Thursday, May 16, 2013

Vintage Review

I had an hour to kill before work so I decided to dig in a long box and read the first book I pulled out. Luckily I pulled out a one-shot! I grabbed Amazing Spider-Man 362 from Oct 93 written by David Micheline and illustrated by Mark Bagley. The issue is titled "Emerald Rage" and guest stars Hulk and Doc Samson.

Right up front I will tell you that early 90's Spidey, X-Men and Image books captured my imagination like nothing else could as a kid, so there may be some nostalgic bias in my review.

First some background on Marvel circa fall of 93. Mary Jane became a chain smoker which inexplicably immediately sent her life in a downward spiral. (Marvel was a little preachy with this one) Richard and Mary Parker came back from the dead! (Or did they?) And Hulk was infected with a NEW Gamma virus that turned him, as Doc Samson put it, into Ultra Hulk. (How cool would an Ultra Hulk book be?)
The issue starts with off balls to the wall action and in true 90's fashion never really let's up. Spidey and Samsom are no match for this "Ultra Hulk" physically, he even ripped through 2 full containers of webbing in a matter of moments! So they decide to switch gears and out smart him. Now if I remember correctly Banner is a freakin' genius, even in Hulk form in the 90's he brilliant!

Plot holes be damned we carry on.
Next up, subplot # 1. I like to call it, "Hey, I thought you 2 were dead?"

Aunt May is talking to Richard and Mary Parker...wait, what? Yes good old Dick and Mary P are back but May ain't buying it so which leads us directly to the introduction of...Bernard Scudder, Private Eye! Will May get to the bottom of their reappearance? Not in this issue, sorry.

Meanwhile, Doc Samson searches for a cure while Spidey lures Hulk away from the masses to an already damaged ESU (Empire State University) site (courtesy of the Human Torch) to limit civilian and property loses. Spider-Man continues to take a beating at the hands of the Green Goliath until Docs Samson rejoins the fray with a NEW plan in hand.

Duh-Duh-Duh-Dah! Subplot # 2, "Smoking is evil and will ruin your promising soap opera career"

I mean I kinda just gave it away but, MJ becomes a soap star, starts smoking and is now suddenly getting her scenes cut and is super depressed. I wonder if smoking cigarettes is to blame? The director even yells at her for smoking on set. Like I said before, it gets a little preachy.

Back to our HEROES!

Doc and Web head are still in a brutal battle with "Ultra Hulk" but have decided the best course of action is to try and appeal to the Banner trapped inside and not bait the animal that Hulk has become because of the NEW Gamma virus he's be infected with! Now that the a fore mentioned plot hole has been filled, will our champions cure Hulk and save New York City?

I gotta say this book was fun pure and simple. It called back to my childhood with beautiful artwork and lots of action. Both sub plots were woven in and out of the action packed frames evenly and helped lay the groundwork for upcoming arcs. While this issue never won an Eisner and has probably been forgotten by many as a throw away transitional floppy it has good solid storytelling that is worth a second or first look depending on your history with 1990's ASM. So if you want to know how it ends go back bin diving, drop a quarter to the clerk and get ready for a true blast from the past!

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