Saturday, January 14, 2012

Back-Issue Review: Amazing Spider-Man #229 & 230

What a great bonus feature in that last Spidey trade. I've got a long run of old Roger Stern Spider-Man comics to read, but getting my hands on these two issues has proven pretty difficult. I'm glad I was able to finally read them.

This isn't a complicated story with lots of insight or emotion. Black Tom Cassidy and Juggernaut want to capture Madame Web to use her pre-cognitive powers to take over the world. Madame Web can see her future is in danger, and asks Spidey to help. Done. That's all the set-up we need.

The rest of the two issues are spent watching Spider-Man exhaust every tool in his arsenal against a foe so powerful, Spidey doesn't even register. Juggernaut is so far above Spidey's weight class that nothing Spidey can do even slows Juggernaut down. (One big help is the force-field aura that protects Juggernaut from a lot of the web-based attacks Spidey tries. Does Juggy still have that ability?)

I think my favorite part of this road runner-esque story is when a desperate Spidey plows a gasoline truck into the Juggernaut. Think of the peripheral damage that the usually careful Spidey sets off with such a huge attack. Roger Stern does a nice job making it seem like Spidey is truly out of options and pretty desperate. In the end, Spider-Man beats Juggernaut through a bit of luck, and I'm not sure I buy it as a dramatic conclusion. But, Juggernaut's final stubborn vows and Black Tom's shock at Juggernaut's absence makes it work. Maybe dumb luck is the only way anyone ever beats Juggernaut!

The art looks right out of my childhood, with John Romita Jr working more in the Marvel style while working with classic Spidey artist Jim Mooney. This is what Spider-Man comics look like when I picture them in my head.


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