etragedy's The Amazing Spider-Man #10 - The Enforcers! review

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The Enforcers are Cool. Everything Else Isn't

A lot of people don't like the 'supervillain' team The Enforcers. That's kind of understandable, they're not really very super at all - a strong guy, a scrappy little dude, and a guy with a lasso. But I like them. I've always thought of Spider-Man as a street level hero, along the lines of Batman and Daredevil - not a guy who should be trading punches with the likes of Dr. Doom or saving the planet like Thor or Iron Man.

No, my problems with this issue have very little to do with the bad guys, and a lot to do with Spider-Man himself. To begin with, he's weaker than normal in this issue because he gave blood to save Aunt May's life. Now, anyone who's familiar with Spider-Man's origin, knows how problematic the idea of Spider-Man donating blood is.

Next of all, Steve Ditko pioneered this technique of showing Peter Parker's face split down the middle, half as himself, half as Spider-Man, every time they want to remind us that Parker is Spider-Man. Now, while I find this technique totally unnecessary already (give the reader a little credit Stan and Steve), but in this issue it's just way overused - there are like half a dozen panels of it.

Then we have Spider-Man finding the bad guys lair by nabbing a thug, and then quickly blindfolding him with webbing, and whipping up a giant spider web, complete with a giant spider made of wood and webbing, so when he removes the web blindfold, he can threaten the hood into telling him where the bad guys hideout is. This is corny and contrived. Surely they could have come up with a better way for Spider-Man to learn this information.

Later we have Spider-Man signalling the police with the Spider Signal. Up until now in this series I've bitten my tongue about this plot contrivance. It's obviously a rip-off of the Bat-Signal, but worse, given that the bat signal is this giant search light atop a building, while the Spider Signal is the size of a belt buckle (and is in fact on his belt buckle). But the way the Spider Signal is employed in this issue really gets me. Spider-Man, at a critical moment, puts it at the end of his web shooter and launches it into space, defying gravity with, presumably, the force of the web shooter, to project it on the wall of a building in the scant fraction of a second before it falls to the ground, during which time a passing cop happens to be looking in the right direction to see this fraction of a second flash of red light and now how to trace it to it's source.

Honestly, if it weren't for The Enforcers and the mystery story at the heart of this issue, I'd probably rate this issue even lower.


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