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KC Carlson. Art by Keith Wilson.
by KC Carlson
A recent storyline in amazing Spider-Man (ASM) jumped out at me, reminding me that I’ve been remiss in not speaking about this excellent comic series. It’s ended up being a bit of an underdog at Marvel, fighting for interest from the X-books as well as Avengers titles as well as their continuous event-driven storytelling.
Amazing Spider-Man #667
ASM is no complete stranger to event stories — the recent Spider Island event was a wonderful, heroic, sinister, as well as wildly entertaining Tilt-a-Whirl of expectations satisfied as well as condition quo upheaval that reinvigorated the series without being obvious about it. Granted, not whatever was excellent about Spider Island. A couple of the tie-ins didn’t truly integrate well, as well as I still believe the title is weird, albeit descriptive. Still, it was heads as well as tails much better than the concurrently running fear Itself, which collapsed under the weight of its reaching-too-far storylines as well as as well many crossovers, as well as the weird vibe of whatever seemingly being undone in the epilogues. At least that had amazing art by Stuart Immonen as well as Wade Von Grawbadger.
The Spidey story that caught my eye wasn’t one of the routine legendary battles with a major Spider-foe, nor an angsty confrontation with the devil over personal history. In fact, in one more era, it may be called a day-in-the-life story — a type of storytelling where there aren’t any type of major hero/villain fights, nor much dispute at all. These were stories about what occurred on a “normal” day in the life of our superhero.
[“A Day in the Life” likewise ended up being a much-abused cliché. I still extremely much keep in mind the early 1990s DC Editorial satisfying where Mike Carlin really screamed at us editors to stop commissioning them. “They can’t all be day-in-the-life stories! Somebody’s gotta punch somebody!” ]
This specific Spidey story wasn’t just one more day-in-the-life story — although it takes location over an approximate 24-hour period. It’s likewise a first-class “puzzle story” of the type that often came out of the Julius Schwartz editorial office over at DC Comics in the 1960s as well as 70s. as well as it’s relatively obvious that Spidey writer Dan Slott was subconsciously channeling John Broome big-time that month. The story in question? “I killed Tomorrow” in amazing Spider-Man #678 as well as 679.
OBLIGATORY SPOILER-FREE SYNOPSIS
Amazing Spider-Man #678
Peter Parker, after a wonderful character-building introduction (where he runs into an old (old) girlfriend, nice touch), heads to his task at horizon Labs, where he’s been assigned to “double inspect duty” for one of his more unusual colleagues, Grady Scraps. (BTW, “double inspect duty” is basically inspecting their math to ensure that “they don’t pull a ‘Victor Von Doom’ as well as strike their deal with off” — one more nice reference.) Grady has invented something he phone calls the Doorway to Tomorrow!, which he has installed on the doorway to Horizon’s break room. To demonstrate, he steps through, as well as seconds later returns with… tomorrow’s everyday Bugle. Peter, wanting to inspect this out, steps with the doorway — however he doesn’t step into the benign future that Grady encountered. Instead, he sees all of nyc violently destroyed, with everybody dead. He likewise finds a partially destroyed analog watch — with its hands frozen at the time the city was destroyed, 3:10.
The un-ticking watch ironically becomes a symbolic ticking clock as Peter (and Grady as well as the enigmatic Madam Web) attempt to figure out exactly how to prevent that specific timeline/mass damage from ever happening. It becomes progressively obvious that something Spidey did (or didn’t do) triggered the catastrophe. BTW, ASM #678 offers up a excellent subtle joke by altering the usual “The World’s biggest super Hero!” logo blurb to “The World’s Worst super Hero!” for this problem only.
TIME IS A idea BY WHICH WE determine OUR FUN!
Amazing Spider-Man #679
What complies with are two problems of Slott dealing deftly with all the usual time travel paradoxes as well as ephemera — this time around totally understandable to even dummies like me — seasoned with lots of Slott’s trademark humor, while just stacking on the suspense. situation in point, Slott pulls an amazing cliffhanger-resolution stunt that had me groaning with anxious laughter, as well as then he promptly drops one more remarkable game changer just two pages later. part two likewise offers up more complications with Silver Sable, Flag Smasher, as well as a specific redhead (who’s not seen sufficient in ASM these days). then Slott adds the perfect button to the story in the extremely last panel.
The artwork for both problems is by Humberto Ramos as well as Victor Olazaba. It’s brilliant — however not so spectacular that it overwhelms the story. You’d believe that Ramos’ contemporary angularity would be a distraction, or inappropriate in a character whose style has traditionally been slick — John Romita, John Byrne, Todd McFarlane — or earthbound — Steve Ditko, Sal Buscema, Ross Andru — however somehow it works. These days, I look ahead to Ramos’ regular appearances on the title.
Amazing Spider-Man: huge Time
So, a huge thumbs-up to amazing Spider-Man overall. This story is just the latest example of exactly how well Slott has been handling a long-running character who seems fresh again. starting with “Big Time” in ASM #648, Slott went solo on the book after being a part of the Webheads writers collective that was accountable for the previous 100 issues, as well as such excellent stories as the villain-building “The Gauntlet”, “Shed”, as well as “Grim Hunt” — with the latter being a sequel to the prominent “Kraven’s Last Hunt” story from 1987.
It’s difficult to believe that this was the series that most everybody wished to stop after 2007’s “One more Day” storyline ham-fistedly altered (reset?) the continuous continuity of the series. many did quit. however in the five years since (with well over 100 problems created on an accelerated — now the “norm” — schedule), a little legion of skilled writers as well as artists have rallied the book back to greatness.
Obviously, a great deal of “comic book time” has passed in ASM, however the book has survived decades of clones, wars (secret or not), lost relationships, death as well as resurrection, cosmic stuff, stupid stuff, weird sexual stuff, as well as even Spidey actually turning “dark” (or at least his costume). most of that is gone now, as well as the book has a incredibly unique identity — being true to the angsty “fun” as well as ever-changing connections of the Lee/Ditko/Romita era, updated with powerful modern-era storytelling.
Spidey satisfies Daredevil in amazing Spider-Man #677
A great deal of this, I think, has to do with its editor, Steve Wacker. one of the few present comics editors who is really enabled to have a public character (mostly as seen with The amazing Spider-Mail, the routine Spidey lettercol), Wacker has done an excellent task of keeping the books on routine two or three times a month for the last five years, in addition to coordinating the lots as well as lots of creators needed to create 24-36 on-time problems a year (plus minis as well as Annuals). He discovered exactly how to do that by editing the white-knuckle-ride that was DC’s 52, before marvel hired him away (mid-52) to be the Spidey wrangler. While he was at DC, he was likewise one of the legion of legion of Super-Heroes Editors. (So he understands the trick handshake.) He likewise understands quirk when he sees it as well as is wise sufficient to motivate it in the books he edits.
Wacker’s Spidey letter columns are throwbacks to old-style lettercols. He makes fun of himself, playfully berates his assistant de jour, runs great deals of letters from bit kids, service guy as well as women, returning Spidey readers, as well as particularly new Spidey visitors — since as a great editor, he understands a fan seeing his or her name in print will most likely make them a comic book fan for life. It’s one of the very best lettercols out there. (Sadly, there’s not much competition. ideally that will modification soon. I note that more as well as more marvel books now have routine lettercols.)
MORE THAN SPIDEY
Wacker’s likewise editorially accountable for the present Daredevil series by mark Waid as well as Paolo Rivera — one more high-energy yet humorous corner of the marvel Universe. If, somehow, you haven’t been reading this series (and why not?), I’d suggest starting with Daredevil #7 — a excellent “done-in-one” problem that has gathered a great deal of interest (and ideally some upcoming comics awards this summer). Yes, it’s that good. Plus, the title just crossed over with ASM (Big fun reads!) as well as will once again in a couple of months, with The Punisher as referee.
Seeing amazing Spider-Man (and Daredevil) back on an increasing number of must-read listings is incredibly heartening. marvel Comics: Not just mutants as well as Avengers as well as guys with guns! (…but they’ve got those too!)
KC CARLSON ASKS: Where are the new 52 lettercolumns? are there no letter writers in that new universe? DC was doing so well reintroducing lettercols in the “old” DCU — then, SKRAK! — cut off at the knees for crappy (and needlessly repetitive as well as lazy) promo pages (aka ADS!). Phooey!