Setting the tone from the recap page, Kelly’s Spider-Man seems a little more jerky than I’m accustomed to. Tack on the fact that he’s whining and behaving almost irrationally about Norman Osborn’s current power trip and Kelly puts himself in a writing hole. I get that Osborn’s a turd and Spidey thinks he should be taken down, but for Spidey to actually engage in a conversation with Wolverine about the mere possibility of killing Osborn just seems way out of character. Almost as out of character as Spider-Man selling his soul to the devil. What? He did? Oh, well that changes everything.
The meat of this story is in the conversation held at Gracie Mansion, featuring all of the key players and none of the costumes or masks. J. Jonah Jameson’s dad is betrothed to Pater Parker’s aunt (yes, Aunt May) and the happily engaged couple have asked their boys to join them for dinner. Oh yeah, Pete brings Harry Osborn too, and (I don’t consider this to be a spoiler since it’s telegraphed in the story) Norman Osborn shows up, hoping to mend fences with his prodigal son. Of course, JJJ is hot to press the flesh and spend some time with Norman, but after Harry makes a hasty retreat, the rest of the festivities are at a loss.
This does, however, compel Spidey to act even more out of character, chasing Norman down and ripping him from the elder Osborn’s limousine in the middle of traffic. After which, Spidey proceeds to whip Norman around like a rag doll in some half-baked, borderline ludicrous homage to the beatings Green Goblin once put upon Parker. It does, however, make for some beautiful art by Jimenez, but then again anything from Jimenez and his inking pal, Andy Lanning, tends to be on the greater side of good.
While I understand the general gist of the storyline here — with Spider-Man so completely fed up at Norman Osborn’s ridiculous ability to trip into happy circumstances — Spidey seems fueled by a rage that is radically out of character on more than one occasion. I could understand all of the near insanity directed towards Norman Osborn, but in this instance, it just makes Parker and Spidey both look foolish. Maybe there was a tipping point I missed, but if that tipping point was simply Osborn being handed the keys to the H.A.M.M.E.R. kingdom and leading a squad of pseudo-Avengers, Spidey has certainly encountered worse that would have made him snap before this.
“Amazing” has been an enigma to me. Just when I expect to be disappointed, it elates me and the issues (like this one) that I have high hopes for are frequently deflated. I understand a great deal of that is driven by the writer, but there seem to be enough safeguards in place to preclude this from being a regular occurrence. Hopefully as “American Son” marches one we’ll get a more solid foundation for Peter’s insane actions, but until then, I might just resort to looking at the pretty pictures.