Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Amazing Spider-Man #5 Review




My Chemical Romance.


Black Cat starts her plan to take down Spider-Man even as the latter finds girl trouble wherever he goes.

Slott's writing in this issue is under par at best. The dialogues come off as hackneyed, Cat's motivations feel forced and even Silk turns bland.

Ramos doesn't do much justice to the title either, as after some good work, he lets it all collapse in this issue.

SPOILERS FOLLOW...............
 
Black Cat starts assembling her pieces to take down the Spider as she brings down The Eel, a mob boss, with a little electricity.


Meanwhile, Spiderman and Silk are….uhhh, you know, still doing what they were doing at the end of last issue – alternating between arguing over what Peter did and what they’re doing right now.

Cindy resolves that she will never go back as for one, the damage is done, and two, she wants to see the world.

Another person is entering a new world, as Jameson is exposed to the fragilities to live reporting. On his first day, he is bumped from the first segment due to an interview with a Parker Industries employee – Sajani Jaffrey.


Only Sajani is now a prisoner of Black Cat and Electro. While Sajani marvels at Cat’s hideout, Felicia intrudes upon a mob meeting and strikes a deal with Mr Li aka Mr Negative (you know, that villain from before who doesn’t matter anymore).

Anna Maria returns home after a grueling day continuing Otto’s work to find two people in spider costumes making it out on her ceiling.

After a round of trying to explain, the best reason comes out to be because Cindy and Peter were both bitten by the same spider, so their primal instincts are to mate. Of the two, Cindy is more in tune with her other side, and naturally the aggressor in the relationship.

Anna Maria comes across as the most sensible character in this entire book as she pushed past the ‘I love Peter’ phrase and is now actively trying to help continue whatever good Otto started.


That means Peter has to take Sajani’s place in the interview, with Cindy tagging along. After a meeting with his brother-in-law Jonah Jameson, things start well until Black Cat comes along.

Silk is the first to draw their attention even as Felicia says to focus on using Peter as bait. Peter’s appearance as Spider-man though is flawed as unlike Silk’s focused abilities, he is unable to dodge both Black Cat’s bad luck and Electro’s blasts.

In between, he tries to get through to Cat and even reveals to the world that Doc Ock was in his head (which Jameson dismisses as ridiculous)


One electric shock to his spine briefly incapacitates him. Even as Silk is busy with Electro, Black Cat attempts to take off Spidey’s mask in front of live television with Jameson proudly reporting the unmasking.

This was bad. Seriously bad.

Not only was it replete with clich├ęs, plot points Slott had managed to avoid before came calling in a bad way.

With Cindy’s mysterious aura gone, she comes across as the bland wide-eyed stereotype and her chemical romance with Spidey feels forced and hackneyed.

Electro has been written well though as his frequent apprehensions of Cat’s actions and his own search for a cure.

Black Cat’s motivations have been far more confusing. I think after One More Day, Cat and Peter had no physical relationships but the Felicia I knew prided the mask more than the man (the opposite of almost all other Spidey love interests).

Yet, here her moment of triumph is unmasking Spidey? There is a thematic appeal in that Felicia’s unmasking led to her fall, but that can’t undo decades worth of character build-up.

And no amount of forced logic by Dan Slott through the mouths of Mr Negative and a lowly mob boss will change that. Their taunts that the Spidey took her ‘underworld credit’ feels like Slott trying to convince us why Cat’s doing this.

Sorry, still not working.

SPOILERS END……………….

Black Cat’s return to center stage brings back all the doubts of her current actions while Silk loses her mysterious aura and becomes one more bland ally to Peter.

The artwork itself falls apart more often than not, with Ramos failing in both the intimate moments and the action itself (seriously, Anna Maria looked like a balloon in one panel).

As for Slott, juggling too much can be harmful, especially when it’s built on such flimsy grounds. This book is choking from too much plot progression!

But as this is part 5 of a 6-part arc, I’m sticking around for a hopefully better finale. If that doesn’t happen, I’m not sure I’ll continue with this book.

So, I give it 5.0 out of 10.

+Anna Maria continues to shine
+Electro is coming off as more morally ambiguous

-Black Cat’s motivations continue to fall flat
-Silk is reduced to a bland stereotype
-Too much plot stuffing
-The artwork is under par

2 comments:

  1. I have a feeling that once readers get to see Black Cat's new role in the pages of Hawkeye vs Deadpool, readers might start to question as to why the Black Cat's a villain and her motives behind it. From there, Marvel will get a lot of fan mail asking them why the writer for H vs D didn't use a better villain. To me, the idea that the Black Cat's an A-List villain will backfire on both Dan Slott and Nick Lowe. And consider how badly Slott's handled the character, the Black Cat will become a very hard sell for anyone else to use in their stories because Marvel is not short on female villains. And Spider-Man has had a lot of female villains in the past. To make the Black Cat into one will backfire on Slott badly as Alpha has: A character that's so bad that no one wants to use her.

    Here is a podcast that might hold your interest. Let me know if you agree with it.

    http://www.spidermancrawlspace.com/2014/07/24/podcast-315-amazing-1-2-and-3-review/

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    Replies
    1. It seems DC and Marvel are similar in how they're taking similar motif characters from point A to B - but with widely different quality narratives.

      Black Cat and Catwoman are both on the road from anti-hero to full time mob boss but Slott has managed to bungle Felicia by making her motives a little too underwhelming while Selina is being done with great care and time.

      Being beaten and outed by Spider-Man is not a rare issue, and I thought her identity had already been exposed multiple times before and she has rebounded.

      Infact, this is a very biased view towards the character that Slott goes the route of 'get revenge on the man' instead of crafting a new identity and moving (maybe getting a solo title along the way). The former makes her a B-list villain at best while the latter could really reinvigorate the character after a very lukewarm phase.

      Slott's handling of the Spider-Man mythos has been very up and down. While I loved what he did with Ock, I wish he spent as much thought on Black Cat. For the foreseeable future though, it seems she will be just another 'villain mob boss'.

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