Zeb Wells- Writer
Patrick Gleason- Art
Marcio Menyz- Colors,V
Cs Joe Caramagna- Letters
Amazing Spider-Man 34 continues Peter’s path of destruction. Following an issue where he put Kraven 2 in a grave, alive, he increases the pain here. Peter pulls the plug on Tombstone in the hospital, threatens to throw MJs man off a bridge, ala Gwen Stacey, and he beats the snot out of Norman Osborn. The story culminates in an awkward meeting with Peter and the Goblin Queen and Norman rescuing Kraven 2 from his grave. This is the penultimate issues of the arc leading into Gang War, so next issue promises to have a big finale.
Steve: My fellow Webshooter and I have not been shy about our feelings about this run. Putting those feelings aside, this isn’t a bad issue for what it is. If, as readers, we truly want to find out what can happen to a person with Goblin blood coursing through his veins, look no further. Peter’s altruism is thrown out as he vengefully goes after those who have hurt him in the past. Knowing he will return to himself, this is a fun, albeit violent, journey for Peter. Watching this play out should be interesting, especially what could happen with Peter and the Goblin Queen dealing with Kraven on a revenge tour. The big question is what will happen to Norman as a result. This seems like a great opportunity to save Peter and reaccept his role as the Goblin. We shall see. Maybe we can get a more down to earth story where Peter actually acts like Peter and has to deal with normal problems while saving the world. Ahhhhh, doubt it.
Filled up with some serious bad Goblin juju, Peter seems to be settling old scores that have been troubling his subconscious. This issue, his twisted mind turns him towards Mary Jane and her new partner, the infamous Paul. Luckily all around good guy Nomran Osborn manages to compel MJ and Paul to scamper. He even gives Peter an alibi and advises the couple to take the tunnel, not the bridge which I thought was a nice touch. As stated before though, I will never accept good guy Norman or other people accepting of him. MJ in particular should have been constantly kicking him in the crotch, but this is where we are.
Black suited Spidey shows up and puts on a serious beatdown on Norman while MJ/Paul make their getaway. During this beating, Peter voices a LOT of criticism over good guy Norman and Paul to the point of parroting some of the discourse some of the recent Spidey story decisions have made. IT’s almost meta in a way, and to me, that’s an error. If this is on purpose, it means the writer and company KNOWS what people are unhappy about and are ignoring it/villainising it (some people it should be sent are rather demented about some of their criticims) OR they’re pointing out the stupidity of some of the things people don’t like so your reader might go ‘hey wait, he’s got a point.’
The comic is also split with Claven in his coffin battling thoughts of suicide. I think it’s bad form for Marvel to have someone who has a family history of suicide (so to speak) without a trigger warning or perhaps some pointing towards some help lines with those that have had similar thoughts. I may be overthinking it, but as someone who has dealt with heavy suicidal thoughts, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was well written but I feel it could be unsettling or distressing to survivors like myself or those that have been left behind. Given how strong Claven is, I doubted he’d be stuck for long, so being stuck in this terrifying situation where he battled his mind was the real conflict.
The issue ends with the Goblin Queen seemingly trying to reach Spidey as perhaps some of her Ashley Kafka personality has resurfaced even if her appearance hasn’t changed. Norman also digs Claven out of his grave using the magical sphere asking for his help. Next issue we get the cure of Peter who I hope didn’t hurt anyone in his attempt to take out MJ and Paul. I really don’t need more of super depressed ‘Ah’m a MONSTERRRR’ in the style of Bluster Bluth mode Peter.
Steve: As with the other issues, the art is fantastic. Patrick Gleason is an excellent Spidey artist. The real star on this issue is the colorist Marcio Menyz. This story is dark and he is up to the task. Deep colors with orange highlights for the coffin pages. Deep blues and shadows for the night scenes. Gorgeous pages. Honestly, I prefer a lighter, brighter palette for Spider-Man, but for this story, it’s perfect.
Gleason does a lot to service a story that requires a lot of. tense visuals. A lot of tight panels to either magnify the threat of our Spidey-Goblin or Kraven’s claustrophobia. His panel of Norman’s expression as Spider-Man’s MASSIVE frame looms behind him is especially effective. Is Spider-Man really this much of a unit? It doesn’t matter I guess cause it works in the moment. I also loved the design Gleason did on Spidey on the closing pages as he attacks the tunnel where MJ and Paul are trying to make their escape. Like I said before, Gleason is doing a fantastic job making everything look great. I can’t imagine many other people working today that would make anything here much better. He’s a gifted storyteller in how he’s communicating what the story is trying to get across which is really helping some of the things the reader needs to pick up on.
I always feel bad that I don’t say more but every time I experience Gleason’s work, I feel like I’m not taking much away. Yes, he’s great, yes he’s doing what is needed but nothing jumps out at me really in particular. Like I said last issue, despite drawing a LOT of Amazing Spider-Man by now, he’s not really had that much of a huge impact or impression.
I do love that MJ had a pair of Jeff the Landshark slippers. I want a pair Marvel, pronto.
Steve: 4 out of 5 webshooters
Glenn: 3 out of 5 webshooters- Overall it was fine, with some good tension but again there’s such a magnicently sized cloud of stupid over everything.
Next issue is the finale of this story and should lead us to the beginnings of Gangwar. Come back to Wanderings for more Spidey updates.