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Review: Amazing Spider-Man #644

This is like the love child of Speed, Jackie Chan and Buster Keaton.

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Spidey's hopeless race to save Norman Osborn's bastard baby escalates as Vulture, Vermin, Rhino, Mysterio and the Chameleon join the gauntlet of villains.

The Good

Good lord, does Waid know how to play on your expectations. I was genuinely surprised by the introductions of Mysterio and the Chameleon, and Spidey's solution to Rhino's rampage was truly unpredictable. More importantly, none of them felt like cop-outs to ease the plot along. Character drove the plot, not the other way around. I was hesitant about Azaceta's art in the first issue I read, but I've warmed up to his depiction of Spidey in this issue. The style of rendering really adds to the breathless, urban feel and to the sense of weight of every blow and setback.

The Bad

The drawback of pitting Spidey against such an insurmountable odds is that, at the same time, it makes it a little harder to believe that he wouldn't already be defeated. He's got his entire rogues' gallery coming after him as well as the entire NYPD and every nosy New Yorker with a camera phone. It might've been a lie on the Chameleon's part, but his line about everybody in NY knowing exactly where Spidey is begs the question of why he isn't already cornered.

The Verdict - 4/5

This has proven to be one of the most frenetic, fast-paced thrillers I've ever seen Spidey involved in. It's like some wonderful love child of Jackie Chan, Buster Keaton and Speed -- meaning you've got serious drama and impressive physical humor to underlay the relentless action. The revelations at the end of this were just intense procession of nailbiters -- I really need to see the next issue of ASM, and now!