Saturday, 28 November 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #128. The Vulture - or is it?

Amazing Spider-Man #128, the 2nd Vulture
(Cover from January 1974.)

“The Vulture Hangs High!”

Words by Gerry Conway.
Pencils by Ross Andru.
Inks by Giacoia and Hunt.
Lettering by J Costanza.
Colouring by M Brand.

So, in the end, it all comes down to look-alikes.

It has to be said it's a not-altogether satisfactory conclusion to the tale. What're the chances that Dr Shallot's mutation machine would just happen to make him come out looking and (presumably) sounding exactly like the original Vulture? What're the chances that Christine would be identical to her recently murdered flatmate?

There's also the question of Spider-Man's fall at the start of the tale. As we've seen him survive falls from great heights before, and its been long established that he can make parachutes from his webbing, there can't have been anyone convinced he was going to die. Well, apart from Spidey who seems to have completely forgotten that he can make a parachute and thus creates a trampoline - something else it's been long established he can do.

For that matter, the webster's not the only one who seems to be suffering amnesia about the extent of his abilities. The Vulture also seems to have forgotten he has claws that can tear through the "protective" webbing Spider-Man throws around Mary Jane to keep him at bay.

Spidey also does something monumentally stupid at the finale, where the exposition dump he launches into gives Christine so many clues to his true identity that she - or Shallot - would hardly have to be Miss Marple to find out who he really is. Again, it's Conway having characters doing things to service the needs of the story rather than things they'd actually do.

So, all in all, while the issue has a nice feel to it and is appealingly drawn by Ross Andru who's really getting into the strip now, it has to be put down as a bit of a failure.

Oh well, at least next issue promises so much more.

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