The “Gauntlet” storyline in “Amazing Spider-Man” has been going on for a while now, and many of the classic Spider-Man villains have been re-imagined or, at the very least, revisited. While the Rhino may be my absolute favorite among Spidey’s foes, I’ve always thought the Lizard (or Lizard-Man as I called him when I was younger) was among the coolest characters ever created. Sure, he tends to be a bit of a one-note character, but the visual is so much fun. After all, what’s not to love about a guy who looks like a super-creepy crocodile?
Bachalo’s take on the lizard is derived more from iguanas that any crocodilian. That doesn’t make the Lizard any less creepy once Connors finally “lets the cold one out.” As a matter of fact, the heavily-stylized art of Chris Bachalo makes the Lizard appear mangled, deformed, and monstrous — like a reptilian/human Frankenstein’s monster.
Wells sets up the transformation nicely, providing lots of dialog between Curt Connors and his “other self.” That dialog provides insight as to who is really in control in the Connors/Lizard relationship, and the end of this issue confirms that.
Additional interplay occurs between the many romantic interests of Peter Parker as he swings (literally) with Black Cat and has lunch (finally) with Carlie. The weird Aunt May development continues, but doesn’t seem as funny as it may have been intended.
This isn’t the greatest issue of “Amazing Spider-Man” that I’ve read in the last few years, and I cannot really define the “why.” Bachalo’s art is good, action scenes and page layout are definitely his strengths, but Peter Parker seems to be distantly related to Reed Richards during the conversation over lunch with Carlie. Wells’ story is decent — somewhat telegraphed, but not without surprise. The Lizard is set to hang around for a few more issues, and I’m interested to see where the rest of this story takes him.
To this point, the end result is familiar, but the details along the way have changed a bit. After all, how many times has the Lizard ruined Curt Connors’ life? I hope from here we find a new path, with more new details for this story to help avoid predictability.