The last two issues of The Amazing Spider-Man have seen the strongest writing on the book in months, which is odd given that its main character — Peter Parker — was relegated to the sidelines. He is back in ASM #19 and, seemingly like clockwork, the book has taken an embarrassing turn. Ham-fisted attempts to prove that he’s a snake-bitten loser abound, and tears flow because the guy with 10,000 specialized web cartridges couldn’t remember that Cartridge Seven contained “quick-drying web-cement” (as seen in ASM #6).
Here is what you need to know for ASM #19:
- Aunt May tells Peter to hurry to the hospital because her husband, Jay Jameson Sr., is getting worse with some disease that Marvel has not elaborated on. It’s just bad…and deadly…because illness.
- Peter is on his way when he hears someone scream, “Stop! Thief! That’s all my money!” Our hero turns the corner and sees two men running down the street. He webs both of them up and a shop owner yells at Spider-Man for webbing up his son (even though it was perfectly understandable to make such a mistake and the hero literally secured the guy’s entire life savings).
- Peter then inexplicably says he doesn’t blame New Yorkers for hating him.
- Everyone wants to know why Peter used New U’s technology on an employee, but he doesn’t want it applied to Jay Jameson Sr. They don’t believe him when he says that further Parker Industries research has shown that conventional methods are probably safer as long as time permits. (Again, what is the disease? Can’t Dan Slott call a doctor and do a little research for something plausible?)
- Jay privately asks Peter to go to his apartment and get a clock that was brought to America from Ireland. Jay wants to give it to his son before he dies. Peter agrees to get the heirloom.
- Peter webs the clock to his back and heads for the hospital, but a greedy industrialist’s decision to ignore safety regulations (but of course!) causes an accident. A crane comes unmoored from a building and Peter, in a Christ-like pose, must hold it in place from falling while rescue workers arrive. Aunt May calls him and berates him for taking his time. She wants to see him face-to-face on his phone, but he tells her it’s impossible at the moment.
- J. Jonah Jameson talks to the “reanimated” Marla and asks her what to do. She tells him to convince Peter to use New U’s technology on his father.
- Peter’s webbing dissolves after an hour and the clock falls from his back. He finds it later and it’s broken.
- Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson cry as perpetually tardy Peter arrives to the hospital with the shattered clock.
Perhaps the two best ways to describe ASM #19 is “forced” and “convoluted.” Characters behave in ways that are downright weird to advance the plot, and Peter is shoe-horned into situations show the tension that his secret identity imposes upon his personal life.
What makes this issues climax fall flat is the fact that for well over a year Dan Slott has pulled out numerous inventions out of Peter Parker’s butt, but for no apparent his reason his technological butt-magic disappears in ASM #19. He literally held up an entire building with web fluid in ASM #6, but now — when he really needs it — the proven technology is not even mentioned.
Heck, Spider-Man even had “web-foam” literally spin off his back on voice command in ASM #9, which protected him as he entered earth’s atmosphere. Are readers supposed to believe he wouldn’t wrap a precious family heirloom in it? Thanks for making Peter look like a total doofus, Dan Slott.
In short, you may enjoy ASM #19 if you watch bad soap operas. Readers have hospital death scenes, people coming back from the dead, a lot of tears and hackneyed writing. Tune in next month for more Mighty Marvel Mayhem, true believers, when Peter Parker needs his “acid-webbing” to save the day, but then decides not to use it!