Amazing Spider-Man 617 review- Continuing The Gauntlet storyline, ASM 617 features The Rhino (Aleksei Sytsevich). We learn that since Civil War, The Rhino has been reformed and has married a recently fired waitress named Oksana. S.H.I.E.L.D. has removed The Rhino’s costume, and he wanted to turn over a new leaf. The 2009 CBR Comic Book Writer of the Year Joe Kelly wrote this issue.
There are a handful of plots going on in Amazing Spider-Man 617:
1) The Rhino is a good guy now, and it is legit. The Rhino never had any characterization like this before.
2) There is a New Rhino, lead by Doctor Trama (Asian female super villain arms dealer). In the backup story it is revealed that Trama tried to recruit the Original Rhino, but he was done with crime and had fallen in love with Oksana.
3) Peter Parker’s relationship with Nora from Frontline heated up, while his relationship with his Latina roommate Michelle (the one he accidentally had sex with) is not headed to romance anymore, as Peter rejected her advances once again. Nora’s a blonde outgoing Enneagram Type 7 girl. She’s a reporter and Norman Obsorn had threatened her life in previous issues, so she doesn’t snoop around big stories anymore. However she and Parker wound up smack in the middle of a fight between The New Rhino and Aleksei Sytsevich working as a bouncer at a casino. Spidey eventually realizes who the bad guy is, and winds up tracking down the Original Rhino. They have a heart to heart and Spidey realizes he’s really in love and he really changed. No doubt about it, and I’m not being sarcastic.
4) Frontline boss Ben Urich asks Peter to quit his other job working with Jonah Jameson at City Hall. Urich would give Peter an extra 10% salary increase to have his services full time. Peter has to think about it because he made a commitment to Jonah- who is family now.
5) It is revealed that the daughter of Kraven the Hunter is behind the new Rhino attack on the Original Rhino, thus showing that Kravinoff is running The Gauntlet and causing lots of chaos in Spider-Man’s life. She is still holding Madame Web hostage, as well.
- The Rhino is finally likable AND relevant.
- Javier Pulido’s backup artwork reminded me of Tim Sale’s work.
- Solid issue all around- focused on characterization.
- Joe Kelly’s racism: A white gangster uses phrases like “egg roll” and “fortune cookie” to Dr. Trama. The thug also treated her like a ho by saying she needs to hit the curb because she wasted his “time and money”. This happened at the beginning and I was turned off from the start. Of course, the gangster is eventually impaled by New Rhino during his demonstration of power, but the racism really seemed out of place and-frankly- disgusting. When John Byrne wrote “Ni–er” in Fantastic Four it has a reason- the Hate Monger had returned. Here Joe Kelly inserts ignorant racist statements as a gag or an excuse for the New Rhino to be a badass and impale someone. Oooohhh, how tough.
- Peter Parker’s love life. Interestingly enough, Mark Waid totally bypassed it when he wrote the Electro storyline. Maybe Waid realizes how wrong it was for Marvel to disrespect Mary Jane…or maybe not, who knows. But Peter being a nerdy stud really does nothing for me anymore. Maybe- maybe- if I was 16 years old I would think it was cool for he and Nora to flirt with each other. But now being in my 30′s I just have no interest in Peter Parker’s sexual options. It seems like the editors are trying to make everyone give a run for Peter, kinda like how Stan Lee and John Romita, Sr added the romance angle with multiple love interests. I’m just not interested in it since Peter was already happily married and grew as a person…in what is now a previous lifetime.
- Rhino continuity and the future of Rhino: After 43 years of being a C-List brute, dumb, angry mercenary who ALWAYS loses, The Rhino is now more enlightened than Peter Parker. He’s also very Russian. Wow. Granted The Rhino’s last couple of appearances in other comic books showed he was on the verge of turning, it seems like there is no turning back now. With so many fans liking The Original Rhino as a good guy now, unfortunately the New Rhino is completely one dimensional and looks like a stock villain from Image Comics circa 1992.
Conclusion: A good addition to The Gauntlet storyline; however I happened to like the previous comics better.
Amazing Spider-Man 617 Ratings (1-10, with 10 being perfect, and 1 being poo-poo)
January 2010 publish date
Joe Quesada, Editor in Chief
Overall Comic- 6
Writer Joe Kelly- 6
Penciler Max Fuimara- 5
Penciler Javier Pulido (backup story)- 7
Color Art (For some reason ASM doesn’t use “Inker”): Fabio D’Auria- 6
Color Art (For some reason ASM doesn’t use “Inker”): Matt Hollingsworth (backup story) 6
Editors: Stephen Wacker, Tom Brevoort, Tom Brennan, Dan Buckley (Publisher)- 5
UPDATE: After I wrote this Amazing Spider-Man 617 review, I checked out the usual comic book review websites and I was shocked- completely shocked- that ASM 617 has received unanimous praise from reviewers AND message board mutants. I did some checking and it appears that Joe Kelly is THE writer of choice for Marvel fans, and he apparently can do no wrong. Most fans said that ASM 617 not only is the best issue in The Gauntlet series, but the best Spider-Man comic since Brand New Day started. As I had previously posted, my comic book reviews hardly coincide with what is said in the message boards or #1 ranking comic book review sites- my perspective is completely without Previews, peer pressure, groupthink, or expectations. I am no longer in the “comic book community”. I received feedback from a comic book writer and a comic book inker, and they both found value in my comic book reviews. ‘Nuff said, true believers.
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