Monday, March 24, 2014

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #424 - June 1997

Then Came…Elektra
Credits:  Tom DeFalco (writer), Joe Bennett (penciler), Bud LaRosa & Ralph Cabrera (inks), Bob Sharen (colors), Comicraft (letters)

The Plot:  Elektra discovers Hand ninjas in New York and learns that they’ve arrived to kill the rogue True Believers clan.  Elektra searches for the True Believers and crosses paths with Spider-Man.  Meanwhile, a hit is placed on Dragonfly and her cousin Angela due to Dragonfly’s failure to kill Robbie Robertson.  Spider-Man and Elektra aid Dragonfly against a group of True Believers led by the assassin Yano.  After defeating them, Elektra urges Dragonfly to do what’s right.

The Subplots:  Spider-Man’s headaches continue.  He snaps at Aunt Anna when she walks in on him as he’s changing outfits, but he quickly apologizes, blaming the headache.  At the Daily Bugle, Jonah announces he’s leaving town with his wife.  Robbie assumes he’s leaving due to a potential threat from the True Believers.  

Web of Continuity:  And, yet again, the vertigo seen in the other titles is described as “headaches” in Amazing.

I Love the ‘90s:  Spider-Man claims that his head is going to erupt like Dante’s Peak.  Later, he asks Elektra if she's in town for a Xena convention.

How Did This Get Published?:  Most of the dialogue amongst the True Believers is straight out of a poorly dubbed 1970s martial arts movie, but there’s also this piece of smooth exposition from Jonah:  “I love how you (Robbie) tied these ridiculous-looking assassins to that Black Tarantula creep who’s been trying to muscle into the New York crime scene.”

Review:  More Green Ninjas!  More out-of-place martial arts action!  More Joe Bennett!  More languishing subplots!  Less Peter Parker, actually doing anything interesting!  Okay…in fairness, I can understand why Tom DeFalco thought pitting Spider-Man against a ninja clan could be a novel challenge for the hero, but I don’t understand why he felt we ever needed more than one issue of it.  And dragging in Elektra, apparently because her name almost sounds like "Electro" (it’s a joke in the issue), doesn’t do the story any favors.  She’s a hero during these days, non-lethally taking out the Green Ninjas and dispensing moral platitudes to Dragonfly, a character that remains a dull stereotype.  Spider-Man vs. the Frank Miller Elektra would’ve been fun.  Spider-Man teaming up with sanitized Elektra, now in her own monthly series?  Nah.

And what does Spider-Man get to do in the story?  He gets to complain about being drawn into more fights that really have nothing to do with him, then throws a tantrum when he reflects on how Electro humiliated him last issue.  Thankfully, this issue’s guest star, reformed master assassin Elektra is there to calm him down.  That’s what passes for an emotional arc now.  DeFalco’s post-clone run on this book really did have a promising start, but it’s depressing to see how quickly it’s gone downhill.  Amazing Spider-Man should not be running issue after issue of bombs, especially leading up to an anniversary issue.

1 comment:

Matt said...

I agree, Amazing was definitely my least favorite of the four titles at this time (though I liked Bennett's art back then). But I shouldn't be anyone's arbiter of taste, because Mackie's Peter Parker was usually my favorite.

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