I wanted to break away from event comics from Marvel because they were getting so frustrating to read. So I went to the library on the app, went to my favorite character Spider-Man, and spun the wheel, picking a story at random. What came up was a six part story from 1989 called The Assassin Nation Plot.
I’ll start off with something I usually hold off on till the end of my reviews. The art work by Todd McFarlane is a sight to behold. There are some artists that, similar to guitar players, the moment you see their work, you know who created it. I was reading this storyline at work and someone glanced over my shoulder and said “Hey, McFarlane!” without knowing anything about the story I was reading.
I don’t know what it is about his art that works. Each character is a little grotesque in appearance. Even Spider-Man, when he’s swinging through the city, he’s contorting in ways a human being, even the most flexible human being, are not able to. Yet it works. It works I think because it adds a little gravitas to stories that as written tend to be a little bit silly.
Late 80’s Spider-Man was not a golden era for that character. Too often it appeared Marvel was more concerned about putting as many stories out there as they could and not worrying about the quality of those stories. As the covers indicate, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN was sold twice a month during this time. For one title that can be forgiven but when you think of all the titles Marvel had out at the time, little things will slip this the cracks.
The story itself was all right. While far from a classic, it was exciting when it needed to be but it ended up suffering from what comics in general during that area suffered from. The characters would travel around the world and as far as time is concerned, this may all happen in less than a day. There’s no logic to time in the story. It’s not like comics in the 60’s where characters would take about five minutes to get into a rocket and travel to the moon but it’s close. I would have liked to see some more focus on inserting some level of reality to the story. Yes, we’re dealing with a guy bitten by a radioactive spider who swings around a city with webs he created. I contend that, similar to the original GHOSTBUSTERS, when you establish some sense of reality to your story, the moment you break out with something unrealistic the audience will go along with you for the ride.
Overall, you’re going to enjoy this story. It’s not a classic but not every comic will be. And with a title that’s been actively produced for over 50 years now, not every story is going to grab you by the throat and command your attention. While this story isn’t a classic, it’s a fun way to pass some time if you have your iPad with you at the doctor’s office and want to kill some time. The fact that you can view some early McFarlane artwork should bring you to the title alone. You can find THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN as well as 17,000+ comics on Marvel Unlimited. For $9.99 a month or $69 a year, you have your choice of reading that will take you a long time to get through.
Penciler: Todd McFarlane
Letterer: Rick Parker
Writer: David Michelinie
The Assassin Nation Plot Reading Order:
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #320-325
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