Amazing Spider-Man #688 Review
- Published on Tuesday, 03 July 2012 01:00
- Written by Kevin
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With Spider-Man saving the Earth from meeting its end at the hands of Doctor Octopus our hero returns to New York City to deal with another old threat in the Lizard. This is the Lizard’s first full return to Amazing Spider-Man since the death of Curt Connors and the rise of the Lizard in the phenomenal ‘Shed’ storyline. The turn in having the Lizard as the only personality left in the character during the phenomenal “Shed” arc has had me eagerly anticipating the villain’s return. Now Amazing Spider-Man #588 is going to deliver this as we start a new arc titled “No Turning Back.”
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In the sewers Spider-Man and the Lizard are locked in a battle to the death. They both land harsh punches to one another until Lizard throws Spider-Man to a wall that is filled with skeletons. Lizard reveals that he has eaten all of his followers because they were too weak to evolve and accept their reptile side, much to Spider-Man’s shock.
Eight hours earlier, Peter Parker is at the pier along with a mass group of people to welcome everyone from Horizon back. Peter congratulates his co-workers for helping to save the world. Max tries to give some credit to Peter since he “designed” a lot of the tech they used but Peter wants it to be kept a secret.
Hector then mentions to Max that Mayor Jameson has turned Horizon back on and that at least for now they are going to be left alone to go back to work like normally. Just then some random woman comes up to Peter and hands an invitation to MJ’s new nightclub.
Later that night at MJ’s nightclub, Peter is there with everyone he knows but is not having a good time as his mind is preoccupied. MJ notices this and takes him to the balcony where she reveals to Peter that this party is for him. Unfortunately Peter is too busy being depressed over Silver Sable’s “death” as it goes against his vow to let anyone else die. MJ says that he shouldn’t put so much weight on his shoulders.
Back in the present, Spider-Man and Lizard’s battle continues to get more intense. As Lizard leaves himself open Spider-Man takes a special harpoon and stabs the Lizard in the shoulder.
Four hours ago, Peter and MJ continue their conversation until Carlie calls him. Carlie tells Peter to suit up and meet her at Greenwood Cemetery. MJ tells Peter to ask Carlie if they are still hanging out Tuesday which makes Peter uncomfortable knowing his two exes are hanging out now.
Swing over to Horizon Labs, Spider-Man demands to see Morbius. Max takes him to Morbius lab were they find Morbius was actually the one to take William’s body. This angers Spider-Man, who slams Morbius against a wall and demanding to know what he is doing exactly. Morbius reveals that he needs William’s DNA in order to finish his cure to save Curt Connors from the Lizard.
Back in the present, Spider-Man and the Lizard continue their battle. With Lizard is preoccupied by Spider-Man Morbius attacks the Lizard from behind with another harpoon.
A few hours ago, after calming down Spider-Man tells Morbius that he will help since there is nothing that he can do to undo what Morbius already did. Morbius shows Spider-Man the harpoons that contain the cure. Spider-Man says that though they may revert the Lizard back to being a human the problem is that the Lizard completely destroyed Curt’s psyche by killing Billy, essentially cutting all ties Curt had with the world. Morbius believes that turning Curt back into a human will help return his psyche to normal. Max agrees to help Spider-Man and Morbius but says he does not condone Morbius methods and after this is over Morbius will not work at Horizon anymore.
Once again, in the present Spider-Man is able to knock the Lizard back. As the Lizard recovers from that blow Spider-Man tells Max to activate the devices that will initiate the cure within the harpoons. Max and his crew do so and are successful in turning the Lizard back into Curt Connors. As everyone checks on Curt we see that even though he is talking normally it is still the Lizard that is in control, now even angrier than before. End of issue.
The Good: After the world saving adventure Dan Slott has brought Spider-Man back home to face an even darker threat and in the process delivering strong characterization. With this being a Lizard-centric arc it is easy to see this as a tie-in to The Amazing Spider-Man film but Slott makes sure to not make it feel that way. Instead what Amazing Spider-Man #688 reads like a follow-up to the excellent ‘Shed’ arc we had a while back.
While it is true that Amazing Spider-Man #688 is the start of a new arc Slott makes sure to dedicate time to following up on what happened during ‘End of the Earth’. With such a major story arc that saw Spider-Man literally save the world it would not feel right to just move straight onto the Lizard’s story. Slott masterfully makes sure that the reader knows that just like many of the major events in Peter Parker’s life that his actions during End of the Earth had impact on him and those around him.
Honestly, my favorite part of this issue is the time we spend seeing Peter’s demeanor throughout the issue. Slott does a great job making the reader understand that even though Peter might have gotten the biggest victory of his Spider-Man career the choices he had to make, specifically leaving Silver Sable behind, has put a great weight on his shoulders. Not only that but those choices are only placed on top of other recent events such as Spider Island, Marla Jameson’s death and William Connor’s death to name a few.
This is what makes Spider-Man different from other comic book characters. Things become personal for Peter because he knows what happens when making one mistake can cost him everything. It is what the character is all about because he really does live by the moniker “With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility.” This adds an extra layer to the choice Peter makes because they do affect how he acts personally in every following story.
At the same time, Peter does have a strong supporting cast around him who are able to help him through his difficult challenges. And as a follow-up to MJ buying a club from earlier issues we do get to see the supporting cast together to celebrate his victory. Seeing everyone together shows how deep of a supporting cast Peter has.
Though I would have loved to see Peter interact with his supporting cast, I liked the choice of MJ being the one to comment on Peter’s mood. MJ is the person that has played the biggest part in Peter’s life and the one to help him through the some of his biggest loses. It makes sense that she is the one to pull him to the side and be upfront about his negative attitude during a time where he should be celebrating with everyone else.
Now as a follow-up to the recent ‘Shed’ arc and Amazing Spider-Man Annual Slott is able to again show how much long-term planning he puts into all his stories. The same way End of the Earth built on all the Sinister Six stories we got in the last two years Slott has built on several past stories for ‘No Turning Back.’
Instantly, when we see Spider-Man fighting the Lizard in the sewers all of the recent Lizard stories come flooding back. There is no need for long recaps to past stories. The fight in the sewers is enough to show the intense history between the two characters with Spider-Man, with his costume torn up, fights for his life against the completely animalistic Lizard.
Not only is the battle intense but Slott makes sure to show the reader, not just tell, how far gone the Lizard is with the Curt Connor’s part of his life dead. Seeing Spider-Man being thrown against a wall of skeleton’s from the Lizard’s previous followers that were made into meals was one of those “Oh S***!” moments for both Spider-Man and the reader. It shows that the name of the arc is completely appropriate given the situation. The ending with the Lizard faking that he has turned back to regular Curt Connor’s was a fantastic way to show that even with being turned back into human the Lizard is still the only thing alive in that body.
This issue also does a good job in inserting Morbius and Max as players in Spider-Man and the Lizard’s conflict. Morbius specifically stands out as his decision to use the young Connor’s body to help him cure the Lizard was a great, if not creepy, move. It shows how much of a dark scientist Morbius is and adds to Spider-Man’s own battle with Morbius without making Morbius a villain. Now, with the cure that Morbius made being successful it should be interesting to see how Morbius takes this outcome for his own cure on himself.
While I am not a big fan of Giuseppe Camuncoli he is able to nail the scenes in the sewers. All the battle sequences between the Lizard and Spider-Man look great. The strength and speed of both characters is shown throughout the issue as they trade blows. The addition to Morbius into the battle only adds to the dark nature of the battle as we see three different characters battling at the same time.
The Bad: As much as I enjoyed this issue I did have a problem with how Slott choose to frame the issue’s story. Instead of slowly anticipating the Lizard’s return we go between the present day battle and a bunch of flashback sequences that, although compelling, take you out of the story because of the frequency of the scene changes. I understand what Slott was going for by starting the issue out with Spider-Man and the Lizard in mid-battle but to have the scene change between the present and a few hours earlier just didn’t work as well as Slott had intended.
At the same time, though I did enjoy Camuncoli’s artwork for the battle sequences the weakness in how he draws people did not help matters. In much the same way Salvador Larroca draws Iron Man, Camuncoli’s people all look plastic. In an issue that is balanced between the action and talking head moments it is pivotal that the art relays the emotion of the character but instead the art for a lot of the characters faces look artificial.
Overall: Even with some problems with the story structure and artwork Amazing Spider-Man #688 was a fun read. Dan Slott nails all of the characterization he gives the characters in this issue. From start to finish this issue is able to get the reader invested in Spider-Man’s battles, both personal and physical. This issue also serves as a great epilogue to End of the Earth as we get to see Peter dealing with the fallout from that story. With how this issue ended and what the cover shows for the next issue the battle looks to only have begun for Spider-Man, which means more fun for us.
Kevin started reading comics as a kid when he watched the first episodes of Batman: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series. After that his parents bought him a few random Spider-Man and Batman comics and he has been hooked ever since. When he is not reading and writing about comics you can find Kevin as the destroyer of worlds, champion of fighting tournaments and ace Madden player on the PS3. You can catch up with Kevin and all his thoughts at the following links:
Twitter: KevinL007Formspring: KevinL007