Amazing Spider-Man #617


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Amazing Spider-Man #617


  • Words: Joe Kelly
  • Art: Max Fiumara & Javier Pulido
  • Colors: Fabio D'Auria & Matt Hollingsworth
  • Story Title: "Rage of the Rhino" & "The Walk"
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jan 14, 2010

Spider-Man’s whole world is in shambles.  The events of "One More Day" were only the beginning of our hero’s troubles.  Now the DB has been destroyed and his love life is possibly more confusing then ever, as the villains the new Kraven assembles are knocked down one by one, what happens when the Rhino comes a-charging?

Spider-Man has had a turbulent couple of years.  Marriages have dissolved.  Babies vaporized into never were.  His beloved aunt married the father of his most potent enemy.  Old friends randomly appeared, still alive.  And oh yeah, someone gave Norman Osborn the keys to the kingdom.

That kind of luck would drive most of us insane.  Somehow, Peter Parker has come through it all.  Now he has been running the gauntlet as his most infamous villains have been sicced on him by a force unknown to him.  He’s seen Doc Ock, Electro, and Sandman; now it is Aleksei Sytsevich’s turn.

However, the Spidey brain trust throws us a curve ball.  The Rhino that attacks in this issue is not Aleksei, but some poser being manipulated by that woman in the background.  Aleksei has gone on the straight and narrow.  He is happily married and better yet, a working stiff.  This doesn’t mean trouble doesn’t fall far behind his footsteps.

With all the changes that have happened, Spider-Man is actually slowly working back to the classic status quo.  He’s a photographer first and foremost again as Ben tries to wrestle Peter from JJ’s civil job. Pete’s got multiple women in his life - although MJ is not his main squeeze.  He’s hard up for money and trying to make it on his own.  Seems like that has been the status quo for most of his books since he debuted in the sixties.

Joe Kelly does his normal fantastic writing job here, he gets inside the head of every character he can.  In the back up, you see how Aleksei becomes a changed man, and why. Remarkably, it comes off as more believable than the similar storyline given to Fisk in Daredevil.  The scribe here manages to do in one short story, what Brubaker could not in a storyline... he makes the rehabilitation of the character believable.  It is a monumental task that is handled with grace.  Just as skillfully, Kelly brings the quips and insecurities of the title character that longtime fans love, all while progressing the storyline that has been in play since JMS left the title.

Fiumara is an unbelievable talent.  While there are certainly readers who would prefer to see more of the dark and fantastic Depression era of the creative team’s Four Eyes rather than the adventures of one of my favorite superheroes, seeing the two work together is still a joy.  Fiumara tones down his style ever so slightly, taking on more common designs for the characters - so there is no doubt who is who.  All the while, he keeps the action moving, crisp and clear.

Pulido does an even more interesting job on his short than the remarkable pencils he gave Van Lente’s Sandman arc immediately preceding this done in one chapter of "The Gauntlet."  In the Sandman story, he walked the edge of a more common Spidey look (maybe even classic) and the Phillips-esque noir of  Azaceta’s pencils before it.  Here, the short story about Rhino’s post Civil War life looks like it could have been from the seventies or eighties.  Hollingsworth even gives it that four color pallette as opposed to the 24-bit true color of D’Auria’s coloring in the main story.

This is as satisfying as Spider-Man can get.  The "Brand New Day" era has its detractors and its fans, but there is no denying that Kelly is something special.  Like a comic writer version of Rumpelstiltskin, whenever he gets to spinning webs it turns into gold.

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