by Andrew Hurst, CMRO Contributing Writer
Peter Parker: Spider-Man
Written by Paul Jenkins, Art by Humberto Ramos
Published: July 2002
Spider-Man and Green Goblin are famously arch nemeses, but a list of their greatest feuds can pretty much be counted on one hand. And 2002′s “A Death in the Family” definitely earns a finger on that hand. It’s an examination of the relationship between not just Spider-Man and Green Goblin, but Peter Parker and Norman Osborn. Part one of this story focuses heavily on the family aspect as both Parker and Osborn turn to their closest loved ones for guidance during a troubling time. Aunt May is there for Peter for a shoulder during a rough patch between his marriage with Marry Jane, and Osborn turns to the headstone of his dead son, Harry, to finally workout his feelings toward Harry’s death.
The beautifully drawn lighting and rain tells of the oncoming storm, and in many ways, the final battle in the Parker/Spider-Man/Osborn/Goblin relationship. We get a closer look at how in many ways these two characters and their different personas are all family.
Paul Jenkins writes one of the most intense, dramatic and emotional scripts I’ve ever read in a Spider-Man comic book, and flawlessly fleshes out just a great dialogue between the rivals. It’s an incredibly dark issue which is amplified by 10 by the magnificent art.
Humberto Ramos’s style is very unique. It’s cartoonish, but in the most badass and impactful way. Right down to the inks and colors, every object and piece of clothing has its own texture, but it’s the rain that steals the show. All the raindrops, puddles, water dripping from characters, splashes are all stunning and interesting to look at. My only complaint with his art in this issue is how ridiculously large he drawn Aunt May’s eyes. The varying eye shapes and sizes are a great part of this style, but in some panels May looks like some creepy anime woodland creature.
Between the masterfully crafted dialogue and rich depth in the art, Peter Parker: Spider-Man #44 is an A-plus of an issue, and the begging of a great story arch…and then there’s a backup story where Spider-Man teams up with Jay Leno. That part of the issue you can skip.