The Amazing Spider-Man #31
SPECIAL OVER-SIZED ISSUE! IT’S THE WEDDING OF THE YEAR! Peter Parker is the best man, and Tombstone is walking the bride down the aisle! That’s right—Janice Lincoln and Randy Robertson are tying the knot, and there’s NO WAY all the crime bosses in NYC aren’t seeing this as an opportunity to off Tombstone. This story sets up our big Spider-Event of Zeb Wells and John Romita Jr.’s second year on ASM, and that’s just the HALF of it! Also in this issue: bachelor/bachelorette parties, other ASM-story preludes, glimpses of some of the biggest unannounced Spider-projects and extra bonus awesomeness! (LEGACY #925)
The Amazing Spider-Man #31 is simply more of what readers can expect from Zeb Wells, his cycle of writing kicking up once more with the empty promise of future stories being confused for something of substance, both in the main story as well as the backups. However, the return to the moment and focused stories does scratch a Spider-Man itch many may have been having as the character of Peter Parker slowly moves out of his bizarre status quo.
Getting the backups out of the way first, they’re all mostly teases for what’s to come in both this title as well as new series set to release later this year. They’re all great teases, save for one story which sets up Mary Jane’s full transformation into her superhero identity, Jackpot. Not only is the art messy, it also guts one of the most famous and deep civilian characters in comics of what partially made her so special. Being completely underpowered and kicking ass both emotionally and physically is partially why readers fell in love with MJ in the first place.
She inhabits both the superhero and civilian world, being complex and strong enough to handle both without needing to be a superhero. She’s the best of all of us, and making her yet another superhero takes away that part of the character. Her sadness over the disintegration of her children in The Amazing Spider-Man #26 falls incredibly flat, as there was no depth to her relationship with them anywhere in the pages of either this title or another since they were introduced. Furthermore, this story does very little to further or add depth to her relationship. It’s all semantics.
As for the main story, it’s both the absolute best and absolute worst of Zeb Wells’ take on Spider-Man. It features some excellent characterization and really strong street-level writing. However, its best parts aren’t the issue’s focus, as Zeb uses the up-and-coming wedding to break up Peter and Felicia in a way that was excellent, but certainly didn’t require as much page time as it did to pull off. It’s full of Zeb’s trademark decompression, but when Romita Jr.’s art is up on the page, Zeb’s on overdrive. The wedding itself goes wrong in a predictable, but at the very least entertaining way that lays the groundwork for the upcoming Gang War event. While laying the groundwork for yet another event is not exactly satisfying as a story, the momentary entertainment of reading these parts of the issue is a lot of fun. There’s an attempt to tie Pete and Felicia’s breakup in to the failure of Randy and Janice’s wedding, but it’s superficial at best. This issue would’ve hit a little harder if the themes of doomed love between both couples respectively had been propagated up a little more throughout this run, but due to its scatter shot nature, was never able to pull off.
Zeb also seeds some immediate teases for the following Kraven arc, which itself will springboard Gang War, and it’s admittedly pretty well tied together. It’s hinging on Ashley Kafka’s recent background machinations. This issue is very promising, but we’ve been here before with Zeb and this title. Whether or not the promising and mature characterization seen in this issue will continue into the book’s mostly exciting future.
For the rest of the issue, Dan Slott and Mark Bagley provide a standard quo tease at the upcoming return of Otto as the Superior Spider-Man, with a couple of excellent standalone short stories thrown in for good measure. All the art in this book ranges from okay to great, Joe Caramagna the sole letterer on this giant issue and killing every page of this book with excellent lettering placement.
The Amazing Spider-Man #31 has a lot going on, and as a set of stories don't offer much interms of satisfying themes, but continues to make shortsighted promises that may turn into something great, but as the record shows, promises from this title will unlikely become anything worthwhile.
The Amazing Spider-Man #31: Love, Neverlasting
- Writing - 6/106/10
- Storyline - 6/106/10
- Art - 7.5/107.5/10
- Color - 7.5/107.5/10
- Cover Art - 4/104/10
User Review( votes)