Thursday, November 03, 2011

Review: Amazing Spider-Man #673 - Spider Island Epilogue

It's really easy to be cynical about major comics crossover events -- to the point that one of my good friends noted that I'd gone from never having read a comic to "these events are all about selling books no one would normally buy" in less than five years -- and even easier to see that the event has an "epilogue" issue and go "c'mon, I thought we were done with this." I honestly had that reaction in regards to the "Fear Itself" 7.x issues, but my reaction to Amazing Spider-Man #673 was completely different.

After reading 672, I didn't think we needed MORE Spider Island, but what we did need was exactly what this issue delivered: a quick wrap up of some loose ends, so unnecessary after effects of the event don't linger over the story for months to come, except when they're supposed to. I know that may not make a lot of sense, but reading the issue it makes perfect sense. Writer Dan Slott balances the end of the two-month-long Spider Island adventure -- in part by quickly addressing and dismissing the less exciting things that happen after an event like this, like the clean up or the recovery of the general populous -- with some tantalizing set up for the issues to come.

Most notably, though, Slott starts to break some cracks into the OMD wall that Marvel erected around Peter Parker more than four years ago. (SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT FORWARD)...

In ASM #673, we learn that Carlie has figured out that Peter is Spider-Man, which leads to both the end of their relationship and a startling realization for Peter. As it turns out, the spell Dr. Strange cast to make everyone forget that Peter is Spider-Man (from OMIT) only works if he doesn't reveal himself again, and because he semi-revealed himself during the events of Spider Island (not as "Spider-Man" but as a man with Spider powers, which was, obviously, pretty common during the event), people are now once again able to "figure out" that Peter Parker is Spider-Man.

Beyond that, though, the break-up of Peter and Carlie paves the way for Peter and MJ to get back together! Will that happen? Probably not, at least not immediately, but some of ASM 673's most touching moments were between the two former lovers, including the beautifully drawn final splash page (Stefano Caselli took over art duties from Humberto Ramos on this issue and did a really nice job, though I can't wait to see Ramos return to the title). For the longest time after OMD, MJ wasn't part of the book at all, and even the post #600 attempts to bring her back in were slow and measured. But in Spider Island, Mary Jane became a major part of the story, and with Carlie out of the picture, it would seem like the perfect time to give her and Peter a second shot (or third, or fourth, or... whatever, I've lost count).

Even if you're not rooting for Peter-MJ to happen (and if you're not, WHY NOT?!), ASM #673 is a great read, and one of those "can't miss" issues if you want to be prepared for big things to come in ASM. Between the Kaine conclusion, the Spider Queen fallout, the Peter relationship issues, the Dr. Strange revelation and even the Jonah/Robbie scene, there's just so much goodness packed into the issue, and I can't wait to see where Slott and Co. take the series from here.

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