Daily Archives: October 27, 2008

Quick Critiques – Oct. 27, 2008

Amazing Spider-Man #574 (Marvel Comics)
by Marc Guggenheim, Barry Kitson & Mark Farmer

About seven years ago, writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist John Romita Jr. took on the real-world tragedy of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. With this issue, writer Marc Guggenheim and penciller Barry Kitson turn their attention to the real-world drama of American soldiers at war overseas, using Spider-Man supporting-cast member Flash Thompson as the bridge between the reality of war and the fantasy of the Marvel Universe. In theory, it’s a nice way to pay tribute to troops overseas and it’s a nice sentiment, but there’s something disconcerting about the execution of the story and characterization in this issue. Flash’s gung-ho heroism in the story seems more than a little over the top. Furthermore, Guggenheim’s effort to connect the desperate, do-or-die decisions made in war with the bright, four-color adventures of super-heroes in the Silver Age doesn’t really work. I get that we’re meant to see that Flash is inspired by Spidey’s example, and in turn, I expect that the writer is trying to show that the super-hero genre helped to shape many people’s notions of doing what’s right no matter what. Unfortunately, the comparison of those disparate representations of conflict doesn’t hold up. Kitson’s art allows the action to unfold clearly, but his style doesn’t come through as strongly here as what we’ve seen in his other projects in the past. I can’t help but wonder if inker Mark Farmer’s style wasn’t a good match for Kitson’s. 5/10

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