Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Amazing Spider-Man #19.1 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

For the first three issues, Conway was telling a solid story of Mr. Negative manipulating Yuri Watanabe (a.k.a. the Wraith) into eliminating his competition to run the streets of New York and Yuri knowing full well that he was manipulating her.  But, a bunch of developments in this issue left me wondering if Conway hasn't literally lost the plot here:

- Mr. Negative offers an alliance to the Ringmaster, noting that the Black Cat and Goblin King were "temporarily sidelined."  However, I'm not really sure that I buy that.  Felicia was active last issue in her attempt to lock up more territory.  Sure, she decided not to break out Hammerhead and Tombstone (and thus win their loyalty and territory), but it doesn't mean that she won't make another attempt.  Moreover, the Goblin King was fine after he tangled with Hammerhead; he also could make another play.  That said, I initially had no recollection of the Goblin King and Hammerhead fighting.  Mr. Negative mentions it as he recites the tips that he gave to Yuri, but I had to re-read issue#17.1 to recall it.  In that issue, Yuri hypothesizes that Phil "got the message" after she and Spider-Man beat down Hammerhead's men, so I guess that we're supposed to believe that Mr. Negative also believes that he's no longer a player.  Phil is pretty cowardly, so I guess that I buy it.  But, I think that you could make an argument that he's also ambitious, so he'd be reluctant to pass up the opening that Hammerhead and Tombstone behind bars presents.  In other words, I don't buy the fact that control over the streets is simply a matter of Mr. Negative working out a deal with Ringmaster.

- Conway rushes through the revelations about the Crime-Master (another potential player).  Yuri claims that he's one of Mr. Negative's Inner Demons and that he's the one that shot Tombstone at the end of issue #18.1.  Although it theoretically makes sense, Conway never established it on its own merits (outside Yuri saying so).  Moreover, I'm not sure why Mr. Negative would have him shoot Tombstone.  Spidey hypothesizes that he was trying to frame Yuri, but he'd really be framing the Wraith.  Did he believe that Yuri would get caught and her identity exposed?  That seems like a stretch.  Was Yuri simply lying?  I actually think that it's the more likely scenario, though Conway has Spidey tell us that he believes Yuri, so I'm not sure what we're supposed to think.

- Finally, I'm not sure what we're supposed to believe about Mr. Negative and the Ringmaster.  As I already mentioned, Mr. Negative offered an alliance with Ringmaster to split up crime in New York, but Ringmaster declined.  However, Mr. Negative somehow knew that the Circus of Crime was going to hit a technology fair to steal an expensive watch, so he dispatched Yuri (and Spider-Man).  But, once there, the Ringmaster revealed that it was all a distraction so that one of Mr. Negative's Inner Demons could swipe the watch.  Were they really working together?  If they were, why would Mr. Negative get Yuri involved in the first place?  Wouldn't the distraction go better if two superheroes weren't there and the Circus only had to distract the guards?  It makes more sense that they weren't working together, and Mr. Negative dispatched Yuri and Spider-Man to distract the Circus of Crime so that his man could swipe the watch.  But, then, what distraction did the Ringmaster mean?  It wasn't like the Inner Demon had to beat one of his men to the watch.

Needless to say, I feel like I need a map to follow all the crosses and double-crosses.  I was doing well, but, seriously, even after re-reading the first three issues, I'm not really sure where we are at this point.

All that said, Barberi can draw Spider-Man any time that he wants.  His movements are really fluid, something that works well with both Spider-Man and the Wraith.  Moreover, he really manages to juggle a lot of action on a page, as the two-page splash shot of the Circus of Crime proves.  Even though the plot confused me, at least I had pretty pictures.

** (two of five stars)

No comments:

Post a Comment