The Amazing Spider-Man #574
Story by: Marc Guggenheim
Cover Date: December 2008
I come from a little European and military neutral country so when I see a story like this one come up, I sometimes finish it and just forget it because I just cannot relate with its contents. But something about this issue has just planted itself in my head and that’s a very good thing.
After the craziness of the last few issues, Marc Guggenheim has brought the fast pacing right to a halt on this book to tell one of the very best Marvel tales of the year. He tells us a story where Marvel continuity geeks can deduce that Flash Thompson has left his job as a P.E. teacher and re-enlisted in the army. Flash is a veteran of the Vietnam War but that would throw the timing all off in continuity so that little thing is glossed over here but alluded to. The conversation that takes place the whole issue between Flash and the army rep vetting him for a medal is so compelling and thoughtful that even though the ending is denoted to in the issue it still comes a shock to the reader when you see the final page. Throughout high school Flash and Peter were ‘enemies’ and there is a panel in the issue where you see a card that Peter has sent Flash to give him moral support and that panel was so intelligent in its simplicity. The sadness of the issue is really well interspersed with some great humour like when Flash learns that he has an FBI file due to his starting of a Spider-Man fan club. One of only three in the country devoted to a vigilante. And the panel where it is explained where the nickname Flash came from is gold. It is here that I doubt that is what Stan Lee was thinking when naming the character.
Barry Kitson is back from his brilliant work on The Order and it is his ability to help here with the story telling that Kitson earns his keep in explaining the thoughts through presentation Guggenheim’s writing of Flashes history. It is also great to see Mark Farmer back as I haven’t seen his work represented for a while. Kitson’s style when showing war scenes is eye catching and the detail looks very authentic. It is explained in the back of the issue that he received reference material for the book through the inspiration for the story Sergeant Jeffrey Guerin. I found the facial expression in the final panel on Flashes face to be one of his highlights of the issue. You can just make out the anguish and sorrow, frustration and agony all at the same time. The dark hues in the hospital and the brightness of the outdoors show that everyone from the colourist on up was on board for this book and it is a gem.
Not since Spectacular Spider-Man #14 written by Paul Jenkins and painted by Paolo Rivera has a story resonated like this with me. It is a credit to all involved in the production that this story is so well put together and it should be read by anyone who can get their hands on it.
Rating the Issue
Name: David O' Leary
Review Bio: I am a 26-year-old Hotel Manager from the west coast of the Republic of Ireland and think this is a great way to talk to others about this cool medium. I am a husband to one wife and father to one girl (so far).
Favorites: ONI's Whiteout, Vertigo's Scalped and Garth Ennis Preacher and Punisher in Trades. In comic form I am reading a lot of Marvel and a bit of IDW, Dark Horse & WildStorm among others.
Website: Sorry, I don’t have one!