Thursday, March 18, 2004

Spectacular Spider-Man #11 - A Review

Written by: Paul Jenkins
Penciled by: Daimon Scott
Inked by: Rob Campanella
Colored by: Frank D’Armata
Lettered by: Cory Petit
Editor: John Miesegaes, Axel Alonso & Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics

This is, perhaps, the weakest issue of the new Spectacular Spider-Man published so far. This is not to say that it is bad, per say… but it doesn’t look like this new storyline is going to match up to “The Hunger” or “Countdown”. This is odd because for the most part, the individual components of this issue are excellent.

The Story

Jenkins has the thankless task of trying to build upon the atrocious “Spider-Man: Quality of Life” by Greg Rucka. All you need to know about that particular story is that Martha Connors, the one stabilizing force in the life of Dr. Curt Connors dies of cancer and that, for reasons that elude such established Spider-Man experts as the good people at as well as myself, Dr. Connors now knows Spider-Man’s secret identity.

Anyway, Dr. Connors is stressed because of work, his wife’s death, his son’s growing preteen disrespect for him and the knowledge of what too much stress will do to him. His therapist is doing very little to help him and he just lost a major grant to continue his new pet project (a cure for cancer) to a hated rival who is working on the much more commercially acceptable cure for athletes foot. There is smashing a plenty and a big explosion. All of this is very cool, but has a feel of ho-humness. “Dr. Connors goes MAD” stories are a dime a dozen and Jenkins has yet to twist this one into something different as he did with the earlier Venom and Dr. Octopus stories.

The Art

Ramos has left the book and I couldn’t be happier. Goodbye distorted cartoonish figures with their jutting, angular bodies! Hello distorted cartoonish figures with jutting curved bodies!

Umm…. What?

In all seriousness, I do like the look of Daimon Scott’s work. I just question how appropriate it is to the darkly serious story that Jenkins has written here. While his scenes of normal life look fine (the scene with Billy playing video games and talking to his dad stands out), his transformation scenes are more silly than scary. And why does ever adult male in this book with the exception of Big John the Kiwi Kid (whose dreadlocked afro looks HORRIBLE) have a prominent widow’s peak?

The biggest problem with the art is the coloring. Everything is done in muted pastels that give the art a “washed out” feeling. Consider the Spider-Man costume, which looks more pink then red on the cover and is similarly colored throughout. Not to mention the unnatural tan/pink used for pigmentation here.

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