Review: Amazing Spider-Man #693 – The Jackal returns!

Amazing Spider-Man #693
Writer:  Dan Slott
Art:  Humberto Ramos [Pencils], Victor Olazaba [Inks], Edgar Delgado [Colors]

Last issue, Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos gave Spider-Man a new sidekick for his 50th anniversary.  This issue, he deals with the direct aftermath of that.

Created by an accident during one of Peter Parker’s demonstrations at Horizon Labs, teenager Andy Maguire is now Alpha, potentially one of the world’s most powerful superhumans.  Peter being who he is takes on responsibility and, at the behest of Reed Richards, makes Alpha his sidekick.  Unfortunately, the kid’s kind of an egotistical jackass.

As the issue opens, Alpha has just taken out Fantastic Four villain Giganto with a single punch and left the FF and Spider-Man standing around scratching their heads.  Hoping to clear his head, Peter goes to Mary Jane’s nightclub to see if she can make sense of everything.  She points out to him that Alpha is only doing what Peter would have done had he not realized the whole “with great power comes great responsibility” bit as a result of Uncle Ben’s murder–and then Pete realizes everyone knows who Alpha is because he doesn’t wear a mask.

Rushing off to Maguire’s home as Spider-Man, he arrives too late and quickly realizes Andy and his family have been abducted by the clone-crazy Jackal.

Dan Slott wraps up Alpha’s introduction here fairly neatly.  The more you read of Alpha, the more you begin to hate the kid–and that’s pretty much the point.  The end of this issue sets up the future status quo between Spider-Man and his new sidekick, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out between now and issue #700, assuming this plot thread doesn’t continue beyond that point.  Additionally, this is the second time Slott has written the Jackal in the last few years, and I have to say it’s a big improvement over how the villain was written back in the Clone Saga.

Ramos’ art remains impressive here, although I still have a few qualms with some of the less-detailed panels where bodies have less detail and defy anatomical form [SEE: The panel of Spidey swinging toward MJ’s club on the second page].  At his most highly-detailed, however, Ramos continues to be one of my favorite modern Spider-Man artists.

Overall, this was a great issue and a fitting end to Slott and Ramos’ 50th anniversary story.

RATING: 8.5/10

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Roger Riddell
Essentially Peter Parker with all the charm of Wolverine, he's a DC-based B2B journalist who occasionally writes about music and pop culture in his free time. His love for comics, metal, and videogames has also landed him gigs writing for the A.V. Club, Comic Book Resources, and Louisville Magazine. Keep him away from the whiskey, and don't ask him how much he hates the Spider-Man movies unless you're ready to hear about his overarching plot for a six-film series that would put the Dark Knight trilogy to shame.

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