Alford Notes: Amazing Spider-Man #1.4

asm1-4coverAmazing Grace Part 4: Within the Veil

While the rest of the chumps out there wait for Free Comic Book day to get a taste of Dead No More, we can experience it today!  That’s right, folks.  Our favorite back from the dead person (Julio) is back along with the team you’ve demanded more of……the Santerians!

Come on and join me as we jump into an issue that puts the “Amazing” in ….


I can’t do this.  Folks – this issue is awful.  There’s no way I can hype this in any other way (and that’s from the guy who gave satellite jumping Spidey a B-).  So, since misery love company, join me in the review of part four of five in the Amazing Grace story.  My challenge to you, find something redeeming that I missed!



The Devil in the Details

Writer: Jose Molina

Artist: Simone Bianchi and Andrea Broccardo

Colorist: David Curiel

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover Artist: Bryan Hitch and Rachelle Rosenberg

Editor: Nick Lowe

Published: March 30, 2016




The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test

asm1-4mehNothing really happened to progress the story.  If you haven’t been keeping up, here is the story so far: A man named Julio died.  He came back to life.  Some voodoo-lite heroes called the Santerians show up and ask Spidey for help.  Spidey aggressively supports chicken rights.  He web slings to Cuba on the back of an airplane, runs into Uncle Ben (or a ghost of Uncle Ben (or an hallucination of a ghost of Uncle Ben)), vehemently denies any credibility in religion (because he is all about science), comes back the America with no new information.  The Santerians also cannot find out anything, but they do pay for a lamp they broke.  Spidey asks Beast for help.  Beast determines Julio is no longer human. Meanwhile, Julio kills some old man living in his apartment building, because, you know, bad guys do stuff like that.

O.K., now that you’ve caught up, here is this issue: the old man Julio killed was his father.  Spider-Man meets up with the Santerians to tell them Julio is not human.  They start to fight him because that’s what superheroes do when they disagree.  Spidey barely holds his own against this powerhouse team and says, “Screw this, I’m going home.”  But he doesn’t.  Instead, he and Anna Marie stalk Julio at the shopping mall where Julio is playing Santa and curing a little blind girl.  Also stalking Julio is the guy who killed him.  After Spidey uses some enhanced interrogation tactics (hangs him over a building), he finds out that Julio actually committed suicide and set the “killer” up.  Spidey jumps Julio, but can’t seem to get away from a police helicopter and lets him go.  The Santerians decide to go beg Spider-Man for more help while Julio goes to church and kills a big spider.



What Passed:

Not much.  This comic is awful.  However, I am determined to find good in anything Spider-Man, so this panel was pretty nifty:



Also, since this is a point one issue, it will have little to no impact on continuity – unless of course, this is somehow a buildup to Dead No More, which seems unlikely.  This is most likely a story that was written earlier and adapted to include a few references to Peter’s global status.

The difference in the blind girl’s eyes before and after her miracle cure are subtle, but well done.


What Failed:

Pretty much everything else.  This issue wasn’t needed.  It doesn’t nothing to progress the plot of the story and brings little new information.  Julio can cure people.  We get more of a sense that Julio has some hidden agenda and is serving some evil deity.  That’s basically it.

I know Molina can write.  He’s a writer on the Peggy Carter Agent of Shield show and that is moving along quite nicely.  There are a few fundamentally things wrong with this arc (and more precisely, this issue).

  1. Peter Parker is not portrayed well. I can’t blame Molina too much on this as I have not enjoyed Peter Parker in the main title either. However, in this case Peter comes across a bit too overbearing in his refusal to believe in God.  It is chalked up to him being a scientist (which leads me to believe that maybe Molina is not a reader of Spider-Man, but watches the cartoons and movies); however, Anna Maria (also a scientist) is a full supporter of Julio being a miracle of God, so the whole I believe in science so I cannot believe in God thing falls short.  We do get a panel of Peter Parker calling Jesus a lie in the hospital where Uncle Ben died (what?  Uncle Ben died in a hospital?) because an all-powerful god could have saved him, but didn’t.  O.K., at least we have a better reason for this hatred than just science, but it just doesn’t fit the Peter Parker in the past several decades.
  2. The Santerians have no real need to be in this story. So far they have contributed very little which could be good or bad, depending on how much you like the Santerians.
  3. We are issue four in this arc and so far we have learned nothing that we didn’t in the first issue. The story progression is so slow, that it makes me as a reader angry to pay $3.99 for it. These last few issue could have fit into two issues easily.  When all is said and done, I will have spent almost $20 on this story.  I just don’t feel that price is justified for this story.  If I were not reviewing the title, I would have dropped the story altogether.
  4. The art is atrocious. There are two artists on the book and their artwork does not blend well together. Characters do not look the same from issue to issue or even panel to panel.  Take a look at the panel below.  Do you know who these characters are?



If you said Peter and Anna Maria, good for you.  I would not have known it if it weren’t for the word balloons.

  1. Spidey’s a loser. I hate this portrayal of him. If he’s not advocating for chicken rights, he’s slipping on ice.



Extra Credit:

Look at the size of that spider crawling up Julio’s back!  Spiders don’t get that big in New York.  Extra credit to anyone who can figure out what kind of spider that might would be if it were being drawn to represent a real-life spider.  More bonus points if you can figure out why a spider of that size would be crawling around in that church.




That’s like Indiana Jones in that opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  All we need is Alfred Molina standing next to him covered in them.  Wait!  Jose Molina….Alfred Molina….extra credit to anyone who can find out if they are related.


Final Grade:


I didn’t want to give it such a low grade, but my initial reaction was that it was awful and I just can’t find any reason to give it higher.  Nothing about this comic appealed to me.  Nothing was so awful that I could have fun with it (like ballooning off a jet).  It just plain and simply stunk.  Again I call out for someone who enjoyed the comic to show me why it is better than how I am seeing it.  I want to like it.  Someone, show me the way!


What’s Next?

Here’s how Marvel is advertising the next and (final!) issue of this arc:

* The final battle with the villain whose power trumps death!

* You know their foe is dangerous if they have Spider-Man and the Santerians on the ropes!


(9) Comments

  1. Patrick

    @#8- That's the one! Also, thanks for reminding that Aunt May was telling Peter that it was time for her to move on, because it just makes all of OMD even more ludicrous. You literally have God and Aunt May telling you to let go, and he listens to the closest thing Marvel has to the devil. Also, it's more than just the God parts that struck me as being incongruent with Peter's characterization. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but Peter's insistence that "everything has an explanation," in conjunctions to his views of God and religion (solely within the confines of this arc), strikes me as Molina trying to portray Peter as having a naturalist worldview. But the PAST FEW YEARS of Spidey lore has centered a lot around him recognizing and having to deal with the fact that there's a supernatural element to his origin. So I don't really understand why, if Molina wanted to tell this story, he felt that Spidey would be the best character to shoehorn into it.

  2. Jack

    "God" took the form of a hobo and talked to Peter at length. "He" encouraged Peter by showing him all the thousands of people he had saved in his career as Spider-Man. That was the issue in which Aunt May, through a vision, told Peter to let her pass on (which means that Peter's actions in OMD were against Aunt May's wishes, btw).

  3. Patrick

    Speaking of Peter not believing in God, wasn't there actually a story where Peter actually met God? I think it was back in Sensational Spider-Man (the second run of the title, not the first run back in the '90s).

  4. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#4- Nooooooooo!!!!!!! (said while shaking fist to the air) Well, at least when you read one of those point issues, the main titles feel better. Kind of like being around people fatter than yourself makes you feel skinny. :)

  5. Evan

    I'm sorry you will have spent $20 on this arc, Mark, but I appreciate so much your willingness to save all of us the trouble and the cost. I don't mean to make things worse for everyone, but didn't the June solicits include a part 6? Here's the blurb for it: "<i>Spider-Man and the Santerians team up to fight a foe that will shake what faith they have!</i>" Sigh.

  6. Mark Alford

    @#1 - Nope. Obviously you didn't read it yet if you think there is any redemption in it. Maybe it it immediately wired $10 into my Comixology account just for finishing it, then that might would redeem it some. Maybe. @#2 - Wish I had thought of that!

  7. Jack

    Sure, hey, let's release this issue of "Atheistic Spider-Man Who Calls Jesus A Lie" just after Easter!

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