Comic Review: Amazing Spider-Man #691
Writer: Dan Slott
Pencillers: Giuseppe Camuncoli and Mario Dell’Pennino
Inkers: Klaus Janson and Dan Green
Colourist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Chris Eliopoulos
Previously, in Amazing Spider-Man: Using a cure developed by Morbius the Living Vampire and the other Horizon Labs staff, Spider-Man was able to transform the reptilian Lizard back into his human form as Doctor Curt Connors. Unfortunately, whilst his body was restored, Connors’ mind was not, and the Lizard found himself trapped in a human shell.
Distracting Spider-Man by forcing Morbius into a bloodthirsty rampage, the Lizard took over Horizon Labs and experimented on the staff, transforming them into raging lizard creatures in his attempt to find a way back to his original body. However, human experiences have affected the Lizard, and he now finds himself unsure as to whether he wants to return to his reptile form or not.
Gah, reviewing this issue is going to be difficult. On the one hand, Dan Slott continues to twist the Lizard/Connors paradigm on its head, and the conclusion of events seems to leave everything in a very different place than it was before, but then on the other, it feels a bit too safe and almost expected. The possibilities that the last issue cliffhanger set up seem too easily discarded in favour of another fight scene, and this is really aggravating when you think about how the storyline could possibly have gone instead.
Once the issue gets to Spidey in battle with the Lizard once again, in a brutal no-holds barred match to finally put one of them down for good, this plays out really well with the psychological traumas and evolutions that the Lizard has been through in the past few issues really coming into play and giving the fight a satisfying conclusion, even if the reasons that the Lizard gives as to why he makes the decision he does seem a bit flimsy.
There are a few lines of dialogue that don’t ring true to Spidey as the issue nears its end, however. I can understand that Spidey will be angry about the situation that he finds himself in, but some of the things he says seem a bit harsh and uncaring, which doesn’t gel properly with his character. However, given the Madame Web scenes in this issue, it could be that this is part of a much larger plan that Slott has; every line that he writes is usually done with so much care, and I hesitate to think that this isn’t the case here. Of course, only time will tell.
As usual, Slott continues to seed his next few storylines, with developments once again for the Kingpin and Hobgoblin, and a final two pages that will leave people scratching their heads and checking their previous issues to see what exactly is going on. Always thinking two steps ahead, Slott makes this a nice bookend to the happenings that have been going on behind the scenes in the past few issues as well as a look forward to what’s going to happen soon, so it serves a dual purpose.
Camuncoli is joined by a second penciller here, but you would be hard pressed to spot which artist drew which page. Either Dell’Pennino didn’t draw very much of the issue, or their styles are so similar that it’s impossible to tell them apart. Camuncoli’s art is kinetic and this really helps add to the frantic pace of this issue, but there’s never a missed opportunity for extra detail, like the scales on the lizard creatures, or the expressions on their “faces”. Plus his new Lizard design is a chilling meld of human and reptile, even moreso than any of the earlier forms that the fiend had taken.
The Lizard problem has been dealt with, and now Spidey’s getting ready to party as he heads for his 50th Anniversary issue next week, and No Turning Back has come to a conclusion. There’s a lot to love in the story arc, though this concluding issue doesn’t sit quite right with me, but it doesn’t do anything particularly bad to colour the overall storyline.
GO Rating: 3.5/5