Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Spectacular Spider-Man #22 - A Review

Written by: Paul Jenkins
Penciled by: Talent Caldwell
Inked by: Norman Lee
Colored by: Studio F
Lettered by: Virtual Calligraphy’s Chris Eliopoulos
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Two issues ago I was ready to drop this title because of the nonsensical “Changes” storyline. At the end of said storyline, Peter had developed the ability to shoot organic webs from his wrists (like in the movies), became a lot more muscular, had his Spider-Sense increased and for some reason developed the ability to talk to ants. Spiders, I can get… but ants?

But I’m a Jenkins fan so I decided to give him another issue. Last issue didn’t reference Peter’s new powers at all, being a silly story involving a superhero poker game that just proved that it is possible to do comics with comedy still. So now we come to this issue. The one that would decide if I stick with this title until the end…

*sighs* Paul, you magnificent bastard, you’ve done it again.

I was worried when I read the first five pages, where Peter discusses how his new powers have changed his perceptions and how it has caused him to notice emotional wrongness in addition to the usual danger-based wrongness his Spider-Sense warns him of. From there, we launch into the Jenkins special; a one-shot story that is much deeper than its surface suggests and is a perfect summation of everything that makes Spider-Man who he is.

This is all beautifully illustrated by guest artist Talent Caldwell, whose name isn’t just a gimmick. He really IS a talent. His style resembles that of regular penciler Humberto Ramos, but is not nearly as angular or as jagged. His curves are smoother and I personally feel it to be a great improvement over the regular artwork.

I won’t say anything about the story of this book. Far better that you read it for yourself. Trust me. You won’t regret it. I haven’t, nor will I when the final issue comes around. In fact, this issue made me realize how much emptier the racks will seem without Paul Jenkins having a book on it every month.

Get well soon, Paul. We need more men like you writing material like this.

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