Amazing Spider-Man #622
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Joe Quinones
Lettering by VC's Joe Carmagna
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by David Pepose
As far as done-in-one issues go, this Morbius-centric issue of Amazing Spider-Man reminds me almost of a Twilight vampire -- it looks great, even if there are a few things about it that bite. With Joe Quinones providing some top-shelf art to this surprisingly light tale, it's a refreshing interlude after the rock-'em-sock-'em action of the Gauntlet.
Let's just start off with the strengths of this book -- the art. ' Joe Quinones automatically kicks this book up a notch, as he provides pencils, inks and colors to the whole she-bang. His linework, in certain ways, reminds me a bit of Mike Allred's, but the expressiveness and use of shadow really looks great. Something that Quinones is surprisingly good at is eyes and mouths -- whether it's our hero being hypnotized by a vampire or a certain bloodsucker biting her lip in anticipation, there's something intoxicating about how these characters look.
Writer Fred Van Lente, meanwhile, is a master of efficiency -- this story really does read like a breeze, getting to the goods particularly fast. While I would argue that Morbius gets a little short shrift in this issue, he does manage to make those pages count, with the vampire seeming more compelling than I've seen in years. That said, there are a few trouble spots with this story -- namely, that Peter doesn't seem to take an active role in the story. He's manipulated pretty much from Point A to Point B to Point C, and the final climax is less of Spider-Man making a choice, and more of being a patsy to someone else's coup de grace. (And yes, there is another page of Peter in bed with the Black Cat... with his mask still on. And nothing else. It does stand out a little bit.)
Surprisingly, with the main course being lighter fare, it's the back-up story by Greg Weisman and Luke Ross that completes the meal. Focusing on Flash Thompson and the Five Stages of Grief, it's not necessarily the most enlightened take on amputees and the handicapped -- would you say it's wrong for people to use every medical treatment and prosthetic option available to you? -- where it does succeed is in the characterization of Flash Thompson. For a character we don't particularly see very often, Weisman manages to really build up Flash's world quickly. When you combine these two stories together, Amazing Spider-Man #622 is a decent intermission before the sturm-und-drang of the Gauntlet returns in full force.