Now I’ve never been a big Spider-Man fan or follower of the Amazing Spider-Man series. I have dipped in now and again on story lines that interested me or when writers I liked did an arc or two but the revolving cast of creators put me off this book bit. When I heard Joe Kelly was stepping in to do an arc I was very excited. I was a big fan of the ‘Space Ghost’ mini series he did with Ariel Olivetti for DC and when I also found out that the story line would be the first to deal with how Spider-man feels about Norman Osborn’s role as Director of H.A.M.M.E.R, I thought I have to pick this book up, and after now reading the full five issues I have to say I was not disappointed with my decision in the slightest as this has turned out to be one of the best Spider-Man arcs I’ve ever read.
Amazing Spider-Man #599 was the concluding issue of the ‘American Son’ story arc. This was a big fight finish to a very twisted story and overall exciting story line. We open with Harry donning the American Son armor and battling Norman to save arch-enemy; Spider-Man’s life, much to Normans disappointment. The fight then bursts out of the Avengers tower and into Central Park and exciting action scenes are mixed with great dramatic dialogue, particularly between father and son.
Like the previous issues of Kelly’s tale, the main theme in this issue is relationships, lots of twisted and wonderfully soap opera-esque crazy relationships. First off, we see Peter examining his relationship with best friend Harry Osborn (who hates Spider-Man, but doesn’t know his best friend is also his worst enemy), and in a nice flash back scene we see the special bond between the two that they have shared since they were teens, where they refer to each other as ‘brothers’, and Peter’s promise to Harry to never let him be alone, which underlines why Peter, as Spider-Man, will not give up trying to help his friend stand up against the monster that is Norman Osborn.
We also have Harry hating on his father Norman Osborn and goblin girlfriend Menace, for sleeping with each other and producing the ‘Goblin Prince’! Norman despises Harry’s weakness and softness at having saved Spider-Man and decides to disown his son once and for all.
There is a nice final few words exchanged between our main character and the two Osborn’s at the end of the battle that I won’t spoil, where Peter truly comes through for his friend. It’s a nice scene and a fitting end to a brilliant and fun ride that has been ‘American Son’.
I can’t fault the artists on this story arc either. All the artists that contributed did amazing work (especially on the action scenes) and the styles from issue to issue were not too dissimilar and didn’t take away from the story being told.
In conclusion, this is highly recommended. If you haven’t picked up the previous issues this should be a definite pick up when it is eventually collected in trade paper back. I now look forward to when Joe Kelly returns to ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ with issue 611 this November and brings Deadpool to Spidey's world. Sure to be a riot. See ya then.
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