Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #617

Joe Kelly does it like no one else in the Spider-man universe. He joined forces with Chris Bachalo to bring back a classic Hammerhead character not too long ago and he has now been given the Rhino reigns with Max Fiumara to bring back the brute of a beast.

The issue let's us in on what the Rhino, Aleksei Sytsevich, has been up to since his last stint in jail. Apparently he met the woman of his dreams and uses her love, and their marriage, to control his urges to revert back to a life of crime. The issue introduces an unknown new Rhino like villain who calls Sytsevich out to fight. In what turns out to be an interesting exchange, Spider-man convinces Sytsevich to hold on to his love and let go of his pride.

Kelly brings out emotion in an otherwise emotionless character. Rhino had always been written as a standard big dumb bad guy, but now we see that maybe he just needed something he hadn't yet found (his wife) to find his true depth as a character. Kelly also balances Peter Parker's personal life and the plot of the issue with great command. He moves the overall story along while still addressing this single issue's topic: the Rhino. And the dialog...spot on. When I here Spider-man in my head (and I do) he always uses Joe Kelly's words. Funny, realistic, and true to the character established long ago.

Max Fiumara also pencils another issue the way only he can. He gives a nice rough (without looking sketchy) feeling to the Rhino characters, which is perfect when dealing with a character like Rhino who, like the skin of the animal, feels rough. His Spider-man design is also very unique. Like Chris Bachalo, Fiumara establishes a version of Spider-man that is his own. He draws him slender, yet muscular. Plus, his mask design gives Spider-man's eyes a sleek ninja-like look. Almost like his eyes are reading a person or his thinking is being performed by his eyes.

Lastly, the coloring of Fabio D'Auria works perfectly with the dark tones that loom around an ex-super con. In the scene at night when Spider-man and the Rhino (not in costume) talk, the color of Spider'man's costume has a dark bold red that accents Fiumara's costume design perfectly. A simple image of Spider-man gesturing to himself, while giving advice to an ex-arch-enemy in the dark, makes a reader feel like they are there in that moment. Its quite a powerful frame. And that frame seals why The Amazing Spider-Man #617 is the comic of the day.

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