Amazing Spider-Man #568 Review
Amazing Spider-Man #568 review by Donna Jackson
Written by Dan Slott and Mark Waid
Art by John Romita, Jr. and Adi Granove
If you're like me and have stayed away from anything Spider-Man because of the confusion brought upon by J. Michael Straczynski and his One More Day storyline, now is a good time to see what the book has been up to. To my surprise, it's pretty good. Sure, there's nothing particularly groundbreaking about Dan Slott's 'New Ways to Die'. It uses known Spider-Man foes as its main antagonists, and new villains introduced in Brand New Day only play a minor roll. Maybe this is how it should've been from the beginning. No brooding in this Spider-Man; just a good story with great art and an intriguing set-up.
After a quick and completely unnecessary recount of Spider-Man's origin, we find Peter Parker in his usual role as an unemployed, full-time hero. Never having been married to Mary Jane Watson, and no longer working for the Daily Bugle and its new tabloid-loving owner, Dexter Bennett, Peter is struggling for money, even after taking photos of his fight with the newest goblin in New York. Still looking to score cash for his pictures, he takes them to rival paper The Front Line, known for their extensive coverage of the Marvel Civil War and World War Hulk. The photos reveal a scandal in the mayor's office involving an illegal sweatshop in his city. With his political career on the line, Mayor Crowne asks his old friend and leader of the Thunderbolts Norman Osborne to use his new, popular status with his group of Supervillains to clean-up his mess, and quick.
Also included in this issue is an extra story dedicated to the original Venom, Eddie Brock. With his appearance in both plots and his new origin miniseries, Marvel seems to have big things in store for him. Unlike Eddie's Year One book, Mark Waid is actually able to make Brock into a complex, sympathetic person. Suffering from cancer as a result of the Venom symbiote, Eddie can no longer pose a threat to anyone. Chemotherapy has left his body haggard and weak, with the occasional urge to let his inner monster fly out, such as when he loses his temper while working at a local homeless shelter. It's incredibly interesting to see this hero in his new frail body, and despite what you may think of the character, it could be argued that this added extra comes close to surpassing Dan Slott's main story. I would love to see what Waid could have done with the Venom: Dark Origin book out in stores now. He might have been able to make it more readable.
I don't remember the last time a book chose two artists who could perfectly capture the mood of their respective stories like John Romita, Jr. and Adi Granov in this issue.If you follow Marvel, Romita needs no introduction. You've surely seen his work gracing the pages of Kick-Ass and World War Hulk. Adi Granov is somewhat less known, but his dark, realistic tone sets the mood perfectly for Eddie Brock's sad tale. Plus he draws a very cool Venom. His art was great in Iron Man: Extremis and its great here too. If this was the first story after One More Day, you could almost make a valid argument that the ridiculous reboot was almost worthwhile. You won't need to know much about Spider-Man or his current situation to enjoy this book. Older fans will enjoy the return to a happier, albeit single, Spidey, and new ones will recognize classic villains like Norman Osborne and Eddie Brock, and may be curious to know the story behind their new status in the Marvel Universe. Congratulations to Slott, Waid, Romita, and Granov for making Spider-Man 100% readable again. After One More Day, many thought it was an impossible task.