Writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale have done some pretty good work together at DC Comics. Superman for All Seasons, Batman the Long Halloween, and Batman Dark Victory are all fun stories with fantastic artwork, throwbacks to a more Silver Age sensibility that can be a lot of fun done right.
The pair also did some similar work over at Marvel, and Comic Bento sent me one of those as the last book for this month: Spider-Man: Blue.
Now, there’s a lot to like about this book. Sale’s distinctive art style is as fun as ever, and the Spider-Man action largely works. Peter tangles with the Green Goblin, the Rhino, two Vultures at the same time, the Lizard, and a mystery man hiding in the shadows that also turns out to be a longtime Spider-foe. Loeb manages to get the Spider-quips in just right, and the tone of the book matches the sort of stuff that just screams “CLASSIC SPIDER-MAN!”
But then there’s the reason for the story, and it’s one I don’t generally care about: how Peter fell in love with Gwen Stacy. I’ve said my bit on Gwen Stacy before, but in brief, it goes like this: Gwen the character died on the comic page before I was born, and just about every Spider-writer eventually seems to do the “I miss Gwen” story while, when I was reading at any rate, Peter was married to a great woman who didn’t deserve to be treated as a consolation prize. Heck, the volume ends and we learn MJ was listening in as Peter poured his heart out to Gwen on a tape recorder on how he felt when they first hooked up, and she doesn’t even seem to mind. Heck, she says, “I miss her too.”
Dude, that is no way to treat your wife.
It might have been better if Loeb’s script gave the reader some sort of insight into Gwen that maybe had never been covered before, but the only thing Peter seems to notice about her during his recounting of events is her looks, no new insight into her as a person or anything, so nothing new. She’s as much a cypher as she’s always been.
So, really, the only saving grace is the non-Gwen stuff, which I actually really enjoyed. That pushes the grade up to a eight and a half out of ten Flash Thompson is clueless moments.
NEXT MONTH: That does it for this month’s box. Next month we have a new theme of “BUILDERS,” whatever that is. We’ll just have to wait and see.