Sunday, 30 January 2011

Review - Amazing Spider-Man: 24/7

This story originally appeared in Amazing Spider-Man issues 592 to 594, which came out a couple of years ago, but I have just read it in the pages of Astonishing Spider-Man issues 27 and 28. Astonishing Spider-Man is a reprint title, published in the UK by Panini and available from newsagents, WHSmith, etc. Each issue of the Astonishing Spider-Man reprints three comics – two modern reprints and an older adventure – and costs £2.95, which is pretty good value but would seem like even better value if the older adventures weren’t usually crap from the ‘80s.

'24/7' is written by Mark Waid, who is a decent writer, and drawn by Mike McKone, who is a very good artist. At the end of the last storyline, which I didn’t bother reading and reviewing because I’d already read it a couple of years ago and life’s too short to re-read stuff like this, Spider-Man returned from an afternoon of adventure in another dimension with the Fantastic Four only to discover that two months had passed in New York and in that time J. Jonah Jameson had been elected mayor. At the beginning of '24/7', he attempts to make a truce with Jonah, which doesn’t work out that well, so then he decides to be Spider-Man 24/7 for a while – to fight crime night and day – just to piss Jonah off. This does indeed piss Jonah off and it also gets ordinary New Yorkers back on Spidey’s side (for a while).

During the course of this short story arc, as well as fighting street crime and saving lives, Spidey catches Aunt May in bed with Jonah Jameson’s dad, who later asks May to marry him, meets a possible new love interest in the form of Michelle Gonzales, the sister of his flatmate Vin Gonzales (who is in prison), and also tackles a new Vulture, who acts more like a real vulture than previous Vultures, as he feeds on injured and dying criminals. We don’t find out nearly enough about this new Vulture before he is defeated, other than that he is the result of a mob experiment, and I actually found myself thinking that this story arc could have been dragged out over another couple of issues (which is something I never thought I’d say about a modern Marvel comic). The whole '24/7' arc seemed to end quite suddenly, with Spidey managing to piss off ordinary New Yorkers again during the capture of the new Vulture and the sudden appearance of Norman Osborn, who features heavily in the next storyline ('American Son'). Still, this was better written than the 'Character Assassination' arc that I read and reviewed last week, the artwork was nice (even in the last issue where Mike McKone was assisted by Barry Kitson), and it was a perfectly enjoyable light read.

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