapped Billy for some reason, even though it doesn’t speed the plot along or anything.  Since Spider-Man is preoccupied in the townhouse stammering around like an idiot, the Lizard has ample opportunity to find Billy in the alleyway where Skittles left him.  Naturally, the Lizard eats the kid and the issue ends.

Wait … what the hell?!  This is a Spider-Man comic, right?  You know, the one that’s rated 9 and Up, and supposedly aimed at a newer, younger readership?  I can’t imagine anything that could get kids interested in the book more than having the only character that they could identify with age-wise being eaten by a lizard-man.  But you shouldn’t expect this to make any sense by this point, because none of this clusterfudge of a story follows any sort of logic.

Boy, what a mess.  This reads like an 8-page story spread out into 22 pages.  The art is, in a word, atrocious.  The Emma Rios stuff is decent, but the Bachalo pages are so poorly illustrated that, at times, I had to read and re-read pages just to try to understand what the hell was happening.  The layouts within the panels are extremely difficult to follow, which naturally is a big problem considering that Wells crams the panels full of nonsensical gibberish.  The entire fight scene reads like the English subtitles of a bootleg DVD from China.

The Ugly

Lizard rape.

No, I’m not making this up.  Go pick up your copy and re-read the first three panels of page 8.  Carlie tells Spider-Man that six people were killed, and the only survivor was Connors’ lab assistant.  Spidey asks if Carlie talked to her, and Carlie replies, “She’s in no shape to talk.  [Pause.]  Leave it at that.”  And in the next panel, Spider-Man has his hand over his face while Carlie leans dejectedly against a table.

SQUICK.

Oh, Marvel will almost certainly backpedal away from this.  They’ll say that we’re reading too much into it, even though 50% of the previous issue was spent establishing that Connors had a creepy sexual interest in the lab assistant, sniffing her and getting territorial when his boss showed up to take her out.  But it’s there for anybody that can read the subtext.

Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised.  This is the same book that has creepy masked sex, drunken hookups (oh wait, they already retconned that), mistaken identity sex (whoops, they already backpedaled away from that one, too), eating hookers, killing rats with boogers, racist jokes, domestic abuse, projectile acid vomiting, cultural stereotypes, eating children …

What’s next?  Well, Ana Kravinoff is supposed to be twelve, right?  Why not mix in some implied child porn?  And even better – with the rumors of Kraven the Hunter in the upcoming Grim Hunt, why not work in a little necrophilia, too?  Hey, maybe “The Gauntlet” is some kind of BDSM club where the climax of the story takes place.  Why not?  The book is already so appallingly disgusting, this kind of bullspit would fit right in.

Thanks a lot, Webheads.

The Bottom Line

I would have been better off spending my three bucks on some magic beans.  0 out of 5 webheads.

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