Amazing Spider-Man #612: Man, Where Have I Been?
Posted November 21, 2009on:
I’m going to admit to something right now, and I hope that you can forgive me. I am so unbelievably out of the loop on Spider-Man, it’s ridiculous. Basically, I was a casual reader and sorta knew what was up with ol’ Web-head riiiight up until everybody collectively yelled, “Fuck ‘One More Day,’ fuck ‘Brand New Day,’ we’re out.” I, along with a lot of readers I know, checked right the hell out. So, what made me go out and spend my hard earned money on something that I’d all but abandoned?
At Long Beach Comic-Con, one of the door prizes they handed every attendee was a variant copy of Amazing Spider-Man #606. I went home, read it, and had no idea what had just happened. Peter Parker had apparently wooed every lady in New York and was boning Black Cat? J. Jonah Jameson was mayor of New York? The Daily Bugle became a tabloid rag called the DB? Peter’s secret identity was secret again? What the hell is going on and where the hell had I been? (Reading the Distinguished Competition, mostly.)
The very next day, Mark Waid hosted the “50 Questions in 50 Minutes” panel and practically geekgasmed over his announcement of a three-issue Spider-Man arc he’d be writing. Now, when a nobody like me geekgasms, nobody cares. When a writer/artist/editor/somebody better than you does it, there’s this weird phenomenon where it washes over you and everybody gets a little taste of geekstacy (ew). Not really understanding why, I was excited for the Waid Spider-Man run, and when I saw the first one on the shelf I just had to pick it up.
The premise is simple, paralleling the real world. The economy is all fucked up, New York City is in a heatwave, and everybody is feeling just a little bit grumpy. The DB is bankrupt and about to get the first government newspaper bailout package. Max “Electro” Dillon is feeling his belt tighten and decides that he’s not going to take this crap anymore. After meeting up with the Thinker for a couple pages, Electro takes to the streets and delivers a heartfelt speech on a rooftop, rallying people against the DB and its bailout. Somebody films it, uploads it to YouTube, and Electro is suddenly a figurehead for an anti-bailout movement. Holy crap, a Spider-Man story that is actually plausible? I’m in!
Phil Azaceta’s art in this book is phenomenal as well. You can see the wear and tear on the faces of both the citizens and a down-and-out Electro (who finally ditched that stupid yellow headdress of his). I did have one glaring complaint, though. On the wall of the DB is a poster of Nick Fury’s face with a URL underneath it for something called the Fury Files. I thought it odd that it looked like something that was just hastily added with a Photoshop stamp tool, so I had to check it out. When I went to it, it redirected me to Hasbro Toy’s page on Marvel figures. That’s kinda bullshit, but whatever.
There’s also a back-up story in here by Joe Kelly and Jim Ken Nimura, but it was pretty much just Black Cat and Spider-Man talking about how much they like doin’ it without knowing each other’s real identities. No thanks.
To sum it up, it was an interesting start to Spider-Man’s “Gauntlet” storyline (which Marvel wants you to know is NOT an event). I’m still excited to see what happens in regards to Electro’s sudden popularity, as well as how Spider-Man is expected to dealing with it without pissing off the populace of New York (any more than Mayor Jameson already has them pissed at him). I’d recommend picking up Amazing Spider-Man #612, trying to stick with it (at least until Waid’s run ends with issue #614), and pairing it with the last of your local grocery store’s supplies of summer ales.