Monday, January 16, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #647: "Another Door" et al.

** (two of five stars)

Favorite Quote:  "I never liked you, Vin.  You're close-minded and uncurious and you don't laugh at my jokes."  -- Harry, to an unconscious Vin.

Vin has been sprung from jail.  Peter and Carlie are costume shopping for Aunt May's Halloween/good-bye-Harry party.  Carlie is worried about going since Vin -- the man she put in prison -- will be there.  Peter tells her he really wants her there so Harry can see the whole gang together, provoking a rant from Carlie about how Peter needs to decide what he wants from her.  Meanwhile, Overdrive kidnaps a socialite, prompting Peter to go after him in a costume-version of his actual costume.  Peter saves the socialite and defeats Overdrive, but has to flee in his skivvies after Overdrive used the Spider Buggy's web cannon to web him to the socialite.  (He had changed the socialite's limo to the Spider Buggy, natch.)  Michele and Peter get Vin from the diner where he's waiting for them after being released.  Vin goes to see Carlie and asks her forgiveness, bringing her to Aunt May's party.  Vin reveals that he's converted to Norman Osborn-ism in prison when he tells Harry that his father says Harry better take good care of Stanley (the baby).  MJ tells Peter that he has a right to be happy and he finds Carlie, telling her that he wants her to be his girlfriend.  They kiss.  In one of the additional stories, Harry follows Vin on his walk home, Tazes him, and then beats him, telling him never to threaten him or Stanley again.

The Review
Meh.  As I'll detail in the next post (a reflection on "Brand New Day"), I low-ball this issue because I'm annoyed with the fact that, after everything, Peter essentially ends "Brand New Day" where he started it, making me wonder why we had to lose MJ in the process.
The Good
1) Peter Parker in his faux Spidey mask and boxers was just about the sexiest thing I've ever seen.

2) Carlie as Felicia?  MJ as Jackpot?  Harry and Stanley as Dr. Octopus?  All awesome.

3) The Vin-as-disciple-of-the-Green-Goblin thing was interesting, but I'm not sure where it's going.  Are we going to see Vin become the Goblin maybe?  It was unexpected, since I thought we were going to begin the Vin redemption arc, but, instead, he's worshiping a super-villain.  I mean, Vin can't possibly construe Norman Osborn as a hero, so I'm assuming that we're clearly seeing him place himself firmly on the "bad guy" side.  Also, Harry wailing on Vin was intense, yo.

4) Oh, the Spider-Buggy.

5) I teared up a little at the Flash story.  It was really nicely done.  (I could remark that Peter knew that Flash was inspired by Spider-Man, since Flash told him that once, in "Amazing Spider-Man: Extra!" #3.  So, it doesn't make a lot of sense that Spidey only started following Flash when the article mentioning he was inspired by Spidey was published, since Spidey already knew that.  But, it was a nice story, and I'm not going to nitpick.)

The Bad
1) Overdrive was arrested back in the last arc.  He was in the web ball with Diablo and, I think, the Spot that Spidey threw into the police station.  Peter goes on a whole speech about capturing him for the first time, but he already did so in the last arc.  Plus, not much time elapsed between this issue and the last arc, since Pete's costume was still drying from him having washed it to get off the sewer stink.  So, did Overdrive escape from prison?  Or, more likely, did the editors forget to tell Van Lente he got captured in "Origin of the Species?"  You decide.

2) So, is Aunt May over the Mr. Negative corrupting touch or not?  Did she shake herself from it when she comforts Peter at the end of "Shed?"  I ask because it's still a little unclear here.  She actually makes two bitchy comments about Peter and gives him the stink eye when she sees him at the door of her house, but, at this point, God only knows what her motivation is.

3) I'm over Carlie, which sucks, because we're not going to get rid of her any time soon, clearly.  Van Lente writes her as a doormat here:  one minute, she's telling Peter never to speak to her again (which she's done at least once before, in the "Mind on Fire" arc), but the next minute she's kissing him in the kitchen when he asks her to be his girlfriend.  What the hell?  She also suffers from being featured in such close proximity to Mary Jane, who gives Peter amazing advice BECAUSE SHE'S THE ONE HE LOVES.  The last shot -- of Peter kissing Carlie -- felt like a punch in the gut, underlining that, as "Brand New Day" ends, the whole point of it was to delete MJ.  I have to hope that, now that Carlie is going to be Pete's girlfriend, we see an end to her occasional tirades about him not asking her on a date and we get to see her be cool, like she was during "Shed."

4) I'm disappointed we didn't get a really Harry/Peter send-off here.  Harry has been alternatively a central character and a totally ignored one over the course of "Brand New Day," but we could at least have gotten something close to an emotional good-bye with Peter.  I mean, we spend more time on Carlie here than we do on Harry, and that's just wrong.

5) Speaking of Harry, it's weird that we drop his oxycodone addition in this arc.  We had just seen, in "Amazing Spider-Man Presents:  American Son," his addiction more clearly presented than we had previously, with Harry lying to Norah about getting better.  But, here, it's not mentioned at all, probably because it would've been a little iffy to have a drug addict taking his newborn son into the night.  But, it's still weird that, just as the sub-plot was getting somewhere, the editors wind up dropping it.  It makes me wonder if sending Harry into the night wasn't something of a last-minute plan, so they never really had time to address some dangling plot points.

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