Sunday, September 22, 2013

Comics Review: Amazing Spider-Man #308

Written by: Dave Michelinie
Art by: Todd "The God" McFarlane

If you guys haven't noticed by any of my horrible reviews, I have a ridiculous soft spot for covers, and this week satisfies my craving. It's a dark setting, a graveyard. And Spider-Man's got the Taskmaster by the cape. Written in the moonlight is "Who Kidnapped Mary Jane?" Of course, we know it was owner of her own apartment building, but imagine when Peter finds out. Only one way to see that, and that's by opening up this book as we move closer to the midway point of this Amazing Omnibus. Enough of my rambling though, you didn't come here for that.

This issue opens up with a much sadder tone than the cover, a sulking Peter Parker is talking to an NYPD officer, giving his vague statement on the issue. Though vague, it's the only lead the cops have to finding his wife, they're doing everything they can to help. Or so Peter's told, but that isn't enough, and it's nothing that Spider-Man can't add too. After the cops leave Peter promises himself he's going to find MJ, and when he does, he's going to make her kidnapper very very sorry! Meanwhile, at the apartment where MJ is being kept, a very creepy Jonathan Caesar is making his victory speech. Confused by Mary Jane's discomfort, he asks what more he could do to make her happy. He's given her elegant wardrobes, grandest gourmet delights. She asks for a .357 Magnum or two. Something Caesar sees as cute and pats her face, she takes this chance to smack him, screaming not to touch her. Taking in a deep breath, he responds by slapping the unholy shit right out of her body. I mean like even Ralph Cramden would tell him to tone it down. She realizes how crazy and dangerous this man is, and doesn't test him again. Caesar takes this moment to do what every villain does, and voice his backstory and intentions for the evil plot. In a nutshell, this dudes a spoiled brat who learned that if he was told "no", to take until he was told "yes". Going as far to even making his own brother "disappear" over a train set. So, yeah this dude is batshit NUTS. He even tells her they're going to be married. A sobbing Mary Jane prays for Peter to find her.

That night, Spider-Man hit the streets and was on the prowl for any information he can get on MJ. He eventually finds a guy who'll talk, a common street thug name Chili Bono. He doesn't have answers now, but he'll have in about 24 hours. This next part is the hardest, waiting. That wait has been especially tough on Peter Parker. He's been making excuses for people calling the house, even coming close to canceling a book signing, until Aunt May calls an sweet talks Peter in going. The signing all goes well, and it gets Peter's mind off of things.

Black Cat, Felicia Hardy has finally found out Peter's new address but the bellhop of the building won't let her in, not a bad choice. She storms off vowing to just come back later. I wonder what she's got up her sleeve. All the while, Spideys on his way to meet up with that thug to trade info, except the lying jerk isn't even there! Peter gets stuck in a graveyard waiting for Chili Bono when he stumbles upon a large group of men in white suits. Uh oh, don't worry, no KKK here. The men think it's some kind of training program and start shooting at him! The soldiers think it's all an exercise and don't think it's really Spider-Man, until he starts actually hurting them! Smashing faces, hammer fisting, the whole 9 yards on these guys. He asks the last thug where's his boss and conveniently, he arrives. The dreaded Taskmaster!!!

Taskmaster's not around for long before he makes his escape and goes back to hiding, a spot that Spidey finds very quickly. All you need is a little...persuasion. Taskmaster is hiding in a nearby mausoleum, a spot Spider-Man has no problem breaking some doors to get into. He breaks right into a room filled with more of those soldiers and the Taskmaster. It's not long before the bullets start flying again, thank god for that Spider Sense! Unfortunately for the soldiers, Spidey's got no time to waste, so he just yanks up a whole section of the floor to scare them off. Now, to find the Taskmaster. He shows up and the two duke it out. Taskmaster's showing off some of his newly "acquired" skills, like Cap's shield throw. Peter knocks him into a munitions closet just in time for him to set off the bullets! The building erupts in flames just as everyone gets out. It's a bitter/sweet night for Peter. Sure, he set back the Taskmaster and his plan to train henchmen to sell, but he still hasn't found Mary Jane. If he only knew she was being kept in the very building he sleeps in at night. This brings us to another end of another great issue of The Amazing Spider-Man. Things aren't getting any easier for our red and blue Avenger. Right when things start looking up, getting this awesome new apartment that I'm sure he'll be leaving soon, getting a book deal, it all comes crashing down in one night. All it took was a kidnapping. I'm prepared to see a much darker side of Spider-Man unseen before, even when he had the black suit. You just don't mess with a dude's wife, especially if he's loved her for god knows how long. Sit tight, we'll be back in a few days with another look into the ever so dwindling life of Peter Parker and the Amazing Spider-Man!

-Matt Milanes

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