THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #638 Review


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #638

“One Moment in Time, Chapter One: Something Old”

“Writer”: Joe Quesada

Penciler: Paolo Rivera and Joe Quesada

Inker: Paolo Rivera and Danny Miki

Colorist: Paolo Rivera and Richard Isanove

Featuring pages from The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 by …

Plotter: Jim Shooter

Scripter: David Michelinie

Penciler: Paul Ryan

Inker: Vince Colletta

Colorist: Bob Sharen

“Spidey Sundays”

Writer: Stan Lee

Penciler: Marcos Martin

Inker: Marcos Martin

Colorist: Muntsa Vicente

Cover Art: Paolo Rivera

Variant Cover 1: Joe Quesada, Danny Miki, and Richard Isanove

Variant Cover 2: Joe Quesada and Danny Miki

Be warned – there are SPOILERS ahead!

At last, we are here.

For the last two and a half years, Marvel has been stringing Spider-Man fans along with the promise of answers.  Like the jerks behind Lost, they continued to introduce new mysteries without solving the old ones, leaving many fans disenfranchised by their empty promises.  Finally, with “One Moment in Time,” they promised to explain that lingering question of what happened on the fateful wedding day of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson.  This was set up to be one of the most important Spider-Man stories ever told – one that would, at last, give a satisfying answer to our questions.

They failed.

The Plot

In a brief flashback to One More Day, we learn what Mary Jane told Mephisto.  Cut to present day, with Mary Jane dropping in unexpectedly to pay Peter a visit.  After some awkward conversation, we cut back to the lead-up to their wedding (told in a mix of reprints and new pages).  A bunch of goons helps Electro escape from police custody, but Spider-Man swoops in and captures them.  The Devil Bird from One More Day appears and helps one of the goons, Eddie Muerte, escape.  Eddie gets help and information from a sharply-dressed man working for a mysterious employer.  Meanwhile, Peter and Mary Jane are having their doubts about getting married.  Early on the morning of the wedding, Peter goes out as Spider-Man and comes across Eddie chasing a police officer (the one whose information he received earlier) on a rooftop.  Spidey saves the officer and his wife, but Eddie catches him off-guard and makes an escape.  Thanks to some crumbling bricks, Eddie falls off of the roof and Spider-Man tries to save him.  Instead, they plummet down into an alleyway, with Eddie landing on top of Spidey and knocking him out.  This causes Peter to miss his wedding later that day.

The Good

Paolo Rivera is a good artist.

The Bad

Strap yourselves in, this is about to get ugly.

The first thing I should discuss, to get it out of the way, is the structure of the book itself.  Joe Quesada draws the modern-day scenes between Peter and Mary Jane, and the flashbacks are a mix of reprint material from The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 and new scenes written by Quesada and drawn by Paolo Rivera.  The art changes are simply jarring, with no uniformity whatsoever.  The reprints are presented as they originally appeared, without any recoloring or even lettering changes, save for a few lead-in and lead-out panels drawn by Rivera.  The result is not only a poor mishmash of conflicting styles, but also a desecration of superior source material.  The reprint material is literally butchered and stripped of context to be used for Quesada’s goals.  It’s lazy, stupid, and a poor way to balloon the pagecount.

The pages drawn by Quesada are brutally awful.  Peter and Mary Jane must have been retconned into alien shape-shifters, because their faces literally change from panel to panel.  Peter goes from being Joe Quesada (seriously), to having a pointed chin and an inverted-triangle-shaped head, to having a wide chin and a box-shaped head, to being one of the guys that played Doctor Who recently, all in the span of three pages.  Seriously, if you don’t know how to draw faces properly, why would you write a script that calls for repeated close-ups?  The pages drawn by Paolo Rivera are very nice, but he’s totally squandered on this turd.  Getting him to draw this story is like gathering up an elite group of the finest soldiers this country has ever had, putting them under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, and then sending them to beat up hippies.  What a waste.

Now, to the story.  Essentially, Quesada took a well-written and entertaining comic book (The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21), chopped it into pieces, removed most of the significant character moments, and inserted padded, slowly-developing segments with a greasy thug.

But wait … I’m missing something here …

Oh, right.  The first two pages.

You see, the first two pages depict what Mary Jane said to Mephisto at the end of One More Day.  Kind of.  First of all, Quesada is credited with “drawing” these pages, which consist of a single black page and another black page with a reprinted panel from The Amazing Spider-Man #545.  (I really want to know what Joe got paid to “draw” these.)  Secondly, the first page consists only of captions of old dialogue.  Right off the bat, a wasted page.  Finally, we get to what Mary Jane said: “I know Peter.  He will never make this deal with you, never, EVER – unless – I ask him to.  But if I do, this is the end of it – you will leave him alone for the rest of his days.”  So much for the idea that they made the decision together, right?  The entire purpose of this brief introduction seems to be to try to make Mary Jane look like a manipulative bitch and/or an asshole.  Nice.

Anyway, back to the “plot.”  Honestly, it’s tough to call it that, because it’s mostly piggybacking on the plot of the annual.  Of the 42 pages of the book, 14 are reprints, and 8 are taken up by Quesada’s frame story.  That leaves 20 pages for the meat, and most of it is wasted with padding and exposition needed to tie it into the annual.  As I was saying, though …  This greasy thug, Eddie Muerte (he has been turned into a Hispanic man even though he appears to be a blonde white guy in the reprints), is freed by that damn Devil Bird from One More Day.  Once freed, he gets some information about a police officer and attacks him at his apartment, leading to a chase on the roof of the building.  Eddie threatens the cop and talks about his wife (after all, this book isn’t rapey enough, right?), but Spider-Man swoops in to save the day.  And then …

The Ugly

… a series of circumstances lead to them tumbling off of the roof and into an alley, with Eddie landing directly on top of Spidey.  This causes Peter to miss his wedding day.

You read that correctly.  PETER MISSES HIS WEDDING DAY BECAUSE HE’S PINNED UNDERNEATH A FAT GUY.  The same character that lifted a falling subterranean base to save the life of his Aunt, the same guy that stood toe-to-toe with Firelord and the Juggernaut and held his own, and WON, a man with superhuman strength and speed and a will that can change the world – he missed his wedding because he was KO’d and pinned underneath a fat guy.

Now, when I took this gig, I promised myself that I would try to meet a certain level of decorum in my reviews.  While these are opinion pieces by definition, and my personal writing style is what got me the job in the first place, there are certain guidelines that I attempt to follow when writing these reviews.  For one thing, I generally avoid profanity and swearing (outside of my frequent use of “goddamn”) for the sake of keeping these reviews friendly and conversational.  That’s a tough balance for me, because I am an inherently emotional person that speaks my mind.  I know that these reviews in particular, due to the hype and controversy surrounding “One Moment in Time,” will likely be the most-viewed reviews I have written to date.  As such, I made a pact to be especially careful with wording these reviews.  After reading the issue, I came to one conclusion …

Fuck that shit.

This comic is steaming cesspool of ass, a catastrophe so colossal in scope and magnitude that it aims to destroy what little is left of its fanbase.  How could Marvel demean itself by producing such a steaming pile of shit?  You would think that after two and a half years, Quesada and Co. would have managed to come up with a decent scenario for such a significant occurrence in Spider-Man history instead of the bubbling turd they blew out of their asses and splattered onto the pages of this issue.  I can almost imagine Quesada looking at his computer screen with his squinty eyes and getting that smug smirk on his face, pleased with the latest of his insults to the very fanbase that supports his organization.

Make no mistake, this is a direct insult to fans of the marriage – no, fuck that, fans of The Amazing Spider-Man itself.  And I mean FANS – not the groveling sycophants that continue to dig their heads into the sand and pretend that nothing is wrong, not the ones that try to curry the favor of their gods on message boards by sucking up to them and singing the praises of shit like this issue.  Honest-to-goodness, lifelong, real Spider-Man fans shouldn’t have to stand for this.  At this moment of time in Spider-Man history, everything is wrong!

I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”  Things have got to change.  But first, you’ve gotta get mad!  You’ve got to say, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”  Then we’ll figure out what to do about the retcons and the price increases and the shitty writing.  But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it:I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

The Bottom Line

This is an insult I’m not going to stand for.  0 out of 5 webheads.