Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Amazing Spider-Man [2015] #17 - Marvel Comics

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 17, October 2016
Featuring the creation of an all-new Electro in the guise of ‘super-villain collector’ Francine Frye, and focusing far more upon the exploits of “criminal-turned-superhero” the Prowler, Issue Seventeen of “The Amazing Spider-Man” is arguably a genuine ‘tour-de-force’ which surely elated the majority of its 71,159 readers in August 2016. Indeed, Dan Slott’s decision to sensationally kill off both Max Dillon and Hobie Brown within the twenty-one page periodical alone must have caused more than a few of the title’s long-term followers to excitedly exclaim in surprise; “Franchine” What did I specifically say? ‘Catch not kill!’”

Fortunately such melodramatic shock tactics aren’t the only positive points to be found within the Eisner Award-winner’s script for “Spark Of Life”, as the Berkeley-born writer literally itemises all the super-abilities Peter Parker’s spider-man stand-in owns, whether they be the corporation proprietor’s own “top notch” webware device or Brown’s personal inventions. Certainly watching the African American stealthily commit an act of industrial espionage, courtesy of wrist-magnets, suction cups, and a suit which can lower the owner’s temperature to something more brisk “all the way down to my nethers”, helps give the character’s subsequent, and almost senseless, murder, much more emotional gravitas; especially when the author momentarily allows his audience into the hero’s mind and reveals that Hobie seemingly dislikes donning the mask in order to have “something closer to a normal life.”

Slott’s supporting cast are also all well-served by this comic’s script, with Dillon and the Lizard particularly benefiting from plenty of screen time, and both proving to be little more than pitiable pawns of “a guy in a dog mask”. In fact, the duo’s earnest desperation to wield some of their past power and glory makes for compelling viewing as they submit themselves to the machinations of the Jackal, and either wind up dead having had all their genetic power sucked out of them, or, huddled in their wife’s arms following an alarmingly painful exposure to sub-zero temperatures.

Just as impressive as the storyline, is R.B. Silva’s pencilling. Packed full of detail, dynamic life and the occasional bout of quirky humour, the Brazilian’s breakdowns are impressive throughout this second instalment of “Before Dead No More”, with the artist managing to imbue the Prowler with plenty of personality before (and after) his alarming demise.
Writer: Dan Slott, Pencils: R.B. Silva, and Inks: Adriano Di Benedetto

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