Amazing Spider-Man # 635
Writer: Joe Kelly
Artists: Michael Lark & Stefano Gaudiano
Art Assist: Matt Southworth
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Joe Caramanga
Release date: June 23, 2010
Amazing Spider-Man has been one of the most consistently entertaining books Marvel has put out since the Brand New Day relaunch, and with Amazing Spider-Man #635 we are coming to the close of the second major story arc in the book. When Marvel changed the format of the book to the three times a month release schedule, they wisely decided to spend the first year introducing some new villains and telling the overarching story of the Spider-tracer killer. Once that story was done, the made another wise decision to refocus on some of Spidey’s more classic villains, and that’s what we’ve been seeing for the last several months with “The Gauntlet” storyline which is reaching is conclusion with “The Grim Hunt.”
After spending months fighting Electro, Mysterio, Sandman, the Rhino, and others, old Peter Parker is at the end of his rope. In this issue, he finally learns who’s been pulling the strings, as the wife and children of Kraven the Hunter make their final push to resurrect the Hunter, using Spidey’s blood. Needless to say, things don’t go well for everyone’s favorite neighborhood you know who.
This is an issue with a number of great scenes, but the best scene is the argument between Peter and Kaine, a clone of Spider-Man who has come back into his life. Kaine says that Peter does everything out of guilt, but Peter says he does it out of responsibility. The argument focuses on one of the things that make Peter Parker such a compelling and enduring character. Writer Joe Kelly shows us how much he understands what makes Spider-Man tick and it makes for a great moment in an issue that is otherwise packed with a lot of action.
Art for the issue comes from Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano, who combine to create a gritty and darker style that works well for this story, given its brutal subject matter. I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Lark’s style (it’s just not my taste) but he does a great job of telling the story, particularly in the fight scenes that open and close the issue. The moments are expertly told and the right emotion is conveyed in every page.
Amazing Spider-Man lives up to its title and is an amazing book nearly every issue. These are the kinds of stories that I remember enjoying when I first started reading comics, but there is plenty of new stuff here as well. The Spidey brain trust has used the three times a month format to tell more involved stories that take more issues to build up. Where a regular once-a-month series may take six months to tell one story, Amazing Spider-man can tell three times as many stories in the same time span, and each issue is able to stay fresh in the readers head, so the writers are able to tell stories that expand at a slower pace than a regular series would be allowed to do. The way these stories are being told only works in something that comes out as often as this does. This issue is a high point in a series filled with memorable moments, and it gets a 5 out of 5 for me. And after that last panel, I can’t wait to see how Spider-man gets himself out of this situation, but I’m sure it will be exciting.