Review: Amazing Spider-Man #630

Published on May 16th, 2010

I fear, dear readers, that I may have made a grave error in my past. An error not so harsh it is irredeemable, but one that could cause great internal suffering if circumstances carry on as they are. No, I’m not talking about my varying social affairs, I am infact talking about my decision to have stopped reading The Amazing Spider-Man. I stopped reading the series because I quite simply got bored of it, I had no other reason than that, and now having picked up a few issues (for reasons to be explained), I fear that I may have made a poor decision.

I broke our relationship off during the aftermath of ‘New Ways To Die’, and havn’t batted an eye-lid in its direction since. I was drawn back to it recently however, when I saw an advert for a new storyline that would be running for a while called ‘SHED’. At a first glance it seemed like a pretty run-of-the-mill, average Spider-Man story, until I realised two things about it. Chris Bachalo and The Lizard. The Lizard is one of the few Spider-Man villains I actually give a damn about (I will refrain from producing an essay as to ‘why’), so to see him being the focus of a new Spider-Man story really got me excited. Chris Bachalo’s artwork is outstanding in my opinion (I know he has his critics), he is one of my favourite comic book artists for the simple reason that his attention to detail is remarkable, and that he has the ability to make almost anything look absolutely terrifying whenever he wants to. So when you set Chris Bachalo loose on drawing The Lizard, the outcome is plain and simply going to make you shit bricks (which is good! Believe me!).

asm630So I went and found a copy of Amazing Spider-Man #630, in which this storyline begins, and read it with a look of complete awe. I was blown away. I havn’t read much by writer Zeb Wells, but from just experiencing this issue alone, I can see that I owe it to myself to stick around to see what he can offer. He obviously knows these characters very well indeed, as I felt completely at ease reading about a familiar and humourous Peter Parker, who I worried might not have existed anymore. I was especially impressed by Wells’ writing when it came to the parts of the story that revolved around Dr. Curtis Conners (The Lizard) too. Some villains (although definitely not all), have a psychology with the potential to be explored and explained by writers, but to my frequent dissatisfaction this is something that often gets neglected. Zeb Wells has shown in this issue, that he is one of the few who do not neglect it, and in a bizarre way he gives us a brief insight into the madness that is the mindset of Dr. Curtis Connor/The Lizard. This pleased me a great deal.

Now given I dropped out of Amazing Spider-Man for a few months, there were a few references to events and apparant changes in continuity that have obviously passed me by. I will raise such questions I have, in this week’s Pick Of The Week podcast, when we talk about the most recent issue of this series.

This issue doesn’t see an aweful lot of Spider-Man action at all, only a few pages at the start where he and Black Cat are busting some criminals and talking about how their relationship (something I was aware of) was strictly casual, nothing more. I thought it was quite cool, I like relationships in comic books when done well. Peter Parker, later on in the issue, is seen with a lady (presumably at his work) who he eats lunch with and they have a mini-date in her office space. It was very cute, I must admit and it only adds to the point I made just then about relationships in comic books being fun! There is obviously a strong theme of relationships going on right now in this series, which is a plus in my books.

I feel a bit odd, as that is all there really is to be discussed about Spider-Man in his own comic. But I suppose that quite obviously and to my great pleasure, this issue had to focus primarily on Dr. Curtis Conner’s transformation into the dreaded Lizard. As I mentioned, it was written to prefection! An absolute thrill ride! You could quite literally cut the tension with a knife when it got to about 2 or 3 pages towards the end, when Conners finally turned into The Lizard! The relationship between Curtis and his son was only touched on for a single page at the start of the comic, but the emotional impact of what happened was immense. I really felt sorry for Conners, and felt that he was not the bad guy at all. It was obvious that it was partly his anger at not being loved by his son, and the restrictions on him being able to see his son, that added to his transformation into the monster, along with the stress of his boss at work.

You could notice Connors gradually finding it harder and harder to hold back the Lizard in this issue. He started viewing his laboratory as his territory as if he was one of the lizards he cares for (if you know a thing or two about psychology, it is easy to explain why he was viewing his laboratory in this way) . This was explored and written so convincingly that I was truly scared of Connors.If you are a fan of the classic horror stories such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde‘, then you will be bound to love this issue.

When Connors finally transforms, it is terrifying. Bachalo doesn’t draw The Lizard as the anthropomorphic crocodile looking monster that we are used to seeing in the classic stories from years ago, oh no. Bachalo draws the Lizard quite literally as a hideous monster, a monster with the ability to eat a man (as he is seen eating his douchebag Boss).

I have the next issue, and cannot wait to read it! Having loved this issue, I can only hope this story escalates. Bravo for making Spider-Man so appealing once more, thank you Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo. This issue was totally worth picking up!

Rob Andrews
Rob@comicimpact.com