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Review Group Amazing Spider-Man #597

Written by John Martin on Tuesday, June 16 2009 and posted in Reviews
Sire v 2.0 had the pick for new comics shipping June 10th and he selected Amazing Spider-Man #597 by Joe Kelly and Marco Checchetto.

The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s Newstand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.

We've read lots and lots of Joe Kelly books here at the Review Group over the last year.  I Kill Giants, Four Eyes and an earlier issue of Amazing Spider-Man and the results have been overwhelmingly positive, but middle of the arc issues can be a dicey proposition.  How has Kelly fared this time out?

Review by amlah6

There's a lot to like in this issue, but at the same time with it being mid-arc the majority of the setup is already in place and it's not quite to the climax yet either. I think Kelly has a really strong sense of Peter's and Harry's voices, but some of the stuff with the Dark Avengers felt a bit flat. I haven't read any of those characters since Ellisbolts so that might just be me though. The big Spidey/Daken fight in this felt pretty lame, but that's mostly because Daken seems pretty lame. I do however think it's a nice touch to apparently be bringing back Doctor Octopus just in time for May's wedding.

It feels like in the last two issues, the editors are trying to keep the look and feel consistent to what Phil Jimenez established in the first issue of the arc which is good, but Marco Checchetto is certainly no Phil Jimenez. The art here is adequate even if it starts to feel more than a bit rushed with those last couple of pages. Nothing bad enough to complain about, but nothing to praise either.

Story: 8
Art: 6
Overall: 7

Review by BubbaKanoosh

I liked this book, wasn't great, the art was ok, not as good as Phil Jimenez in the first issue. And frankly, I feel somewhat annoyed that we only got one issue of Spidey outta him. As for the story, I really do not care about the baby situation that Harry is in, I was more interested in the Spidey stuff that’s going on. I kinda figured that Norman would've figured out that wasn't the real Venom once he tried to save him, and all the questions being asked to him. The ending was a little lame knowing Spidey will make it outta it somehow. The whole American Son thing is not what I expected, and should be damn interesting how this turns out.

The part I loved the best was the Ock tease, I wanna see him crash a wedding. YAY!!

Story: 7
Art: 6
Total: 6.5

Review by 48THRiLLS

So this will be the 2nd Spidey book I have read since OMD... and this satisfies my fix till someone else picks this down the road. This was ok, I am glad the Osborne Avengers were in this ish, it was fun seeing Spidey trying to act evil. I was a bit lost on the whole Harry stuff but whatevs... and what’s with the pheromones? Where did that come from ...can Daken spray spunk? I know nothing about the dude. Overall a pretty above average comic, the art was about as good as the issue itself, nothing grand but it didn't hurt my eyes either. I like Spider-Man fine just not 3 times a month.

STORY - 7.5
ART - 7.5

Review by Mr_Batman

So I literally just read this at my LCS because of the fact that they didn't have the second part. Couldn't buy it. Anyways, the premise of the story is good, but not necessarily executed correctly. I love how Peter is pretending to be Venom, but the fight with Daken was a little lame. (And I'm with everyone else on the Doc Ock tease). The art was decent, not the best, not the worst. And the ending was extremely anti-climatic because you know he's not dead. Anyways, an ok issue.

Story- 7.5

Review by doombug

So this arc has been great so far and has really shown off why I love Joey Kelly as much as I do. But it hit a misstep with Harry doing his best heel turn and Norman apparently shooting Peter in the head. Obviously the latter can’t really be true.

The fight between Pete and Daken was awesome as well as Peter doing his best to act evil. I call major bullshit on Norman claiming he knew it was Spidey the whole time.

A solid 8, really not liking Harry over all right now.

Review by Daringd

I enjoyed the hell out this issue! After the last issue Spidey became Venom and infiltrated The Dark Avenger’s base. Kelly gives what I think is one of the all time greatest lines I’ve ever read in a comic “The only real advantage of posing as Venom (is) I can swear in public without it winding up on Youtube” I couldn’t help but bust out laughing. The fight between Spidey and Daken was made even more enjoyable by Spidey’s wonderful jokes. The ending has me really excited for the next issue and Harry’s storyline is actually becoming really good as well.

It's also my book of the week

Review by starlord

Solid issue in my opinion. Still enjoying the way things have been going in this book, lately. Although I want MJ back!!! Has anyone mentioned the Doc Ock tease? It was the best moment in the book.

I don't like Wolverine Jr. at all and is really the second weakest character they've come up with in the last ten years. However, I did enjoy the banter that Peter kept up during the battle. If he wasn't striking physical blows, he got him with a couple of verbal.

The art was just as solid as the writing. This issue is everything that is right with Spider-Man and wrong with it, at the moment. The stories are good to great, the art has been very easy on the eyes, but at the end of the issue I can't help but still wonder: "And they couldn't tell this story with a married Peter because...?"

And for all of you that are now screaming for me to get over it - I've entered a twelve-step program.

Story: 7
Art: 7
My Score: 7

Review by Punchy

Story - Spider-Man is in an odd place at the moment, as I suppose you all know, even though it's been over a year, the One More Day shit-storm is still going on in forums all over the internet, it seems that any discussion of the character has to somehow go back to that story and the character of Mary Jane. And to be honest, it's getting a little tiresome, I've been one of BND's biggest supporters, I like MJ, but I like a single Spider-Man just as much, so from here on out, this review will not be about One More Day, or MJ, or how Spider-Man may or may not be broken and a villain, it will be about the current blockbuster arc, American Son, which I am enjoying a lot, and this middle chapter is no exception. Joe Kelly and Marco Checchetto do good stuff here.

Ever since Brand New Day began, there have been a few 'tent pole' arcs, where big shit goes down, ASM is the continuing soap opera of Spider-Man's life, and these arcs are feature length specials. New Ways To Die was the first story like this, with Spider-Man facing off against the Thunderbolts, and Character Assassination was the second, where the Spidey Brain-Trust wrapped up a year's worth of stories, who is Menace? Who will be Mayor? Who is the Spider-Tracer Killer? American Son is the third such story, and is in many ways a successor to these previous arcs, it features the return of Norman and his team, now no longer the Thunderbolts, but the Avengers, and also a continuation of Lily Hollister's story as Menace. These 2 plots mesh together well, as they are connected through one man, Norman Osborn. This arc marks the beginning of Amazing Spider-Man's tie-in to Dark Reign, and it makes sense, Norman is Spidey's big bad and it's always fun to see them square off, especially now the balance is tipped so far in Ozzie's favour. Joe Kelly writes a strong Norman, repeated references to 'sheep' show his sense of superiority, and his understated malice.

The plot of this issue is simple, Spider-Man is undercover as Venom in Avengers Tower, trying to save Harry, while Harry is himself trying to save Lily, who is pregnant with his child. Spidey's efforts to impersonate Venom are a highlight of the issue, he is able to be much cruder and it's interesting to see our hero act in such a way. Joe Kelly is a very clever writer here, and it shows, on the first page, when Spider-Man swears, I thought, hmmm, that's odd, Spider-Man never swears, and then, in the very next panel, Kelly addresses it, good stuff. This is a different kind of thing than we're used to from Spider-Man, it really shows the lengths Dark Reign has driven him too, what he's willing to do because Norman is in power. But he still remains Spider-Man, he wasn't willing to let that monster kill him, and he's still funny, that whole Julia Roberts riff, was good stuff, Kelly is one of the best current writers for Spider-Man's type of humour. Spider-Man's fight with Daken, Wolverine's son was also very strong, I don't know much about Daken at all, except he's got a Mohawk and is kind of lame, but this was a good fight, he held his own against Spider-Man, and the use of pheromones led to some interesting artistic choices. Maybe I've judged Daken too harshly up until now, maybe he's a good character?

Harry's arc is also very interesting, his return was quite controversial, but I'm glad to have him back, he's one of Spider-Man's strongest supporting character's, he's just such a fuck-up, but he means well, and the current Spider-Man writers have certainly put him through the mill, his Fiancée is a super-villain, his dad rules the world, he relapsed into alcohol, and now this. Kelly writes a very strong Harry, he's using his ingenuity, and he's trying to save someone he loves. But he's also under the hold of his dad, the final scene, where he sides with Norman over Spider-Man has very interesting consequences, and I don't know where the character will go from here, will he become American Son? Who knows. That whole final scene was excellent, and quite surprising, first Harry reveals that it's the real Spider-Man, then Hawkeye fires arrows into his legs, disabling him, and then Norman shoots him in the head! Now obviously Spider-Man isn't dead, obviously his Venom suit is bulletproof or something, but it was still a good way for an issue to go out, and left me wanting the next issue very badly.

But this issue wasn't just all Norman, all the time, we get to spend some time with Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson Senior as they plan their wedding, and tease the return of a certain classic Spider-Man foe, that tease was very compelling, the whole 'something terrible/something great' bit was sinister as hell. Can't wait for #600, where Doctor Octopus will get his return to the big time.

Overall, this was a typically strong issue of Amazing Spider-Man, Joe Kelly is a perfect fit for the character, all the humour is there, but there is a darker edge, as should be expected with Dark Reign! Norman is perfect, Harry is interesting, and the stakes are amped up as high as they can go. Top that off with a surprising last page, and a tease for Doc Ock, if you've been following Spider-Man, you're sure to enjoy this one too.

Art - Marco Checchetto is an artist I'm unfamiliar with, but he does an able job filling in for Phil Jimenez. He has the fluidity that's needed for Spider-Man, and his facial expressions are good, particularly on Harry and Norman, I thought he did a good job of differentiating the two, despite their ridiculous hair. I mentioned before how his art helped the Spider-Man/Daken fight a lot, he used a lot of close-ups, making the reader as disoriented as the character was, good stuff. There were a few problems, like one pose where Spider-Man's legs looked all bulbous, but overall it was very strong, I wouldn't be averse to seeing him do plenty more work on the character.

Best Line - 'Thus, Norman Osborn shows me the only real advantage of posing as Venom... I can swear in public without it winding up on YouTube'.


Review by Chubbles

Solid issue, not spectacular but definitely moved the story along at a decent pace. I liked the fight between Spidey and Daken. Joe Kelly is hands down one of my favorite writers and he mixes in humor perfectly much like he has done with Spidey in the past and his past experience with Deadpool. The art left a little to be desired but was still pretty solid. I'm not sure why they are changing artists it seems with every issue of this arc but Kelly's writing is pulling them through. Cliffhanger was solid also although there's a 99.99999 percent chance the venom suit probably saved him or something like that.

Story 8.25
Art 6.75
Overall 7.5

Review by thefourthman

Joe Kelly writes an amazing comic. He has all the touches right, there is adequate foreshadowing like when Norman tells the Avengers that he knows where his enemies are. You know he knows that Spidey is there at that point, even if Checchetto isn't quite up to the scripts chops.

I am confused over the pheromone stuff, did that come from Daken our Sprinklers in the ceiling? If it came from Daken, what? If it came form the ceiling, why? Maybe the idea is to show that Osborn and his cronies have figured out every angle. Is Menace in on all this, is it a show to get Harry where Norman wants him? How deep is the conniving here?

The big cliffhanger was a shock and took me aback. Problem is, with the parade there was for the somewhat inconsequential and expected return of Steve Rogers, are we supposed to believe that Marvel kept mum about 598 being the biggest event in Spider-Man, well, ever? Maybe Steve is gonna be the new Spidey and that is why everyone will want Reborn.

The art looks like some Marvel colored IDW/Boom house art. That's not a good thing. Then again Jimenez hasn't exactly been rocking his Spider work either. If I were more interested I would go pull out his old issues and Swing Shift and see if it is an inker or coloring problem, but I don't care enough and this guy isn't even as good as that sub par work. Disappointing really, amateurish at best.

Spidey has been great for a while and this story has been awesome, but this issue feels like a bit of decompressed nonsense with no real meat to it. Solid book, not spectacular or amazing.

Story 7
Art 4
Overall 6 (weighting the story a little heavy for this one, cause it isn't Kelly's fault he got handed a fill in artist)


Review by guitarsmashley

uggggg I have no clue what kind of score this gets. It's mid arc but for me it's mid arc for the last 50 issues. It had moments. This issue wasn't so much a story as it was moments of several stories and some of the moments made sense and others not so much. The Dakken fight...I know more or less but who the fuck is Dakken? The clever banter was alright. But ultimately the issue suffered from having way too much going on and none of it making sense to a casual reader which I understand since no casual reader in their right mind would pick up an issue labeled 3 of 6. My biggest question, this Menace thing, Ok so I'm assuming she's some kind of weird goblin thing and Harry fucked her(doubt it) why is she walking around in her costume? Wouldn't you I don't know take it off? Maybe wear some street clothes to go with your jew horns? It's ok I'm J double o I can say these things. It was bad ass when Bullseye shot spiderman through the thighs but it was weak when Norman shot him a tranquilizer dart you know why? Because next week Spiderman #598 comes out.

Lets talk Art. It was adequate but not very good. The whole point of having a flagship book like Spiderman is to have flagship artists draw it...oh wait thats right they can't because it's a weekly series.

Overall I give this issue a 4 for effort but still not very successful for me.


Review by SuperginraiX

The only thing that made no sense to me was that Harry was giving his Dark Avengers a key tour into the American Son labs. I didn't think he trusted them enough to walk him all the way through what he's going to do with his son until I realized that he's not talking to them. He's doing this all for the sake of Spider-Man. He's bragging and it's awesome. The bored look that the rest of the Dark Avengers are giving him is because they don't care at all. Only Spidey cares.

So, yeah, the writing is top notch. I'm loving the subplots. I'm a little creeped out by Menace and her having Harry's baby (if that's actually true... jury's still out). Dialogue during the Dakken fight made me laugh and repeat it to my wife (who humored me by laughing too). It's also a great cliffhanger where, yes, we know Peter's still alive-- we just want to know how.

The art is the weakest so far in this storyline. It's serviceable but nothing to write home about. I actually prefer the artist for part two (Paulo Siquiria?) to Jiminez's art in part one so it's all sorts of messed up.

Anyway, the story was the highlight and the art got us from place to place.

Amazing Spider-Man #597, I give you an 8. Get a better artist and I'll make it worth your while. Wink


That gives Amazing Spider-Man #597 a group score of 7.19. Apparently Daken's pheromones had little or no effect... except for the part where we mentioned they were lame.  We did mention that Daken's pheromones were lame, right?

For further discussion about this issue and other assorted whining, feel free to join us in this week's thread found in the Newstand forum where you are also invited to join the group by posting your own review.

MrBlack has the pick for June 10th and he has made the ever so controversial selection of Transformers Spotlight: Cliffjumper from IDW.  Look for the new fun filled thread ( after it becomes available Wednesday morning to join in on the fun.  We also have a bonus thread running this week for Captain America #600.  Assuming a comic shop near you actually has the book early, make me completely jealous by posting your own review here:

Transformers Spotlight: CLIFFJUMPER

Written by Shane McCarthy and Denton J. Tipton
Art by Robbie Musso

Pursued by Decepticons and stranded on a backwater planet, Cliffjumper finds peace among the natives. But his new, simple life is shattered by a devastating tragedy.



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