Amazing Spider-Man #320
Issue(s): Amazing Spider-Man #320
The issue opens with Peter Parker having designed some new webbing for himself that is so strong that he can't even smudge it with an acetylene torch.
Later, he goes swinging around and happens to notice some bodies outside an Eat Well Caterers building. He goes to investigate and finds the Paladin. Here's the very restrained reveal.
Ok, that is followed up with some giant splash panels.
Spider-Man tries to pursue Paladin, but his new webbing turns out to be too stiff to break off while he's swinging.
But after Paladin leaves, Spider-Man starts wondering why a caterer's business had so many armed guards, and he finds that the caterers are going to be serving at a party at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.
Peter Parker then heads home to Mary Jane for over a page's worth of cheesecake.
Peter gets MJ to hook them up with an invite to the party. And once they are there, Peter spots Paladin in civilian clothes and follows him out to a construction site in Brooklyn. Spider-Man sees Paladin threatening another man with a gun and steps in, and then suddenly there's an attack by an army of "paramilitary types". The soldiers are armed with "mini-tanks".
T-90s are a real thing and despite being "mini" they weigh more than 45 tons according to Wikipedia. I only mention this because there's Paladin shrugging off their shots thanks to his Kevlar armor, and here's Spider-Man throwing them around.
When the paramilitary troops are cleared out, Paladin criticizes Spider-Man for letting the people he was after get away, and then Silver Sable shows up in a helicopter.
It turns out that Sable's country of Symkaria is the target of a conspiracy. The people Paladin was after, one of whom is Carlton Drake, a criminal businessman that Spider-Man met before, had information about the conspiracy, but of course Spider-Man interrupted Paladin's opportunity to learn anything. To make up for his blunder, Spider-Man offers to work for Silver Sable for free on the conspiracy matter. Sable agrees but says that for now she needs to go back and do more research, so Spider-Man is dropped off in Queens.
A subplot scene earlier in the book has Aunt May nervously hovering around the phone while Mary Jane is on a call with Harry Osborn about helping move the Osborns into their new apartment in the city next Saturday, and then at the end of the issue, the morning after the events of the rest of the issue, Peter picks up the phone and hears a doctor telling Aunt May that, "The heart disease is in quite an advanced stage. I'm sorry, but I'm afraid six months is all we can hope for.".
I don't know, it almost seems cute for David Michelinie to be attempting anything besides simple one and done stories with the amount of content Todd McFarlane can fit into a single issue, but he's actually doing a decent job, even building off of previous stories in this series. On the other hand, not long ago the misunderstanding that comprises this entire issue would have served for the first few pages of an issue of Marvel Team-Up, and we're not getting any more characterization in return for our decompression, just bigger panels and Mary Jane wanking material.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: Spectacular Spider-Man #155 begins the same day that Peter overhears the phone call between Aunt May and the doctor here.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Spider-Man Legends vol. 3: Todd McFarlane Book 3 TPB
Inbound References (5): show
"Mary Jane wanking material"...what's wrong with that? She doesn't seem the type to mind. *rimshot*
Posted by: Bill | October 22, 2014 7:49 PM
When I first read the cliffhanger, I thought they were making it too obvious that Nathan was dying and not May. Anyone else feel that way?
Posted by: Michael | October 22, 2014 8:43 PM
I was an idiot when I first read these four or five years ago so I figured Aunt May was once again approaching death's door. Naturally Peter was going to save her without having to resort to a demon just yet.
I remember they collected McFarlene's stuff in trades amongst this were the six issues of the Assination, sorry FIVE issues. They left out the penultimate issue because it was drawn by someone else. Jack asses!
Posted by: david banes | October 22, 2014 9:11 PM
I've noticed you don't have much to review on this book. The book is turning into just pages of pin-ups. We're entering the age of artists becoming stars and storytelling gets thrown at the wayside. I must admit, that the book in terms of story and art is going downhill since Todd took over art duties.
Posted by: JSfan | October 23, 2014 4:47 AM
The Assassination plot was the first real attempt at a decent story by Michelnie in ASM. It shows that he could write well when he wanted to. Although each issue feels more like a MTU issue. Its not a great plot for Spider-man (I think it might have worked better in IM or somewhere) but its a good story that somehow snuck into ASM.
The usual Macfarlane comments apply. (Isnt it interesting how the size of Paladin's goggles change from panel to panel. It must be nice not to give a sh*t about proportions. Art lessons are for sissies.) But with a multi-part story Todd has extra pages to get his rocks off.
Posted by: kveto from prague | October 23, 2014 3:05 PM
I can appreciate the attempt at a continuing storyline by Michelinie, but this turned into one of my least-favorite Spidey storylines ever. McFarlane's art has lost all of its charm at this point, and the kind of bloodshed that Spidey has to look the other way for in the course of this plot is just ridiculous.
Posted by: TCP | October 28, 2014 9:42 AM
This storyline was announced in some fanzines under the name "The Symkarian Triangle".
Posted by: Mark Drummond | February 23, 2015 11:44 AM
"T-90s are a real thing and despite being "mini" they weigh more than 45 tons according to Wikipedia. I only mention this because there's Paladin shrugging off their shots thanks to his Kevlar armor, and here's Spider-Man throwing them around."
Clearly they got the cheap knock-off versions of the mini-tanks.
Posted by: clyde | July 17, 2015 10:15 AM
I'm not sure Todd bothered to find reference material for that T-90. I wonder if they added the "mini tanks" bubble when they saw the panel of Paladin taking a direct hit.
Posted by: MindlessOne | June 1, 2017 9:26 PM
Think we just have to assume the speaker was confused with the "T-90" reference. There were mini-tanks that Spider-Man could perhaps have lifted, such as the PT-76 which weighs 14 tons.
Even then you have to squint a bit and pretend that Spider-Man was using a lot more effort than McFarlane seems to depict, maybe he only lifted it above his head for a split second, but still it works better without the T-90 reference being there.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | May 31, 2018 3:40 AM
This will sound weird, but it really bothers me that Peter (as a brilliant scientist) would not properly test all the ins and outs of his new webbing *before* using it in a dangerous and unpredictable scenario. Either Pete is so arrogant that he will assume all should be fine, or he’s lazy, or a combination of both. At any rate, he literally puts his life in his hands with the webbing, so waiting until a life-threatening situation to see if the new stuff works seems highly irresponsible at best.
I dunno, aside from McFarlane’s art (which I somehow love and hate all at once) that whole rushed experiment seems pretty dumb. The scientific method as told by an artist, one would assume.
Posted by: Paul Peterson | June 2, 2018 3:06 PM
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