Amazing Spider-Man #17.1 (April 2015) Review


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Spoilers: Keep in mind that my method of reviewing involves spoilers for purposes of analysis. If you care about being spoiled and have not read Amazing Spider-Man #17.1 yet, please avoid this review until you do!!

So here we have the second issue in “Spiral”: the side story that is going on alongside the main ASM run. As suspected, this continues the plot of Spider-Man and Wraith teaming up to take down the gangs of the third precinct. The titular “spiral” is almost certainly the spiral which we see Yuri Watanabe descending down as she falls further from being a cop and a hero, and into being an immoral vigilante bent on personal vendettas. She even goes so far as to doom a judge to a death sentence that he may not deserve. After Judge Howell admits to buying drugs from Tombstone (for his wife, who is in pain), but insists that his refusal to convict Tombstone had nothing to do with that, he begs Watanabe to drop the collusion charges or else Tombstone might kill him, Watanabe responds with “Honestly, your honor? I don’t see a problem.” Ice cold.

It’s unclear how many of these issues we are going to get, but this feels very much like a “part two of four” to me. We see Watanabe still wanting to do the right thing here. She wants to stop Hammerhead and Goblin King from terrorizing her precinct, and she wants Tombstone to pay for what he did, even if the system will not allow for it. However, her morals are slipping. She has lost faith in the system that used to govern her decisions, as she tells Spidey: “’The System’ is a joke. It always was. I’m just not laughing anymore.” So she falls further into doing the wrong things for the right reasons. This is executed quite well. Better, in fact, than the first issue where the relevance of that issue wasn’t really clear. Now, I feel like I have a reason to continue reading these books. I want to see what happens with this character’s journey further into vigilantism, and see if she will come out the other side as a hero, a villain, or something in between.

Additionally, Gwen Stacy is name-dropped here as Spidey is recounting the times when he felt like a failure, as Watanabe does now. This makes me increasingly curious about the choice of Gerry Conway as the writer for this series (as does the return of the web pits on the cover, which bring about images of those early Spidey comics). Overall, I feel like Marvel wants this series to be reminiscent of those early Spider-Man comics, especially the ones focused on exorcising personal demons. If that’s the case, I am very excited to see where Gerry Conway takes this.

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