Tired of the All New, All Different globe trotting Spidey? Think things would be better if you could just read a Spider-Man written by someone different who puts Spider-Man back on the streets of New York? Well, then, true believers, Marvel hears you. And now, because you demanded it, here is an all new tale in the mini-series (sorry – point ones) titled “Amazing Grace.”
There’ll be talk about God, Christmas miracles, and zombies –
So will this be a thank goodness Marvel listened or a be careful what you wish for scenario? Read on, friends, and find out. Note, to catch up on time, we’ll be combining the first two point issues.
The Devil in the Details
Writer: Jose Molina
Artist: Simone Bianchi
Cover Art: Simone Bianchi
Colorist: Israel Silva (1.1) & Israel Silva, Java Tartaglia, Andres Mossa, & Marte Graca (1.2)
Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Nick Lowe
Published: Dec. 16th & Jan. 6th
The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test:
Point 1 – “Amazing Grace: A Wretch Like Me” – We start our dark and depressing Christmas tale with Spider-Man belting out words he’s making up to go with “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The words are big, yellow, and breaks out of the word balloon, so we know he’s yelling (that’s called ‘graphic contrast’, students). He stops as he comes in on a funeral for some guy named Julio Manuel Rodriguez. Shortly after everyone leaves the cemetery, Rodriguez breaks out of his grave (no small feat seeing how the grave has a full marble or concrete slab over it). Cut to Peter Parker walking through a building (presumably a Parker Industries one) ranting about how there should no Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving and extolling the virtues of turkeys before he runs into a bank of TV all reporting on the apparent resurrection of Rodriguez. Jameson is going off the deep end on how this is a message from God.
Peter then heads over to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (who happens to be a friend of Anna Maria) to see if it is possible that Rodriguez was buried alive. After being reassured that this could not be the case, he leaves to scope out the Rodriguez house. Rodriguez seems to be perfectly fine with no understanding of how he pulled a Jesus and rose from the dead. Spider-Man saves Rodriguez’s kids (while making pedophile jokes) and learns that Rodriguez had some sort of cancer and sought care from some guy named Don Anselmo. Spider-Man tracks down his office and it seems to be something straight out of The Serpent and the Rainbow. Spider-Man is snuck up on (you know, because the web of life has been damaged…. or something like that) by the Santerians. If you don’t know who they are, no worries. Nobody at the Marvel web site really seems to know either. Best thing, though – we are promised a fight between Spidey and the voodoo X-men guys. HERE ENDS THE TALE OF POINT THE ONE
Point 2 – “Amazing Grace: My Heart to Fear” – Spider-Man makes a stand against the Santerians because he cannot abide their cruelty toward chickens (no, really – the first three pages are dedicated to Spider-Man trying to save a chicken from the Santerians first, and then a pack of dogs). No actual fight. Again.
Joe Caramagna does a bang up job lettering. Actually, I take that back. He spelled thirty thousand with a hyphen. You just don’t do that.
The art – while I do not mind the dark look of the book, I have mentioned before that my primary guage of art is to be able to recognize Peter Parker. I can’t. I read several panels wondering who this guy was that we were following until someone called him Parker. That just shouldn’t be the case.
Dr. Kevin Templeton makes JR look cheerful. On top of that, we either have really bad art, or we have social justice being thrown out way – granted, not as heavy handed as Gerry Conway would. The door says Dr. Kevin Templeton, but it appears that Kevin is a woman. On top of that, he/she is wearing a tee-shirt with the words, “This is what a doctor looks like,” and skin tight pants. If it is an attempt to show a successful transgender, it failed. Dr. Templeton is unprofessional in both the manner of how he/she speaks and dresses. On top of that, she calls Anna Maria a “bearcat”. Peter looks stunned at this. Being the prude that I am, I looked up the term on Urban Dictionary. The first definition is crude and I’m sure doesn’t apply. The next definition puts her as a 35+ year old slutty cougar. Either way, this was not how I feel that Anna Maria was portrayed in the past.
The jokes – just not funny. I get better from my five year old daughter.
The story telling – in point 2, the timing keeps jumping from Spider-Man hanging onto the outside of his own jet to the moment when he was talking to the Santerians. I understand that it is a way of trying to avoid lengthy exposition, but the constant switching is irritating. The best way of delivering information is by showing, not telling. Constantly shifting scenes does not get rid of lengthy exposition, it just prolongs it. Especially since there is no good reason for Spider-Man to be hanging outside of a plane (he says it is because he never hitchhiked at 30,000 feet before (see above commentary about jokes) – do you know what the temperature would be at 30,000 feet if the surface temperature is around 52 degrees Fahrenheit? I do (because I looked it up) – negative 47. NEGATIVE 47. And the Spidey is in spandex).
I asked in my review for issue 6 if anyone remembered Spider-Man cursing in other issues. Well, we get it here as well. He laughs at thousands of “mushy faced” spiders crawling up his arm, but curses for crabs. Go figure.
The 1.2 issue was supposed to come out on the 13th, but due to a distribution glitch, this issue and several others became available a week early. This proved to be a headache for retailers. Do they sell the copies that came too early and risk pissing off Marvel or do they old them and risk their customers going to other stores to buy this week’s issues. Marvel eventually relented and told retailers to go ahead and they also released it digitally as well.
While in Cuba, Peter gives his name as Bruno Diaz. Let’s see which of you will be first to post who that is in the comment section. You won’t get a no-prize for it, though. I’m fresh out of those at the moment.
Bonus points to you if you actually read Daredevil: Father and knew who the heck these Santerians were in the first place. I’m doubting that, despite Netflix’s love of Hell’s Kitchen heroes, they’ll be getting their series anytime soon. Better catch up on The Walking Dead if you are wanting your zombie fix on TV.
We have two assignments turned in here, so this grade counts double.
When Brad first asked me about reviewing Amazing, I was flattered, thinking that he liked my work so far. After reading these two issues, I’m sure that he just hates me.