Monday, August 12, 2013

GN Review: The Amazing Spider-Man: Lizard: No Turning Back

What a mouthful that title is....Hi there! Welcome back to another review here at The Real World According To Sam! I've been going through books like crazy, so here comes yet another. Today's review is of a Graphic Novel (GN). It features not only one of my absolute favorite superheros, but also one of my top favorite villains EVER! THE LIZARD!!!!!!

Hmm...perhaps I should start with a little bit of background for those of you unfamiliar with the world of Spider-Man. In high school, Peter Parker gets bit by a spider and gets superpowers. In college he has a professor by the name of Dr. Curt Conners. Dr. Conners is missing an arm and was experimenting with lizard DNA to see if the regenerative properties they had could apply to humans, testing his formula on himself. It backfired and he became The Lizard. He has varied between himself and The Lizard on many occassions; saved by one formula and an accident leads to him turning back or something. Dr. Conners is one of the characters I feel the most sympathy towards and also one of the most fascinating villains I am familiar with.

Here is one of the latest Spidey-Lizard encounters!

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The Amazing Spider-Man: Lizard: No Turning Back
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli + Mario del Pennino
Rating: 4/5


This was one of the ones I picked up from the library a couple weeks ago. I am a sucker for good graphic novels and this once caught my attention because it focused on The Lizard. The cover was so dark and catching, I couldn't resist. 

In this GN, Peter Parker appears to be older and a bit more...edgy than I'm used to. Let me talk a bit about how Peter Parker is here. The Peter Parker I know is the high school/college student trying to figure out how to fit Spider-Man together with all the other hectic things in life he is responsible for. The Peter Parker I have always known has dark brownish hair. Here, he looks a bit....blondish. Perhaps its just the light and angle of the images, but that threw me off a bit. Peter Parker didn't look like Peter Parker. I didn't know it was Peter until somebody called the character I was looking at by the same name. The body shape wasn't what I'm used to his being (was pretty bulky) and I can't tell if he's in college or if this is later in life.

Peter feels bad about so many people being dead and he vows that no one will die when he is around. Pretty impossible vow overall. Mary Jane owns a nightclub and decides to throw Peter a party. But Peter gets a call from a cop and has to leave to see what's going on. Dr. Michael Morbius (living vampire) dug up the grave of one Billy Connors (Dr. Connors son) and needs to be apprehended. He is working at a lab, run by a scientist guy (Modell) Peter knows and has probably worked with at some point. Morbius however, is working on a cure for The Lizard who is at large in the sewer. Morbius and Spidey team up to see if the cure will work.


The rest that ensues is crazy Lizard mayhem. The Lizard persona has taken over Conners and havoc is being wreaked. Somebody is stealing blueprints from the lab and before you know it Morbius has lost control and his hunger has taken over. Spidey has to save the day, as usual.


This GN is really crazy. It goes beyond the Lizard we've seen in the past and pushes his limits. Please welcome The Lizard 2.0. Just kidding, 2.0 Lizard would probably be a bunch of robotic versions... which might actually be pretty neat. Ok, let me shut off my imagination enough to get through this review.


Spider-Man: Lizard: No Turning Back
The images are pretty cool, but none of them top the cover. Geez, its so dark and disconcerting. The storyline is pretty intriguing and the action never stops. Peter Parker is really starting to feel like he's getting out of hand though. He's losing it...not in the way that he's losing his spidey touch, but in the way that he's just losing who he was and everything he stood for. Things are spinning out of control and it feels like he's trying to achieve a kind of....control over things that isn't possible. He's pushing extremes and I'm pretty sure that if he doesn't sort himself out soon, he'll be close to reaching the Dark Side of the Force like Anakin or something.

 Lizard: No Turning Back is quick, but definitely not breezy. This is not a feel-good happy ending GN, but then, when is Spider-Man ever completely off the hook with everything hunky-dory? Pretty much never, in my experience. The action is there and there's lots of adrenaline going as the GN progresses. Another successful Spider-Man adventure.


At the end of the main feature is another Spider-Man adventure. Untold Tales of Spider-Man #9, written by Kurt Busiek, penciler Ron Frenz. This one is an older adventure...the cover of it shows it as being May '96, which seems accurate based on the art style. Here we get Spider-Man, the Lizard, and Batwing. I had never heard of Batwing until now. Apparently he is some kid that ended up mutating into a big bat somhow. He has sharp fangs, bat wings and reddish pink eyes. Still has his brown hair and is completely skin color. Even has the bat talons on his feet to match. Here's the deal: Spidey was going to take him to see Doc Connor (who is human and has already been changed from being the Lizard), in the hopes that Doc Connors can fix up a formula to change Batwing back to normal. Doc Connors does, but he ends up having yet another accident. The formula was based on the one that changed him into the Lizard, so when he gets a cut and some of the formula slips into it, he changes back. That's when all the action begins.


The one thing I can say that I don't really like about this one is....the way the Lizard is illustrated. I get that this was a pretty long time ago but he doesn't look fearsome. His snout is not at all the proper length. Thats what bothers me. The snout is too short to have any sort of menacing quality.......snout aside, its fun and enjoyable. At first I thought it was just a bad shadow, but it turned out to be just a super short, not very good looking snout. Perhaps I'm too picky about my reptilian beings, but I know that they could've done better on it.


What I did like a lot was seeing the cover variations for each dividing segment (for those unfamiliar with comics...each one is a short part of a big story and these GNs are basically volumes with 3-4 of these short stories. Each one is numbered and is separated from the one preceding it by an image. One solid image without words. Usually Marvel includes the ones that were possibilities and are really good.) I like seeing the variations a lot. Some of them look pretty sick. These all had some sort of Lizard deal so I liked them a whole lot.


A quick, action filled read, The Amazing Spider-Man: Lizard: No Turning Back is best for those familiar with the story of Spider-Man and the Lizard. New audiences who've not experienced Spider-Man before would probably get lost in all that is going on.


This concludes another review, thanks for reading and remember, "With great power, comes great responsibility."

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