Sunday, November 16, 2003

Spectacular Spider-Man #6 - A Review

Written by: Paul Jenkins
Penciled by: Humberto Ramos
Inked by: Wayne Faucher
Colored by: Studio F
Lettered by: Randy Gentle
Editor: John Miesegaes
Publisher: Marvel Comics

So much greatness and so little space to discuss it all. Still, we shall take it by the numbers and try.

1. Doctor Octopus is back!

Okay, so he never left and he did just get his own miniseries starting last month. But let’s not quibble. This is when we were meant to see the new “look” for Doctor Octupus and it is good. It’s funny, however, that despite the fact that Humberto Ramos is the one who created the look, I think I like it better as drawn by Staz Johnson in “Negative Exposure”. The look here, with the coat collar totally covering the good Doctor’s mouth, seems a bit odd and just “wrong”. Doc Ock has always been one for good maniacal expressions and it just seems so wrong to have his evil grin covered. Also, between the black coat, the mangaesque tentacles, the sunglasses glued to the eyes and the “I’ve missed you” introduction line, I can’t help but have Matrix flashbacks. Still, the writing of the character is dead on and Jenkins finds the perfect balance of subdued menace and detached, intellectual madness.

2. Mary Jane is back!

Not very important to the plot, but Mary Jane does make her first appearance in the Title and her first in Jenkins writing in years. I rejoice in this however, not only because Mary Jane being in the story and acting as a foil for Peter always improves the quality ten-fold, but because I will no longer have to explain why Peter is living on his own in one book and has MJ sleeping over every other night in another.

NOTE TO CONTINITY FANS: This story takes place after Amazing Spider-Man #50 of the current volume but before the most recent stories where it appears that Peter and Mary Jane are living together again. There. You have your precious timeline. Neener. Neener. Neener.

3. Jolly J. Jonah Jameson is back!

In what seems to be a throw-away scene (particularly considering Peter hasn’t worked for the Bugle in a while) we get a nice story about the man who could honestly be said to be Spider-Man’s worst enemy; J. Jonah Jameson. Still, considering the plans Doc Ock hints at in this issue, I don’t believe the quick cameo is a coincidence… though I could scarcely complain even if it were thrown in for a quick joke. The gag about “Alien Hitler Clone sighted in Manhattan sewer” is a classic and I will eat this comic if this joke gets developed into a scene involving Jolly Jonah painting himself green and calling Parker to come take his picture for the front page.

4. General greatness.

The on-going plot involving Flash Thompson’s injuries is expanded as we get another look at Peter’s neighbors. The usual amount of Spider-wisecracks is there along with some web-slinging, wall-crawling action. And Dock Ock is still there. With the tentacles and the menace and the evil and all that makes him the greatest villain in Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery.

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