The Amazing Spider-Man 654.1

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My comic back log is huge! Sometimes I am so overwhelmed at the size of it that I will go to the comic shop and pick up something new just to free me from the chains of continuity. On one of my latest trips to the comic shop I picked up an copy of Spider-Man 654.1. I will freely admit that I haven’t read a lot of Spider-Man comics, but I have read a few, and I used to watch the cartoons religiously in Junior High and High School. I knew who all the major players where and I was confident I could fill in all the gaps, this being a .1 issue.

For those of you unfamiliar with the point one program, from Marvel.com-

“Geared for new and long-time readers alike, the all-new Marvel: Point One initiative delivers the perfect jumping on points for the biggest super hero series in the world! Beginning in February 2011, select Marvel comic series marked with a “.1” after the issue number feature full-length, self-contained stories by Marvel’s top creators, laying the groundwork for the next year of storylines. From INVINCIBLE IRON MAN to AVENGERS to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, each Marvel: Point One issue of the associated series not only begin major new storylines, but also seamlessly introduces new readers into the dynamic Marvel Universe and its popular super heroes. ‘Marvel is absolutely committed to providing new readers with easy entry points into all our comic book series and Marvel: Point One is the next step in our new reader initiatives,’ explained David Gabriel, Senior Vice-President, Sales & Circulation, Marvel Entertainment.”

The story from this issue revolves around Flash Thompson. After having lost his leg in the war, he becomes part of the Venom Program. Flash is infused with the Venom symbiote and performs spec ops missions for the military. After each mission the two are separated to prevent the symbiote from taking over and to prevent bonding. As the story progresses he is sent in on a rescue mission. As he and his assignment escape, his symbiote legs are shot off and he hulks and totally loses his sh!t. The symbiote takes over and violently saves the day. They escape and he and the symbiote are separated again, however the issue ends with him jonesing for the symbiote.

Over all I enjoyed the story (Dan Slott), and I found the artwork (Humberto Ramos) simply adequate. The idea of turning a marvel villain into a government weapon isn’t a new one, but it was well executed, and Venom has always been a favorite of mine. It was totally awesome when he lost control and Venom bit a guys arm off! That’s not to say that the story didn’t have problems, and the majority of my problems are .1 related-

1. Aside from the cover Spider-Man was not in this issue, and Peter Parker was in one tiny panel of one page. This book by its definition is to introduce new readers into this comic book series, and this series is about Spider-Man, so where is Spider-Man?

2. I really liked the story, but Flash Thompson is a C-list Spider-Man character that most new readers will be unfamiliar with.

3. If this is the first time someone picks up a Spider-Man comic, what is Venom, and how did the military get a hold of it to use it in this military program? How are they containing it and controlling it?

To rap this thing up, I used Wikipedia three times to fill in back story and plot holes, that’s completely unreasonable, I’ve had to do more for other comics, but that seems excessive for what’s supposed to be “the perfect jumping on point.”

Story me/newbie- B+/C
Art- B

Will I pick up 655? Probably not…

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