The Amazing Spider-Man #796 Review

by Harlan Ivester on February 21, 2018

Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Mike Hawthorne
Inkers: Terry Pallot & Cam Smith
Colorist: Erick Arciniega

            Mild spoilers.
            Okay. So, as you could probably guess, I have some things to say about the Amazing Spider-Man #796. This is a pretty enjoyable issue with some great moments for fans and some questionable ones as well. It seems Dan Slott is trying to leave on good terms in his last few minutes on the clock, but I have my suspicions.  

            The main draw of this issue is an impromptu team-up between Anti-Venom and Spider-Man, and frankly, I’m not sure what the point of Anti-Venom’s presence is. He’s fine. He stays out of the way. But take him out of the picture entirely and he doesn’t really add anything to the beats of the story here. I also have to wonder: is it just me or does his ability to heal any wound make no sense? The way Flash got his powers, the substance that was the cause was specifically made to repel symbiotes. So, his powers should be strictly symbiote repellant. Maybe I missed an explanation for this, but it seems like the only justification for this was the previous Anti-Venom. Anywho, so Peter’s Bugle Squad is on the case at Alchemax, and it leads once again to some very cringe-inducing reporter talk between Betty and Peter. If you read the annual issue from the other week, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Does Slott think that this is just how reporters talk? Because the dialogue isn’t bad in any other part. It’s actually pretty good, for the most part. And most important…. PETER AND MARY JANE ARE BACK TOGETHER. At least sort of. Alright, so I’ve been waiting for this day as eagerly as the next guy, but I have to say, there’s a very noticeable lack of build up to their reunion. It just kind of happens. On one hand, I’m just grateful to see them back together. On the other, such a fast break up between Peter and Bobbi, followed by, “oh hey, fancy seeing you here. Let’s make out,” seems like lazy writing. As for the suspicions I mentioned previously…Maybe I’m just being cynical, but I have this terrible feeling that Slott brought MJ back into the mix so he could have the Red Goblin kill her on his way out the door. In which case, well, I’m sure I’ll have a long list of grievances in my review for that issue, but we’ll have to wait and see. I would love to be wrong on this.

            Mike Hawthorne is doing a pretty solid job on art. His faces, for the most part, are differentiated enough, and anatomy is fairly consistent and logically presented. What I really want to praise is the action sequences. They make perfect sense and are super easy to follow. I don’t think there’s ever a moment here where anyone will feel like there was a panel missing or that they skipped a page. Unfortunately, there’s not really any work here that’s going to amaze you. Spider-Man’s agility is never really taken advantage of, and so this book does feel a bit like wasted potential in terms of visual appeal. Colorist Erick Arciniega chooses to not use the color wheel to fit an atmosphere, which is fair, because the stakes aren’t too high and this point in the story, and there’s nothing that emotional going on either. Shades are instead used to help make the setting more believable throughout, which lends itself to all scenes well. It can make this book feel a bit more like watching a movie or show than reading a book, though.

            All in all, this was a perfectly decent issue. It stumbles somewhat in its rush to move the plot along in preparation for the arrival of the Red Goblin, but does a fine job in entertaining us in the meantime. The art is solid but never all that eye catching. If you’re interested in Go Down Swinging but have been uneasy about Slott’s run in general, I would say that you’re fine on holding off on this until the next issue. You’ll get along just fine and won’t miss anything too important. Except maybe PETER AND MJ.

Our Score:


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