spiderfan001's The Amazing Spider-Man #554 - Burned! review

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Third Time's the Charm

Bob Gale delivers a fine finale to his first Spider-Man run. Spidey's battle with Freak was great and wonderfully illustrated by Phil Jimenez. The scene where Spider-Man pays a visit to jolly Jonah in the hospital was priceless. Gale also introduces an intriguing new plot development in Peter's social life concerning Harry's new girlfriend Lily. Having Freak evolve after every battle was a great twist and has me eagerly awaiting his next appearance. Phil Jimenez's art shines in this issue and as much as I loved Steve McNiven's work I have to say that Jimenez is currently my favourite of the Brand New Day artists.

Sadly, the Daily Bugle subplot has taken a down turn as Dexter Bennett is quickly proving to be a bigger jerk than Jameson was. I was hoping that Bennett despite coming off as a snobby hardass on the exterior would prove to be a decent, honourable guy when push came to shove as was hinted in Amazing #551 with his comment about honour. The Bugle subplot would have proven to be far more interesting if they had went this route as it would have had Peter and the staff questioning whether they really wanted Jameson back and what it is about Jameson that earns him their loyalty. Instead Jameson is merely the lesser of two evils and Bennett is basically Jameson lite with very few redeeming qualities. The running gag of Bennett forgetting the names of his staff has worn pretty thin and the scene where Peter takes advantage of it to help Betty just comes across as weird. Another bizarre scene is when Peter escapes from the burning building in which he was battling Freak by ditching his costume (his mask was torn) and walking out in front of the police with no pants! How can anyone not tell that he's Spider-Man??? Now, I am of two minds on this; on the one hand, I wish Gale had come up with a more creative way for Spidey to escape as this just came across as lazy despite its comedic value. On the other hand this is comics, people can't tell that Clark Kent is Superman when he has his glasses on.

All in all this has been another enjoyable story. Despite a bit of a slow start Gale has proven to be a nice addition to Spidey's braintrust. Next up is Zeb Wells who has already proven that he's got the writing chops to take on Spidey with his excellent Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Year One miniseries. Hopefully he'll be able to deliver...

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