Web-Slinger’s Tale Interlude: The Black Issue

Well today is a touchy subject. See, the day I am writing this is 9/11. I can say I was fortunate enough not to lose anyone in the attacks. So I figured I would review an issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Let’s take a look at Amazing Spider-Man 36 (477). Otherwise known as the Black Issue.

The issue came out three months after the attacks, in December of 2001. It was written by J. Michael Staczynski and has art done by John Romita Jr. I will say that I am normally not a fan of J.R. Jr’s art. However this issue contains one of the most striking splashes ever. The first bit of art you are shown in this issue is… well… its this:

It’s of Spider-Man arriving just after the towers fell. And every panel and splash in the issue is just as jarring, just as powerful. The issue does not make light of the events, doesn’t have some super hero come in to stop the attacks. Matter of fact one of the reasons I love this issue is the hero’s are rendered something that brings them down to the level of regular people. They are rendered vulnerable. Even having people asking where were the the heroes.

The issue does something else as it goes on. As the issue goes on, you start to notice that the heroes start to slide into the background. Regular people start to stand in the forefront more as we see the cleaning of debris:

All leading up to the final splash page:

Now I will not say that this issue is flawless. There is a page in it that involves various various villains helping to clear rubble, and well see for yourself:

With the exception of the Kingpin Wilson Fisk, the villains have no reason to be helping or even here. At the time Magneto himself was still considered a terrorist himself. Doctor Doom sheading a tear was meant to show how horrible the situation was, but instead looked off and silly.

All in all I enjoy this issue. It treats the subject matter with respect. Despite the page with the villains, it’s a good issue.

Time for a tangent. Two actually. Tangent the first: I know there are a ton of conspiracies about 9/11. We knew ahead of time, we did it to ourselves, someone hired them to do it in a massive case of corporate espionage. Personally I don’t care if you believe any of these, but this is not the day to bring them up. Just let it be today. Remember, people lost loved ones in the attacks, and even if you didn’t, you should still have respect for their well being,

Tangent the second: I was in 7th grade when the attacks happened. The town I lived in is not far from the city. You could see the smoke of the buildings from the playground and the classroom windows. I remember seeing my classmates being pulled from school by their parents because they were worried. I was going to my remedial math class (I have issues with fractions) and one of the kids down there told me that the first tower had been hit by a plane, and I was in class when the second hit. I remember coming home after class and finding out my now sister-in-law’s friend’s firehouse had all gone to the towers. I never asked how many came back. This is my memory of that day.


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