Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Amazing Spider-Man #677

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Emma Rios
Company: Marvel Comics

As strange as it sounds, before getting too much into the review of this issue, I want to first take a few moments to define a certain word. In the world of comics, FUN is, it seems, a bit of a dirty word. It has the connotation of being easily dismissed or not really important, a watch-word that somehow instantly flips a switch in a person's brain that designates the comic as old school and therefore not worth their hard earned money or time. That is not my definition. My definition of the word FUN is a book that exceeds expectations, one that exudes cleverness, brandishes exciting action, and allows a reader to join in on the exploits of their favorite hero or heroine. Mark Waid understands that and meets every bit of that criteria for this issue of
Amazing Spider-Man. Hell, he does better than that, he exceeds that definition in every way possible to the point where I swear, when you're done reading this issue, you'll be smiling from ear to ear. It's that good.

But enough about definitions. The specifics to this book (and cross-over with Waid's Daredevil) are deceptively simple. The scintillating Bad Luck Charm, Black Cat, is wrongly accused of a crime and our favorite wall crawler decides to help her out by hiring her the best attorney any man could hope for: Matt Murdock. Like I said, it's deceptively simple. Waid builds the case so well. The humor for Spider-Man is so on, but not in the cheesy shtick sort of way that has become so commonplace, there's heart in his words and actions. Seeing him bound around town with vigor, dealing with this and that, speaking about being a superhero and the small things (like architecture) that you would deal with day to day in such a life is joy inducing.

Another reason that this issue works so well is that Waid doesn't makes his heroes look like chumps. They all get to do cool things in cool ways. Their actions aren't mired down in depression or darkness, there's a sense of adventure and entertainment that gets in your bones to the point where you can't help but feel energized by the antics happening on the page.

Part of the reason for said energy is indeed Waid's impeccable story, but it also has a lot to do with Emma Rios' one two uppercut of intensity in the art department. Her uncanny sense of movement and action is nothing short of dynamic. It is Marvel Style in so many ways, what with the ZIP and POW angles that suck the reader right into the story. Rios first came onto the radar with her work with Nick Spencer on the Spider-Island: Cloak and Dagger book. There's no doubt that there is a hefty influence of Paul Pope. The fluidity and attention to detail while at the same time finding a balance between that realism with a sense of kinetic-ism. Rios' style is so refreshing and provokes such a visceral and immediate appeal that it only seems likely that we'll be seeing much more from her in the days to come.

Brilliant. It's the best term other than Fun that I can come up with that aptly describes the adventure that lurks beneath the cover. Mark Waid and Emma Rios knock this one out of the park.

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