Thursday, August 16, 2012

Retro Review: Amazing Spider-man #416

This was an odd issue, and it sort of is a good example of one of the reasons why I don't think Ben Reilly ever really worked as Spider-man. This issue is dealing with the aftermath of the Onslaught attack on New York. The cover would have you think that this issue is about Spider-man mourning the loss of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four who were all seemingly killed stopping Onslaught. In reality they were transported to a pocket dimension where they would be written by Jim Lee and drawn by Rob Liefeld, which I would argue is a fate far worse then death. Sadly, the DC heroes are suffering the same fate now.

But really this issue is a whole lot of everything, and a whole lot of nothing. It's almost nothing but sub plots, stuff with Delilah and the Rose, stuff with Peter and MJ talking about her pregnancy, stuff with the Daily Bugle downsizing, and because the clone saga was coming to a close soon, a bunch of clone saga sub plots. But very little with the actual cover story of a Heroes' Farewell. All we have on that is a couple of kids are arguing, the one saying this was all the fault of muties for killing the Avengers and FF, the other kid saying no the X-men fought along side them. Spider-man overhears this and starts telling them how assigning blame does nothing and diminishes the sacrifice of the heroes. And then a splash page of him saying how his friends will always be with him in his heart.

You would think we would get Spider-man fondly remembering the FF and Avengers with montages of his team ups with them or maybe even untold ones, but no. And you know why? Because this Spider-man didn't really have much of a history with them. This would have worked so much better with Peter and actually been a touching issue. Instead its a couple of pages of "Yeah, I'll miss those guys" and before that so many sub plots its like the writer had A.D.D.

This wasn't an awful issue by any means. But if you go into it thinking you will get what the cover promises you will be sorely disappointed. I know I was.


  1. I both agree and disagree. The issue itself wasn't particularly memorable. I think we all knew the heroes were coming back eventually, especially as we knew for sure they were alive, so any 'mourning' was hollow. See Thunderbolts for how the Heroes Reborn ramifications were done well, however.

    On the other hand, the subplot emphasis I enjoyed. The subplots had been swallowed up by Onslaught and elements of the Clone Saga so I liked them building here.

    More importantly however... you said Ben didn't work as Spidey (I think he did and he really didn't), but my reasons for thinking he didn't are different for yours it seems. Because here, you say he didn't have a history with the teams. Well, yes, he did really. If Ben had been the original, he had tonnes of team-ups with the Fan Four, and certain members of the Avengers. At this point, Cap would have told 'Peter' (he believed) that he was an admirer of his. Thor actually knew Spidey's identity which, for this 'classic' version was a big deal. And he had teamed up with most of them dozens of times back in the old MTU issues, most of which were pre-Clone Saga.

    So I think your saying they had no emotional connection is a little off base. Ultimately, it's proven true - as Ben himself hadn't really met many of them at all - but his memories told him he had, and he believed he had, which in context is what matters.

    -Jeremiah Ecks,
    also fellow Inheritor of Grace, saved by it, relishes it and is thankful for it.

    1. I'm not saying he had no emotional connection with them, he obviously had the memories of the first few years of Spidey's career. He just didn't have as much connection. I mean team ups were a little more common in comics during the 80's and 90's then during the time Ben had memories of. SO I have to imagine most of Spidey's dealings with the FF and Avengers happened after Ben was created.