Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #553

 Posted: 2008
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)

Story 'Freak-Out!'

As Freak emerges very disorientated, he tries to run but is shot by a cop and falls into the sewer. Spider-Man is annoyed with himself for not getting involved.

At the Bar with no name, the villains are taking bets on whether or not Freak is an alien.

Carlie is collecting samples left over from where Freak hatched.

Peter is annoyed at himself for not being able to get pictures of Freak – the batteries were flat in his camera. At the DB, Dexter is giving Peter (or Perkins as he calls him) a hard time about not getting pictures of Freak. He tells him to go get an unflattering picture of Hollister announcing his running for mayor. If he doesn't get it, he's fired.

Although unhappy with having to stitch up Lily's father, Peter takes the photos as he needs the money. Dexter is delighted with the shots and promises to put them on the front page with Peter's byline. For once, he gets Peter's name right.

At Carlie's lab, Curt Connors shows up and asks is he can take a fragment of the sample to run his own tests. Carlie says it is against the rules –but lets him do so anyway – if he shares the results with her.

Back in the sewer, Freak has evolved into more of a lizard creature. He vows to make Spider-Man pay. In the hospital, Jonah is reading a copy of the DB – and not happy at the choice of the lead story. He doesn't realise the DB has replaced the Bugle.

Dexter next sends Peter off to cover a Crowne press conference. As the DB's preferred mayoral candidate, he is instructed to make Crowne look good. Peter has mixed up some new webbing formula and tests it holding his camera in place.

Freak is out of the sewer and, disguised as a workman, finds Spider-Man's pants that he ripped in the last issue. He sniffs them and says he can now track the wallcrawler. That leads him to Crowne's press conference. As Freak reveals himself in the hunt for Spider-Man, the cops open fire while Peter grabs a quick few photos. He manages to sneak off and change into his Spidey suit – then fixes his camera to track his movements.

Spider-Man swings into action to stop Freak trashing the event. But as Freak threatens to hurl a huge monument at the candidate, his webshooter jams...

General Comments

As with the last issue, a lot of this feels as if it has been done before. A new web formula, a jamming webshooter, a camera not getting the main photos, Peter threatened with being fired, a Curt Connors experiment going wrong.

None of this is new – and I guess that's the biggest issue I have with this. I have no problems with Brand New Day. I have no problems with the reset, the lack of MJ, Harry coming back, May being alive again, the new villains, the DB and so on. I don't mind any of it. But if Brand New Day isn't being used to tell new stories, then what's the point with any of it?

These stories could have been told in the old continuity.

New, different stories could have been told with Peter's new powers after the disassembled event. They could have been told with Spider-Man's identity exposed. But these things never really happened and events were only touched upon. New stories CAN be told in this new continuity – but, in the last two issues in particular, they're not.

Again, much of the snappy humour is falling flat too. How many more times can Dexter get Peter's name wrong? It wasn't that funny the first time and definitely isn't any longer.

There's nothing inherently wrong with this issue. It's OK. It's passable. But I just feel like I've read it before.

Overall Rating

It's hard to criticise the issue for its content. There's nothing really wrong with it in terms of advancing the story set-up in previous months -but it doesn't really give us anything new either.

 Posted: 2008
 Staff: Kerry Wilkinson (E-Mail)