Thursday, 18 April 2013

Nostalgia Review:Spider-Man #529-#531 Mr. Parker Goes to Washington

Here we are for the first Amazing Spider-Man nostalgia review. Part of the reason why I wanted to review my back issues was to firstly to make good use of the money I spent buying them back and secondly to see the high and low points of the series and more importantly when I felt that the quality slipped that it made me sell them in the first place. I started collecting right on the cusp of the event series Civil War so it's a bit of a deep dive for people completely unfamiliar with the character but, for me it was the beginning.

Now being that this arc took place over 6 years ago I'm not going to give warning of spoilers so, with out further ado let's review The Amazing Spider-Man: Mr. Parker Goes to Washington (issues #529, #530, #531), written by J. Michael Straczynski with Art by Ron Garney (#529) and Tyler Kirkham.

These issues act as a warm up to Spidey's participation in the Marvel event 'Civil War' and whilst aren't fully needed it gives a great background for readers to fill in blanks when the Civil War tie-in issues begin.

This arc opens with Peter and Mary-Jane being woken up by Tony Stark via an intercom styled as a bird statue (it seems a few issues ago Stark ask Pete and M.J. to come live at the Avengers Tower), he announces that he has something to show Peter, this being a new Spider-Man costume as the original "was just...cloth", Stark goes through the features of the suit mentioning that it has resistance to small arm ballistics, has the ability to glide and of course an onboard computer like everything else Stark builds, at this point I'm surprised Jarvis hasn't been put into an android body yet.

Stark works on the Iron Spider Suit
Pete takes the new "Iron Spider" Suit out for a try when some thieves are trying to get away from the cops in a stolen car. We see Pete make use of the gliding as a means to bypass the fact there was nothing near by to swing a web from to get to the vehicle along with  a cool couple of pages of apprehending the ne'erdowells  along with a scene where one of the suspects tries shoots at Spidey only to have the bullet fall to the ground, the cops take the thieves into custody and Spidey swings off. The issue caps with Pete asking what the catch is for the new suit and Stark outright tells him that he needs his unwavering trust and that he needs support in Washington tomorrow when he faces a group of senators to try revoke the upcoming Super Human Registration Act.

The next two issues take place in Washington where Tony and Peter meet with a board of politicians to try talk them out of approving the Registration Act. There's a nice bit with Tony explaining he's upgraded Pete's suit over night to be able to change the physical appearance of the costume and even go invisible so that he doesn't have to worry about street clothes and it now comes with three mechanical legs that pop out of the back. This issue has some nice characterisation of politics in that the duo are doing terribly at swaying their opening with Pete even learning a thing or two about how politics work (which also teaches the reader somewhat but don't go getting your law degree based off this!). During a recess of the meeting Titanium Man who has been watching the pair since they landed strikes and tries to attack Tony with Pete stepping in as Spidey to trade punches with mechanical menace.

During the fight Titanium Man announces that the death of Stark would lead to the Bill's approval which would then result in all of America turning against it's super heroes (like Russia did apparently). Spidey uses his new extra legs to damage Titanium Man's helmet resulting in him retreating. Back in the hearing room Tony is still debating with the Politicians using footage recorded from Spidey's mask of Titanium Man's scheme to sway the result, the board retort how do you have any proof this is real? When Spidey enters and announces he was there and why the registration act would endanger his and other heroes family, unfortunately because his identity is unknown the board cannot accept his testimony proving that there maybe a need for the registration act.

The arc ends with Tony talking to Pete about how it's good that he stood up for his morals and spoke his mind and that the bill has been delayed. The epilogue shows Iron Man meeting Titanium Man and passing over a briefcase of money for successfully attack Stark and helping in swaying the boards decision to pass the bill there and then but, Titanium Man warns him that America's government may well turn on the heroes sooner than they think and that Stark will find himself collecting briefcases of money in the near future. The last pages focuses on Peter as he falls asleep in front of the TV after a hard day as the speaker announces a terrible tragedy has befallen Stamford, Connecticut and Speedball is to blame.

Pete learns about Poltics and at the same time, we do!
These three issues are a great way to gear up for Civil War Stracznyski has a great way with dialogue in that Peter feels exactly how you would expect the character to sound like an average guy but is still very intelligent. The way he captures the board room scenes with Tony and Pete being out-debated by the politicians really gives the bill some weight (as it should do with it being the cause of the upcoming event), there's also scenes of good humour which what Spider-man needs as without it there's no heart to the series. The way the epilogue sets up the next story arc is very subtle compared to other comics and it works so well as it invests you on a level of intrigue rather than a cliff hanger.

Ron Garney's art captures the world of Spider-Man very well too, Spidey looks lean but not too muscular the way he sets up panels is dynamic that it flows well when you read it and there's no confusion to what's happening. Most Importantly the design for the new suit works on many levels too, you can tell it's designed by Stark with the colour design but it's also quite minimalistic compared to the ol' red and blue whilst re-enforcing where Pete's alligence lies. Tyler Kirkham's art does the job but it doesn't quite capture the feel of Spidey's world as well but does capture the awe that the character feels when standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial extremely well.

This arc is very political based and shows a different kind of threat facing super heroes but also reminds us that sometimes we should face our own politicians and in that sense draws great comparison between the story and the reader, the art is dynamic and tells the story well and the characters are portrayed extremely well with a good few humourous bits thrown in. If you've only read Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War go back and check this precursor out as it shows interesting character development like Tony being opposed to the Registration Act but also that he would not fight against his government.

Overall I give this three-issue arc 7/10.

Come back next Time when I'll be reviewing the Civil War Arc  (#532-#538)!

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