Sins Past by J. Michael Straczynski
The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 8
Finished: Mar. 13, 2009
First Published: 2005 (compilation of comics #509-514)
Genre: graphic novel, superheroes
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.
"...and I said to him, I said why are you touching me like that?"
Comments: Volume 8, collecting issues #509-514, has an intense plot with one main story arc running throughout. Spider-man has always been haunted by the death of Gwen Stacy, his former "love of his life". Now that day has come back to haunt him in the present as two people arrive determined to kill both Peter Parker and Spider-man for their respective parts in Gwen's death. The events of the past, his relationship with Gwen, are relived as Peter discovers the connection between that relationship and the two would-be assassins. There comes a time when the fateful day of Gwen's demise is relived in the present as Peter determines not to let the same thing happen twice.
This volume was absolutely riveting. The one continuous plot of the book makes for a fast, page-turning read. With this volume Peter's character, and Spider-man's, becomes much more real and multi-layered. Spider-man is a man with issues but one who will never give up on choosing to do the right thing, no matter what the risk to himself.
My only complaint is that the volume has a different illustrator and while the characters have kept the same basic components; there was no attempt to make them identically the same as previously drawn. It was a weird feeling at first as I didn't immediately recognise some of the characters and it took some adjusting to get used to the new renditions. It felt like watching your favourite TV show to find that all the actors have been replaced with similar looking, but obviously different, actors. We'll see if the next volume keeps this new look or if the old illustrator comes back.
Despite the illustration, this is a fabulous entry in the series that will be one of my favourites, if not the top favourite, of the whole canon.