Review: Amazing Spider-Man #677 by Mark Waid and Emma Rios

Amazing Spider-Man #677
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Emma Rios and Javier Rodriguez

The short of it:

The Parker luck continues as Pete copes with the collapse of his latest romance. When his old flame Black Cat crosses his path, he turns on the rebound charm only to be rejected out of the gate. Unfortunately, his desperation to get some play from Ms. Hardy overrides his superheroic common sense: the Black Cat’s power is hex you with bad luck. Just what Spidey needs, right?

No sooner has Felicia shrugged off Spidey and returned home than she’s arrested for the theft of a prototype holographic projector from Horizon Labs, Spidey’s employer. All signs point to a frame up. Or so our Axe-ridden romantic hero wants to believe.

Still a sucker for his ex (oh, and the whole responsibility thing), Spidey seeks legal counsel from his old buddy Matt Murdock aka Daredevil. Of course, their particular brand of legal counsel involves swinging across the skyline and dishing out beatings. Meanwhile, Felicia escapes her bonds.

It all comes to a cliffhanger that will be resolved next week in Daredevil #8.

Awesome:
* Emma Rios on art is spectacular. I enjoyed Cloak and Dagger and Firestar work, among other things, and she’s a fantastic fit for this tale. New York City looks authentic and tangible, not just like a set piece. Her figures and faces are second to none, and she remains a master of body language. Pages and panels feel jammed with satisfying content, unlike a lot of books these days.
* Emma draws some of the most stylized and brutal action scenes this side of JOCK and Tarantino.
* Javier Rodriguez is a wonderful colorist. He really plays with the layout and depth of the scenes and pages.
* Waid’s dialogue is snappy as ever, and the characterizations just feel right and “lived in”. His words and story just read like they were made for Rios’ art.
* Marvel’s two most dumped upon heroes teaming up over a manipulative woman. Classic Spider-Man and Daredevil, there.
* Daredevil routinely schooling Spider-Man in every aspect of superheroics and his life every chance he gets. Color me biased.
* Accessible, one of my favorite comic book descriptions!
* Black Cat in a towel post-shower, one of my favorite comic book fantasies!

What I didn’t like:
* Pacing seemed a little off and Felicia’s bit in the story seems crammed in, even though she’s the plot point. I’ll wait ’til next issue to really judge.
* Spider-Man comes across a little too chumpy next to Daredevil. Not that I’m complaining, but it’s not like Spidey is a rank amateur in this game.
* Not enough Rios art.
* The feeling that back in the day, this two parter would be one issue and still been a solid read. Might be my nostalgia blinders!

Final thoughts:

Waid does a great job at giving Spidey readers old and new something to hop on and enjoy while still putting Daredevil over as a character and title they should also be checking out. It’s a one of Marvel’s more classic and no-brainer crossovers, and it’s fun seeing the two characters catch up and be slightly out of synch with each others’ lives, just like old friends.

Emma Rios and Javier Rodriguez make this one of the slickest issues out on shelves, and every time I see her work I really wish she’d get an ongoing. I’m reminded of Paul Pope, and the subdued colors and very non-superheroic conventional artwork are just what a title like Spider-Man, Daredevil, or one of the X-Books needs to set it apart from the pack.

These are the kind of books I like: it’s accessible off of the rack, fun to read, and really gives you the Marvel Universe without overindulging like many other Marvel titles. Call me counter-culture, but I like my superheroes crossing over in small, calculated doses, and this does that while still paying respect to the solo adventures that the foundation is built upon. It’s nice to see Spidey and Daredevil crossing paths without having the whole weight of the Avengers or something bearing down.

Waid and Rios deliver a nice, clean Underdogs of New York story.

Can’t wait for part two, but you’re already buying Daredevil, aren’t you?

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