Alford Notes: Amazing Spider-Man 1.6 – Lead Me Home


ASM1.6coverThe blurb from Marvel for this issue is, “Spider-Man and the Santerians team up to fight a foe that will shake what faith they have!” What faith they have?  If I read the first five issues correctly, for Spidey that would be none, right?  Well, read the review friends (because certainly you didn’t knowingly buy all six issues of this train wreck) and let’s find out if Spidey can get past that heartbreaking moment where he cursed out God while watching his Uncle Ben dying in a hospital bed…

 

The Devil in the Details

Writer: Jose Molina

Artist: Simone Bianchi and Andrea Broccardo

Colorist: David Curiel and Matt Yackey

Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

Cover Artist: Guiseppe Camuncoli and David Curiel

Editor: Nick Lowe

Published: July 26, 2016

What Is Past Is Prologue – a Quick Recap

This is the end of a six issue arc that began back in January, so just in case you’ve fallen behind, here is the story so far:  A guy named Julio came back from the dead.  Everyone thinks this must be a miracle from God except Spider-Man, who apparently hates God because God allowed Uncle Ben to die in a hospital (it doesn’t matter that he didn’t, just go with it).  His efforts to find out what is really going on leads him to the Santerians, a not-quite-voodoo group of voodoo people.  They fight.  Spider-Man saves a chicken.  Spider-Man swings from a jet that flies to a Puerto Rican loving airport in Cuba.  He tracks down a man who met Julio before his death and resurrection only to be attacked by crabs and Uncle Ben.  The Uncle Ben ghost repairs Spidey’s suit with thread thick as rope and then disappears.  However, the rope-repair is still on his suit, so was it an illusion?  Spider-Man goes back to New York, lets Beast do some science on Julio’s DNA to find out that Julio is not human.  Spidey fights Santerians again for no real reason and they decide to join forces to beat whatever it is that Julio has become.  Julio is going around killing people and then bringing them back to life while we learn that his god is none other than Ochumare, a god of rainbow snakes and death and he just killed a chicken, so it’s about to get real here.

dropthatchicken

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

asm1.6flying spideySpidey and the Santerians fight Julio and monsters while Ochumare uses their powers to open a portal.  It seems that hell is empty and all the devils are here.  Tony Stark, who is monitoring the event, tells Spidey about the portal and Spidey convinces the Santerians to stop using their powers.  They do, the portal continues to open.  Uncle Ben comes back.  A demon/alien/monster/whatever-the-heck-it-is sees him, so Spidey believes he is really Ben come back to life this time.  But he disappears because he has to get ready for Dead No More coming up soon.  The Santerians realize that Ochumare is only able to what he does because he is connected to Julio’s life force.  They realize that to do a great right, they must do a little wrong, so they snap his neck.  Spidey gets pissed at this.  Yells at the Santerians, quotes Shakespeare, and goes to church where he apparently forgives God for brutally murdering Uncle Ben in a hospital.  All’s well that ends well.

Onomatopoeia of the Issue (OOTI)

There are many to chose from in this issue.  I’m going with this remix version of the web shooters.

onomatopoeia

On a scale of 1 (POW) to 10 (BLRKBQRKPQRBLNB), this rates a 4

What Passed:

Not much.  The art, in places, are better.  In fact, the art, in places, is better than what were are getting in the main series.

Last issue promised a big fight between crazy looking characters and this issue was a fight between crazy looking characters. So that was a welcomed plus, even if Spidey spends most of his time getting smacked around.

There is not really much else to like.  I can’t even like his Shakespeare quote because immediately afterward he acts like quoting Shakespeare isn’t cool.  What’s cooler than dropping Shakespeare quotes into conversation?   I’m doing it through this whole review just to show how incredibly cool I am.*

What Failed:

I must be cruel, only to be kind.

The cover.  O.K., the cover is not a bad piece of art, but does it make me want to buy this comic?  No.  BD holding my family hostage until I get this review out inspires me to buy this comic.  It is a pretty generic image that could fit any Spidey story.  You know what is really awful?  Spidey doesn’t swing through the city in this issue!  It’s a generic one size-fits-all cover and it doesn’t fit this issue!

Why is this story even in a Spider-Man comic?  What did he do that changed anything in this series?  I’m looking this comic over and the only thing I can really tell that Spidey did was to bring in Tony Stark to monitor cosmic fluctuations and then to rely that information to the Santerians, but even that doesn’t matter because the portal continues to open even without them using their powers.  The Santerians appear to be the only ones who bothered to read the flashback page that revealed the key to defeating Ochumare and they are the ones who actually do the deed.  Sure, Spidey whines about there always being a different way, but he fails to find one here.  I’m not going to re-read this whole series (ever), but if you are a masochist, please do and tell me if there is anything that changes without Spider-Man there.  Except the chicken.

The art – sure, I said it was better, but I’m thinking those parts were Andrea Broccardo’s influence.  This image below is surely all Bianchi.  In fact, I think it is time for a …

Pop Quiz!

Who is this?

whoisthis

a. Uncle Ben

b. Peter Parker

c. Harry Osborn

d. Clayton Cole

e. J. R. Fettinger

Spider-Man Question

Click to see the answer

 

Editorial really failed us on this one.  This is AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.  Not Tangled Webs.  Not Sensational.  Not Marvel Fanfare.  This is the big dog and they turned it over someone who not only has not writing experience, but questionable knowledge of Spider-Man.  I understand the desire to bring in diversity and the fact that Molina is a successful TV writer, but this is where the editor needs to provide guidance and oversight.  The author even acknowledges this in what would be the letters page:

letters

This feels very much like what we’ve been getting in the main book lately – the idea that if you acknowledge that something is wrong, it makes it O.K.

Plus, we have this fashion fail, for good measure:

fashionfail

It’s possible I lifted this panel out of a badly drawn Doctor Who comic.

Analysis –

This comic strives to explore a different layer to Peter than we normally get in the main title; however, the author is not well versed in the character so instead of bringing up poignant ideas and themes, he clumsily stomps through them.  We are told by assistant editor Devin Lewis:

DEVIN

The doubts expressed here deal with Peter’s faith.  It is the point with which they bash us over the head.  Peter is a scientist, so obviously he must hate all that religion stands for (for of course there are no such things as religious scientists).  Peter is a scientist, so he must deny all that is supernatural.  If we had created a new character, we could pull this off.  The problem is that Peter prays (not often, albeit) which means he has already acknowledged God.  Peter deals with the supernatural on a daily basis as Spider-Man.  So this sudden, vehement denial is really odd.  We dive deeper to see that Peter blames God for the death of his Uncle Ben.  This completely undermines everything this character is based on.  Peter blames himself for the death.  That’s it.  It is his driving force.  To shift that blame takes away his whole reason for existence.

Peter calls this look the Smolder

Peter calls this look the Smolder

Let’s say that we can look past that.  Let’s say that the character development we get from this outweighs the continuity issues.  What happened to make Peter change his mind?  In the end, Peter goes to church to talk to a priest.  Why?  Everyone keeps telling him that this is the work of God and that he should just believe it, but there is nothing in this series to support that.  The bad guy is a pagan god possessing the man to open an interdimensional portal.  Spider-Man’s been hanging around with Thor for quite a while now, so seeing some other god being should not be a big deal.  The “ghost” of Uncle Ben doesn’t align with ANYTHING biblical.  God did not assist them in stopping this.  The portal is closed when the Santerians kill Julio.  Julio can’t even be a Christ figure since he did not sacrifice his life to save the world – he was killed fighting against the closing of the portal.  The only lesson he learned is that you can’t always save the day the way you want to.  Somehow that translates into a come-to-Jesus moment for Pete.  It falls flat.

I also have no delusions that this “character development” will have any impact at all on any other comic book from this point until the end of time.  So Peter goes to a church.  Will that impact his life at all outside this comic?  Will Peter now have another reason to fight the good fight?  The next time Peter is in a hard spot, will he accept that sometimes there just isn’t another way?  Will Peter trust in the Lord for help in his hard times?  My bet is no.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe when Peter is faced with the possible death of his aunt in the upcoming Dead No More / Clone Sage Conspiracy, he’ll remember this new found faith in God.  Maybe when Uncle Ben returns again, he’ll still be wearing that awful outfit and it will remind Peter of this moment.

But I seriously doubt it.  And what is the point of character development if it doesn’t change the character?

Final Grade:

This issue: D

This series: F

So fair and foul a comic I have not seen.  Well, to be honest, just foul.  I practically flushed $24.00 down the toilet on this series (which, not surprising, is the same price I would need to pay for an actual gallon of real bull shit).  I’m hard pressed to think of a mini-series that was worse than this one.  Can anyone out there point out something worse?  But men are men; the best sometimes forget and it would be best if I just forgot this one.

Your Turn:

What grade do YOU give it?

Extra Credit:

Spot what is wrong in this picture:

ecflag

What’s Next?

NOTHING!  HALLELUJAH!  Ding dong the series is done!  Just curious – did anyone even notice that this last issue was delayed?

 

* Hey kids!  If you are in high school, send me a list of all five of the Shakespeare quotes and which play they feature in and I will email your English teacher and tell him or her to give you extra credit. 

(18) Comments

  1. Mark Alford

    The good news is that I doubt any fans will consider this canon nor do I think any of the writers are considering the impacts of this in their current stories. With luck it will be forgotten and only exist as a bad trivia question on Spider Jeopardy ten years from now.

  2. Victor Polk

    Either way, I really, really, really hope that this POS mini-series should be decanonized from the main 616 Spider-Man series, since nothing follows logically that Spider-Man has spend time with God literally in person, (and yes other people have seen him before along with Peter) prayed for some times without any scorning on God at all, dealt with a devil/demon, and encounter other supernatural stuff than just natural science itself for gosh sakes. I do hope that this story did end up with Peter becoming a Christian again and comes close to God again, but still, this story is like someone just wrote this while they did drugs/get high. This mini-series is still abysmal, even if it did end up with Peter coming to the priest to talk and understand more about his faith.

  3. Mark Alford

    If the flag had been in the background or small with ten or less stripes, then I would have just dismissed it as part of the background that we are supposed to fill in with the mind (like faceless crowds or backgrounds that are all one color). However, it is in the front of the scene and they came close, which tells me the artist either didn't bother to count or doesn't know the number of stripes on the flag. After the Cuba flag fiasco, I figured they would have doubled checked!

  4. Evan

    @hornacek - Nice going! That didn't even occur to me. @Mark - Don't worry, Mark. I would never send you a gallon of crap in the mail -- That's a whole $28.95 plus a $9.95 shipping fee! And that's not even the combo pack. :)

  5. hornacek

    Well, I needed a hint. In my defense, I would have gotten it immediately if it had been a Canadian flag where the maple leaf was upside down.

  6. Mark Alford

    @Evan - Since you're working so hard at the extra credit (and since I'm now worried you're going to send me a gallon of crap in the mail), take another look at that flag. You would think after screwing up once on a flag in this series, they would be a bit more careful.

  7. Evan

    @Mark -- The only problem I can see with the picture is the fact that the police car is parked on the wrong side of the road (though the picture is small and I might be mistaken). Either that, or it's that flag hanging from the front of the church. Otherwise, I'm stumped. Maybe it's thematically incompatible with the rest of the comic and needs more chickens. Gee, I guess I really need those extra credit points. By the way, it's very smart on that shitsenders site's part to have included a disclaimer. Too bad these point one issues didn't come with one.

  8. Jack

    Yes, 13 was/is a DC character who hunts paranormal phenom because he's a materialistic skeptic who doesn't believe in the supernatural. Which created story problems, because he kept on running into real supernatural things, so he ended up looking like a stubborn-minded dope.

  9. Mark Alford

    Well...you're right that Hamlet was not a wise man, so I'll give you bonus points for that, but I'm looking for something a bit more obvious. For the record, I didn't know that site existed either. I just started looking for stupid stuff that I could have spent my money on instead. This one won hands down.

  10. Evan

    I think I wanna take a crack at the extra credit. Hamlet is not a wise man. (Incidentally, I learned so much from this review that was not Spidey-related. I cannot believe that shitsender site actually exists.)

  11. Mark Alford

    I had to look up Dr. 13. Are you talking about the DC character? Anyone figure out what's wrong in the picture for the extra credit section yet?

  12. mrread7

    I'm all for new writers getting a chance to write Spider-Man. Especially ones who have a history of writing in other media. However, where can he even look at this and go: "I wrote a good story, but it wasn't great because I've never done this before." There is admitting you messed up and then there is trying to do it to make it ok. As someone who has written two books. Even with reviews and word of mouth, people still have said why its not a masterpiece, you can understand, relate and say: "I am that character." in the end. However, nowhere does this story do that and in fact, it just has Peter come off as some mindless person who is ignorant of religion and has never even been portrayed or talked about his religious background. Has sold his marriage to a demon and then sees Uncle Ben as his 16 year old self who was a 13th Dr. Who fan apparently. Ok, I love Dr. Who too, but I'm tired of seeing it in the pages of Spider-Man by both the main writer and others. MOVE ON!

  13. Jack

    This seems like it should be a Dr. 13 story. (a no-prize for anyone who knows who Dr 13 is without looking!). I don't think the MU even has an agnostic hero-character, does it?

  14. Chase the Blues Away

    Peter literally sold his marriage to the devil to save his aunt's life. But, noooooooo, Peter has no experience with the supernatural. Where's the rolling eyes GIF when you need it? Also, "it's always nice to remember...there is a man with doubts about himself." If only the Spider-Office could remember that used to be the status quo for the book when actual, real writers like J.M. DeMatteis and JMS had control of Spider-Man's adventures....

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