Tangled Webs: The Reputation of Shed


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Typically, the Spider-Man Crawlspace podcast has a diverse array of views, so that multiple perspectives are represented on a given topic. There are some exceptions including a story likely to have an impact on the upcoming “Clone Conspiracy” mini-series:  the Gauntlet: Lizard storyline from Amazing Spider-Man #630-633, also known as Shed. The panelists and reviewers hated it.

In his review of Amazing Spider-Man #631, Gerard Delatour II started by saying he wants to keep his comments civil. The beginning of the review made his opinion clear.

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.

 

In the 104the episode of the podcast, Kevin Cushing hated the art by Chris Bachalo in the first issue, which he described as “not as bad as it’s going to get.”

A lot of pros will say that we the fans don’t understand what pros look for in good art, and they talk about storytelling abilities and things like that. I’m sorry, but if you have, let’s say, a volunteer to read to blind children, and his inflection and intonation is perfect, his pauses are timed just right, his character voices are excellent, but he whispers everything so the children can’t quite understand what he’s saying, he’s still not a good storyteller. So if Chris Bachalo has fantastic layouts and all that kind of stuff, it doesn’t really matter if we can’t understand what the hell is going on in half of his panels.

Cushing gave it a C-. JR gave it a D, saying “there is not a pro.” Stella gave it a C. Brad gave it a B-, partly because he didn’t find the issue “as offensive as the other two.”

This was a story in which the Lizard ate his son, so there was some nasty stuff on the page. Emma Rios drew a few of the pages, which made for a jarring contrast to Bachalo. Stella gave it a D-. Cushing gave it a D. JR was bothered by a subplot in which Kaine was afraid of Kraven’s preteen daughter. He gave it a C- . BD gave it a D-.

Shed Lizard

One factor with the second issue was a discussion about whether a minor character was raped off-panel. This led to several minutes of discussion, and JR described his views.

As far as the Lizard rape, I have to be absolutely honest, it never crossed by mind the first time I read it. To be perfectly honest, if I saw a guy turn into a giant lizard and promptly rip about half a dozen people to shreds, I’d be sitting in a rubber room in a straightjacket mumbling. I’d be pretty traumatized too. But then the subject came up, and I looked at the dialogue again, and Carlie says “She’s in no shape,” and a beat, and then (she says) “Let’s leave it at that.” It still doesn’t mean a rape happened. But for Marvel to say that there’s no way you can read that into it, is totally disingenuous. I think it’s deliberately left to be vague, and you’re allowed to think that.

JR didn’t hold Billy’s death against the issue, because he felt it was left ambiguous in the context of that particular chapterrev.

We don’t find out what happened to Billy at the end of the issue, but the whole idea of serial fiction is to paint as bad as possible a situation before the next part, so you’re supposed to say “Oh God, how are they going to get out of this one.” So, as far as the way this ended, I didn’t mind that this implied that something happened to Billy, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to paint a very dark black picture, and then see how they get out of it in the next issue. As we find out, that didn’t happen, but I wasn’t so hung up on that in this particular issue.

Shed Billy Connors

The third chapter received an “absolute steaming F-bomb” from Kevin, a C- from JR, an F from BD and a D- from Stella.

Kevin didn’t mind what happened to Billy.

On the one hand, I think it’s going a bit too far to have the Lizard eat a child. On the other hand, that does break the cycle of what the Lizard stories are over and over every time, so with Billy dead, I’m okay with that. I agree that the Lizard eating a kid is kinda bad, and I don’t know how to reconcile the two.

In her review, Stella made a reference to Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.”

Billy getting eaten is sort of a genius idea by the brain trust. They’re referencing Jonathan Swift, and we’re in a hungry time right now. If you need to eat babies, then goshdarnit you need to eat babies.

Brad was bothered by the contrast with previous depictions of the Lizard, and with an inopportune location for a problematic scene. He emphasized the unanimous feelings of the group.

Just an awful awful month for spider-reviews, and this is from four people who love the character and think he’s been thrown through the gutter this month.

Shed Spider-Man

The fourth issue got an F from BD, a D- from JR, a D- from Stella, and a G from Kevin, as “this was worse than anything I’ve ever graded as an F.” Michael Bailey—who hadn’t participated in the previous episode, gave it an F—bringing the number of Crawlspacers who strongly dislike the story to six. He didn’t care for the power upgrade.

Why should we make the Lizard so powerful to begin with? He’s not a decent villain. He’s a Hulk-like character for Spider-Man to punch.

A unified front doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s something wrong with the critics. Some things are very well regarded, and some things are universally despised. If six film critics agree that Raging Bull is pretty good, it doesn’t suggest that there’s a lack of intellectual diversity with the group. It could be that an acclaimed work is well-made, and that critics are able to recognize it. Likewise, if they think that the 2001 film Dungeons & Dragons, or the recent Fantastic Four remake is awful, it could just be that the film is poorly made, and they recognize this as well.

Shed’s an interesting exception, because some people really liked it. Marvel has stuck with the developments, even though it would all be easy to retcon. It has shaped the depiction of the Lizard in subsequent stories including a four parter in an X-Men series, a TPB length storyline in Slott’s Big Time run, as well as appearances in Superior Spider-Man, and the build-up to Clone Conspiracy, where the man in red seemed to bring back Billy (as well as Curt’s wife Martha, who was killed off in the Quality of Life mini-series back in 2002.

Dead No More Lizard

The Lizard pops up in several of the images for Marvel’s recent Clone Conspiracy teaser, suggesting a large role in the story.

On the podcast, editor Steve Wacker was mocked for saying he’s prouder of Shed than anything else he’s ever worked on.

David Uzmeni of Comics Alliance called it one of the best comics of 2010.

Yeah, it’s shocking, it’s violent, it’s emotional. But it hits honestly and brutally in a way that isn’t manipulative, other than the heartstring-tugging that any story has to try to pull off to create an emotional connection. In the hands of almost any other team, a story with this mandate — to take the humanity of the Lizard and have him attack his family — would be laughable dross, but here Wells and Bachalo elevate it to a pretty harrowing story that never loses the tone of a Spider-Man book. It’s not a sudden nonstop abattoir, it’s a really dark punctuation mark on a story, represented by the Lizard himself eating the panels and narrative whole.

Chris Sims—also of Comics Alliance—thought it was too acclaimed to be considered one of the most underrated stories, since it was rather well regarded.

Even recent stuff has been getting its props: Our own David Uzumeri called Zeb Wells, Chris Bachalo and Emma Rioss’s “Shed” the best Spider-Man story of the decade, and if you don’t think Marcos Martin’s work on “Amazing” stands up to the best artists that book’s ever seen, well, you’re wrong.

Shed Lizard 2

It was on IGN’s list of the Top 25 Spider-Man stories (in 14th place).

The Lizard has always been a favorite of Spider-Man fans, but in the wake of Brand New Day and the revamp of Spidey’s villains, Curt Connors fell by the wayside. With Shed, writer Zeb Wells and artists Chris Bachalo and Emma Rios brought back Lizard in a big – and terrifying – way. Shed depicts the reptile brain taking over the mind of Connors, bringing Lizard to the forefront as the beast decides to shed its skin – the man he inhabits.

What ensues is a horrible tale of tragedy that is as important to Spider-Man’s mission as it is to the Lizard as a villain. Shed caused Peter to deal with yet another failure, both physically and mentally, and find a way to endure the loss. Meanwhile, Shed single-handedly revamped the Lizard into one of the shining achievements of the new Spider-Man era.

According to the algorithm for goodreads.com, it seems to be the 12th highest rated Spider-Man TPB, nestled between “The Origin of the Hobgoblin” and “The Death of Jean Dewolff.” Their system counts “The Night Gwen Stacy Died” and the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man twice, so it’s arguably in the top ten.

For what it’s worth, I liked it. I wasn’t bothered by the art, or the contrast with previous depictions of the Lizard. In several of those stories, the Lizard had been more feral than usual—As a side note, he has been my favorite Spider-Man villain since “Torment.” I’ve enjoyed Bachalo’s art elsewhere, including earlier Spider-Man stories and some of his Vertigo comics, and was generally able to follow it. I thought he was a good fit for the weirdness of the story. It had some sequences that I thought were powerful: Billy Connors saying that he knew this was how it would end, and Curt’s mind “dying.” I liked seeing Spider-Man pushed to the limit, and thought his responses to the nastiness were appropriate.

Wells captured little details nicely, like Spider-Man admitting to himself that there was no way he could have been faster to save Billy. It was a realization of the promise of the Gauntlet storyline, as Kraven’s family changed the expected outcomes of typical stories for the worse. The A-plot of the Lizard doing something terrible and releasing people’s inner nastiness meshed with the B-plot of Peter trying to find someone to talk to, who could help him with his burdens at a difficult time. This was a story that was clearly about something.

It was bleak, but there is a time and place for that kind of material (and it pales in comparison to August Strindberg’s play Ghosts—now, that is catastrophic.) Shed shows a villain reaching the point of no return in a way that is pretty rare, and raises some tough questions. Should Connors kill himself after the death of everyone he loved, including his son by his own hand? Or should a brilliant man try to make up for it somehow? It’s a character arc that is still ongoing.

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Given that there were some rather positive responses, it is worth considering why there was universal negativity with this particular group.

There may be some aspects of the story that affect a certain crowd. The portrayal of Kaine would be more likely to bother readers familiar with him from the original clone saga, who would be more likely to wonder why a guy who killed Kraven’s son runs away from the daughter. There can be some sorting, as the people who were most active on this particular website at that time, might be likeminded in ways that affect how they see the story, such as their views on decompressed comics, or what’s appropriate material for a Spider-Man story. A Spider-Man podcast would attract people who are fans of a particular type of comic, whereas a general comics website would have a bias towards contributors with a penchant for more sundry material.

There can also be a bandwagon effect. If you get a text message from a friend that a comic book sucks you might be primed to look for the worst in it. That can place a high level of scrutiny on a superhero comic book, where a reader has to accept certain outlandish premises to begin with. This could also apply to people who really liked the story. We could just be primed to pay more attention for the stuff it does well.

One element may just be random chance. If the odds are one in two that a random person will dislike something, there is a 1 in 64 chance that six people will dislike that thing. The Crawlspace podcast has been going around long enough that some unlikely events would have to happen every now and then.

So, what do you guys think of Shed? And are there any stories whose popularity simply escapes you? 

(20) Comments

  1. Al

    @Mark: Hasn’t Spider-Man excessively failed enough over the decades, and had done so multiple times in recent memory preceeding Shed, with OMD being just one example?

  2. Al

    d) And do all that whilst placing it above Weisman’s Flash backup or the Clone Saga mini, or if we’re counting everything from 2001-2010, like anything JMS did basically God. These people honestly either don’t get the Lizard, or Spider-Man, or have some messed up criteria. When you write serialized fiction your aim is to respect the past (this didn’t because the Lizrd always talked, and you just destroyed Curt Connors and undermined Peter’s frequent attempts to save him and hsi family), entertain in the present (a sex story + evil aunt may + pure monster Lizard + child cannibalism isn’t entertaining its ‘DARK’ grotesque nonsense) and insure for the future (you just forever destroyed Curt Connors and all sympathy/humanity for the Lizard, well done). So frankly this is enough for me to take the ComicsAlliance reviewers and frankly write off their opinions as grossly uninformed. I know it’s favouritism to prioritize Crawlspace over those guys but frankly in thining about it when a story gets universally bad grades from over 6 reviewers all of whom have definitely read a lot of Spider-Man, and have a large amount of passion for him because hey they are running a podcast dedicated to him and all minutia of him then I’m sorry such opinions carry more weight than arbitrary ‘reviewers’ from a general comics website, who’s knowledge base and passion for the character is unknown. Sims at the very least is a much bigger Batman and X-Men fan than a Spider-Man fan so right there is cause to raise a bit of an eyebrow over how well he actually knows the character. The other guys I just straight up don’t trust because again, to borrow from Sims, if you are arguing Shed had the tone of a Spider-Man story or that it’s one of the best stories of 2010, well you are wrong. And IGN are known shills for Marvel, esp for Spider-Man. I could easily name 25 stories off the top of my head objectively better than Shed. And I’m also not so uninformed to think the Lizard is even approaching anything like a fan favourite for Spider-Man. Norman, Harry, Hobgoblin, Venom, Carnage, Doc Ock, Black Cat, the Shocker even. Those are all definitely fan favourites so if you aren’t cracking the top 7 you are a fan favourite how? I mean just listen to what they said. Shed causes Spider-Man to deal with yet another failure? Because that hasn’t gotten old across the decades? We’ve seen Spider-Man deal with so much failure and tragedy in his life it went well beyond ridiculous well over a decade ago. That’s part of why JMS’ run was so beloved and Paul Jenkins’. It subverted the stereotypes and didn’t have Spider-Man fail or go through tragedy for the millionth time. And ‘endure the loss’? Spider-Man hardly thought about Shed in the wake of the event. I agree that Shed revamped into a shining example of the new era. In that he epitomized all that the era was. A shallow, crass, husk of it’s former self. Sidenote: Peter is looking for someone to talk to about the burdens of this difficult time. Why not talk to his friend Mary Jane who he always talked to about that stuff? Mets you say this puts the Lizard ina place of no return and that’s exactly the problem. There is no coming back from this, hence the character is destroyed wholly. As for the tough questions it raises those aren’t that tough. It’s not that Connors himself is at fault. He didn’t deliberately eat his own son. That isn’t the point of no return. The point of no return is the fact that no one, absolutely no one, who went through anything remotely like that could recover. It’s not a matter of killing himself as atonement or making up for his crimes. He ate his own son for God’s sake. No one gets over that. He lost everything. He hasn’t got anything left to live for because there is nothing more to him. A parent doesn’t get over the death of their child, let alone killing them themselves, let alone EATING them and being forced to watch that. Realistically Connors should just be a depressed dead eyed husk of a human being because it’s too traumatic.

  3. Al

    Batman 484 Welp, this proves a point I’ve always felt about a lot of comic book review sites. They are either lacking in knowledge of to effectively evaluate writing on a technical level or else most of them really are uneducated when it comes to Spider-Man. Because putting aside how Martin being amongst the best Spider-Man artists ever is, despite Sims’ assessment, in and of itself wrong....how the Hell do you a) Claim Shed which never loses the tone of a Spider-Man story when it involves a child being murdered and eaten practically on panel? b) Has something which allowes you to suggest monster rape? c) Removes all humanity from a character who’s core concept is the man fighting the beast, and removes it in such a way where there is no going back sans contrivance.

  4. Thomas Mets - Post author

    I edited the entry a bit to add my own thoughts on the story since Brad thought that was missing. xonathan, I'm not very convinced by the argument that this was something that wouldt work better in a satellite book than in ASM. Is there anyone who gives the story a higher grade if it was in a different title? tnr105, while this particular storyline may have led to some memorable arguments, it had been going on for some time. For example, there was a thread on the Crawlspace about how it was seen as a negative place in early 2010, a few months prior to the publication of Shed. http://spidermancrawlspace.com/wwwboard/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6269&hilit=negative+internet The anti-OMD/ BND club thread hit 20 pages by the end of 2008. http://spidermancrawlspace.com/wwwboard/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=3636&hilit=negative+internet&start=285 Mark, I like Bachalo's work, although I'm not eager to defend 'Amazing Grace'

  5. tnr105

    ...I give up in terms of the link. Just google 'Spider-Man Crawlspace CBR Shed'. It's the first thing that comes up.

  6. tnr105

    ...Apparently linking from my phone is a pain in the ass. Sorry for the inadvetant spam, if a mod could delete the last post and edit this link to my first one... http://www.spidermancrawlspace.com/wwwboard/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6922&sid=48a6882a5f691c713d4b0ba3d8840aa1#p117109

  7. tnr105

    Broken link, sorry. http://www.spidermancrawlspace.com/wwwboard/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6922&sid=48a6882a5f691c713d4b0ba3d8840aa1

  8. tnr105

    I remember when I first joined the site, Shed seemed to be the line in the sand when it came to bad blood between the writers and the CS. I recall there being a thread over at CBR that was started because people were incensed that the Crawlspace dared to pan the story. If I remember correctly, that's when the so called 'professionals' started taking potshots at the site. CBR wiped their forums long ago, but the internet is forever; and some of the discourse was quoted in a thread here at Crawlspace. http://www.spidermancrawlspace.com/wwwboard/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6922&sid=48a6882a5f691c713d4b0ba3d8840aa1

  9. xonathan

    I could enjoy a Spider-man horror story once in a while. I remember Mcfarlane's stint back in the 90's that started with Torment. I liked those stories bc it pushed the boundaries experimenting with a new genre. But there was never a "no coming back" moment, everything was reversible. In fact those stories did not have repercussions. It also helped that it was on an ancillary title, not ASM. Shed? Like the comentors said, what happened it's irredeemable and does not belong in the main book.

  10. Mark Alford

    Shed has been one of the gaps in my ASM reading (I've pretty much covered most of those gaps using Marvel Unlimited), so before I read your article, I zipped through those issues. I think one of the reasons it has mixed reviews is that there is a mixture of good and bad in this thing. - The Lizard eating his son - a bit too much for some people, but I think a logical conclusion to the Lizard story line. Probably should have been a story in which "Conners" kills "the Lizard" and thus ending the whole cycle after crossing that point. Good idea, pushes the limit, but leaves long time readers wondering why even have a Lizard now? - Aunt May being mean - nice for a different touch. Seems odd that it was built up during this story and then she snaps out of it for no real apparent reason (Peter was sad, yes, but ...). It seemed like this was a build up for a future Mr. Negative story, but all novelty of a mean Aunt May was lost with her snapping out of it and Peter never realizing that his Aunt was under some nefarious power. -Spider-Man failing to save Billy - again, pushes the limit too far for some, but I liked that aspect. We need him to fail once and a while in order for future stakes to mean something. -Art - I see no redeeming quality here. Art is personal and relative, but for me, I hated it on the level of Amazing Grace art. It was difficult to follow. I didn't even realize that Billy had died until it was said in a dialogue balloon next issue. If the art has to be explained, then to me it is not good art. -The rape scene - I felt that if they are going to have that in a Spider-an book, the subtle way of doing it worked for me. For Marvel to act like you must be some sicko to think that way is laughable. Was it needed to make the Lizard more fearsome? No. -The lizard brain in people - I did not care for this aspect and felt it detracted from the story. It's not a deal breaker for me, and I could overlook it. -The Black Cat opening scene - why would Spidey be hung up on her after the 80s? They are done. This made no sense to me. A 1000 deals with Mephisto could not make that make sense to me. It started the story off on a bad note for me. While I do not care too much for the character of Carlie Cooper (I think she suffered from being the one after MJ and by being written too differently by too many authors), I felt the lunch "date" was a bit of good story telling. All in all, every good had a negative and most negatives had a good. It is not the worst ASM story I've read, but I cons so outweighed the pros for me that I couldn't enjoy it. And I'm the guy who liked the jump from a satellite story. D from me.

  11. Thomas Mets - Post author

    Brad, the bullet points on why I liked the story. - I've enjoyed Bachalo's art elsewhere, including earlier Spider-Man stories and some of his Vertigo comics, and was generally able to follow it. I thought he was a good fit for the weirdness of the story. - It had some sequences that I thought were powerful: Billy Connors saying that he knew this was how it would end, and Curt's mind "dying." - I liked seeing Spider-Man pushed to the limit. I thought his responses to the nastiness were appropriate. Wells captured little details nicely, like Spider-Man admitting to himself that there was no way he could have been faster to save Billy. - It fit the theme of Gauntlet pretty well, with Kraven's family changing the expected outcomes of typical stories for the worst. This exemplified what they were trying to do. - The A-plot of the Lizard doing something terrible and releasing people's inner nastiness worked pretty well with the B-plot of Peter trying to find someone to talk to/ to help him with his burdens. This was a story that was clearly about something. - It shows a villain reaching the point of no return in a way that is pretty rare, and raises some tough questions. Should Connors kill himself after the death of everyone he loved, including his son by his own hand? Or should a brilliant man try to make up for it somehow?

  12. BD

    Mets, you said in the article that you liked it. Can you list several bullet points of what you liked about the story? Also thanks for transcribing our old podcasts.

  13. ryan3178

    The main problem with Shed was the fact that the main point of the Lizard was taken away. Yes, it was always Billy or Martha that brought Curt back from the edge. However, barely a decade before Shed they killed Martha off. Saying they wanted to bring a new tragedy to Curt Connor's life and why Billy was turned into Lizard Jr. as it was the only thing he had left in his life. Killing Billy off and in this case, the Lizard eating him. It pushed the character not only into tragic life, but made it to where the character had no redeeming qualities. Basically, the entire push to make the Lizard "evolve" ended up taking away everything that made the villain relatable. Shed comes off as going to far and making the story too much of a 1970s horror film and in doing so, even Spider-Man wasn't even on the edge going: "You need to end this, because you are now too far gone for even me to save you." In fact, I could have seen the Superior Spider-Man ending the Lizard after everything because of Otto's view on children coming from an abusive household himself. I mean, look how he went off on the Vulture using children for his Wake theives? Or how he ended Massacre and Smythe. Shed is just a horrible story and no matter what Wacker and others say, it was a story that was even too dark even for Spider-Man.

  14. Jack

    @Hornacek -- I hate bleak, downer endings, is what that's about for me. When I was a kid, I hated the end of West Side Story. I hated all those 1970s monster flicks where the good character gets sucked in the last second and the vampire essentially wins (hint, Salem's Lot). That's the kind of stuff this reminded me of.

  15. Iron Patriot

    Let's not forget where Spidey came from. He was created in a sci-fi horror anthology where something similar might happen if it was being published in the 2000s. But Shed just left a sour taste in my mouth. And not even in the good way that a compelling horror story should, but in a way that makes me not want to continue reading. "That is not a bird", that whole bit was dumb. The art was just chaotic, which worked sometimes but not all throughout. And I like Bachalo, the two Death miniseries are some of my favorite comics (although that was with Mark Buckingham and prior to his Marvel evolution). And man what a rough time that was. The Gauntlet, Shed, OMIT and Origin of the Species all right in a row. I'm an apologist for BND Spidey onwards, but it's hard to defend that particular year.

  16. Vegan

    Yeah, I have literally no idea how anyone likes this arc, much less how it has as much acclaim as it does. And, at the time I was reading these issues I didn't read any comic review sites, so I'm pretty certain I wasn't influenced by outside sources. Granted, it's been a long while since I've read this, so maybe I should give it a fresh chance, but I remember being flat out disgusted and depressed by it when I first read it.

  17. hornacek

    @Jack - "Maybe people who think the horrible ending of "The Mist" was way cool also thought that this was a great story." Whoa, whoa, whoa. The ending of The Mist was awesome!! I'll try not to spoil anything, but the ending of the story does not make a good ending for a movie - it's very open-ended with nothing resolved and no real conclusion. So Darabont knew from the start that he'd have to come with a different ending. And the ending he used was right out of the story - (POSSIBLE SPOILERS) the hero says near the end that he has a gun with only 3 bullets, and that if worse comes to worse, he'll do what needs to be done, and figure out something for himself (END SPOILERS). When I saw the movie's ending it floored me. I couldn't believe that a major studio allowed that to happen. It was shocking and brutal and I loved it. Does that make me a hypocrite for hating the parts of Shed that were similar in tone and bleakness? God, I hope not. Because I loved The Mist and hated Shed.

  18. hornacek

    When I first read these issues, was I influenced by the scathing reviews on the website/podcast? Possibly. Except for occasional exceptions, most of the time when I like/hate an issue the Crawl Space will like/hate it too. So when the reviews for Shed were this bad I expected to not like it too. Could those expectations have convinced me to no like it without giving it a chance? No dice. This story was awful. Put the story aside for a moment. The art was awful. Kevin was right, most of the time I couldn't tell what was happening. Maybe Bachalo's art style would be better suited on a book where things are supposed to look weird, or not look like what they actually are, like Dr. Strange. But if you're doing a Spidey story without any fantastical elements, what you draw should look like what it is. And this wasn't that. And the story ... just so depressing and sad and nihilistic, nothing redeeming about it. I guess it got rid of Connors' last connection to his humanity, and upgraded his power. But you can do that without having Billy die, having him be killed (and eaten) by his own father, and more than one reference to sexual assault. And why does the upgraded Lizard now have hair? I guess people can like different things, and some people will like things that I think are bad. (and vice versa) I can accept that. But there are some things where I really have to wonder about people that like something that I think is SO BAD! I'm not trying to attack anyone - if you like this story, that's fine. But I think you and I have serious differences in what makes a good Spidey story.

  19. Jack

    The word that comes to mind is "disgust." First, because ASM is not a horror comic. This story, if it belongs anywhere, belongs in something like "Tales From The Crypt", or a B&W large-sized horror graphic novel. A woman is raped by a gigantic lizard-thing, which thing then goes on to kill and eat his own son. Disgust. Second, because a child is murdered -- then eaten. By his own father. Disgust. Third, because it destroys Curt Connors as an on-going character. Unless Connors found divine forgiveness, the only logical direction he should take is to turn himself in for execution, or to execute himself. The crimes he commits are so disgusting, there is no coming back from this, for Connors as a usable character. Fourth, Spider-Man utterly fails in what matters. It's an ugly story, told with ugly art, and concludes in a bleak, ugly way. Maybe people who think the horrible ending of "The Mist" was way cool also thought that this was a great story. What it was, was disgusting.

  20. Garrett

    I actually had read so many good reviews of this story, and was SO excited to pick it up because the Lizard is one of my favorite Spidey villains (when used properly)... I HATED it. I mean, almost everything about it. I could go on but I think the negative excerpts above have pretty much covered it.

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