on November 29, 2004
I was in New York in 9/11. I was in the WTC on September 8th; I was buying a book from the book store that used to be in the mall. I, like millions of other Americans, feel very close to the events that took place that day. I tear up whenever I hear Tori Amos' "I Can't See New York." And I cried when I read this piece.
I am a big fan of Straczynski. I love Babylon 5, I think "Rising Stars" is brilliant, and I think his work on Spiderman is breathing fresh life into an old book about a teenager who in the wrong hands would have aged without grace. I think the "Happy Birthday" TPB is very, very good. But this is better. The single word, "God..." over a stunning rendering wide shot of the tragedy by John Romita, Jr. catches in your throat, and the rest of Peter's interior monologue is equally appropriate. Captain America's sadness, Magneto's willingness to help, and the respect paid to the firefighters are among the many highpoints of this unique issue.
Now, everyone has talked about how good this issue is, and I've just echoed that, but I would also like to point out how note-perfect the rest of the TPB is. The actual arc of this book is about how Aunt May finally finds out that her Peter is the reviled Spiderman, and how she comes to terms with that.
There are some comically beautiful moments, like when Peter is trying to figure out why Aunt May sounds so upset (he thinks maybe she's dying), and when Aunt May says she is relieved to find out that Peter isn't gay.
JMS also needs some props for writing Aunt May so well. There's a very touching scene, where Peter admits that he could have saved Uncle Ben, and Aunt May forgives him. This scene was sort of in the movie (#2), but it works so much better in this book. In the movie, Aunt May gets mad, but you get the feeling that she's wrong -- she shouldn't be mad at him because scrawny Peter, as she knows him, couldn't conceivably stop a full grown man (a criminal!). In the book, she knows he is a superhero and she knows he could have, SHOULD have, done something, but because she is a wise and loving person, a traditional grand dame from the greatest generation, she gives him the forgiveness he has always wanted but has never been able to ask for.
In short, any self-respecting Spidey fan should own this book.
I do not buy into the notion that "Revelations" was published so that Marvel could exploit their 9/11 issue of "The Amazing Spider-Man." This trade papaerback collection of issues #36-39 follows up on "Coming Home," so there is continuity at work. Besides, given that the current cost of #36 is rougthly the equivalent of what you would have to pay to pick up the previous 35 issues of the comic, there is little to complain about for those who somehow neglected to pick up the issue in the first place.
As it says at the beginning of #36, "We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you the following Special Bulletin." The reaction of Spider-Man, Captain America, and the other Marvel superheroes to the attack on the World Trade Center is out of time and space for the Marvel Universe. The event has to be acknowledged on one level, and it is the emotional response to these events that the comic is about, but on another level it cannot be dealt with. J. Michael Straczysnki and John Romita, Jr. touch upon the issue of where were these superheroes and why did they not do something about this horrible event, but there is not much they can really do about it. Spider-Man is not going to go across the ocean and beat up terrorists the way Superman took on the Axis during World War II. This is not going to happen. For one reason Marvel has no more interest in overshadowing the troops in the field than they do the NYC firefighters and police honored for their sacrifices in this issue. Beyond that such real events expose the Achilles heel of all superheroes: every time Superman is Clark Kent, there are people dying that he could have saved. Issue #36 is thoughtful, extremely so by comic book standards, but the comic book moves on.
Even without the 9/11 tribute, "Revelations" remains a great collection because of the other three issues. At the end of issue #35, Aunt May came into Peter Parker's apartment and found him bruised, beaten, and bandaged, in a deep sleep, his tattered Spider-Man costume at his meet. Issue #37, "Interlude," finds Aunt May wandering the streets, trying to absorb the shock of the revelation, while Peter Parker becomes involved in the life of one of his students, offering a telling counterpoint to the relationship he has with his Aunt. Issue #38, "The Conversation," has Aunt May confronting Peter about his big secret, and there is little time wasted denying the truth. They actually talk about the things these characters should be talking about. This is not a deat bed declaration like it was in Volume 1, much as I liked the way Aunt May finally confronted Peter with the truth atop the Empire State Building on the day she died. This is a key part of an ongoing attempt by this writer and artist to rework the elements of the Spider-Man mythos that have become overworked commonplaces. Now, instead of worrying about hiding his secret identity from Aunt May, Peter gets to worry about her knowing the truth.
Issue #39, "Meanwhile," combines Aunt May dealing with her new perspective on Spider-Man (she cancels her subscription to the "Daily Bugle") with Peter's other major interpersonal headache, being separated from Mary Jane. This is also "The Amazing Spider-Man" entry for the 'Nuff Said sweepstakes, where all of the monthly Marvel titles can up with issues using no dialogue or caption boxes to communicate information. The result is a series of cute and poignant moments that show Straczynski and Romita rose to the challenge and avoiding descending into gimmickry. "Meanwhile" fits quite nicely as an interlude in the storyline, although the bits with Aunt May are a lot better than the unnecessary reminders that Mary Jane and Peter miss each other. This just underscores how these comics are part of the continuity of "The Amazing Spider-Man," and you have to been following the story from at least the point when Straczynski took over as writer to fully appreciate what is happening in these stories. But within that context, they are four of the more memorable issues from Volume 2.
on March 20, 2013
This may have spoilers, but they are very minor, so you should be fine reading this review if you haven't read this graphic novel.
I ordered this from Amazon because the ending of Volume 1 of this series was really interesting, and I really wanted to see what happened. I guess since those reading this review have probably read volume one I'll tell you that Aunt May comes into Peter Parker's room while he's asleep, and sees him banged up from his fight with a super villain. HIs costume is on the ground, and she picks it up with a look of horror on her face. This graphic novel did address what happens after this, but I felt like this was the only reason it was put together.
I felt cheated after reading "Revelations" because another story starts that does not get resolved at all within it. The whole reason they put this graphic novel out seemed to be to address the whole Aunt May thing, and they put the issues that came between the ones from volume one and that story in it as well.
If you read other reviews on here, they discuss the first issue in this book which was about Spider-Man's reaction to 9/11. I thought that it was pretty interesting, and I liked what the writers were doing. However, consistent with some things that other reviewers have said, there is one weird part where there are some super-villains including the King Pin, Magneto, and Dr. Doom standing there. In one panel it shows Dr. Doom crying for the innocents who were killed in 9/11. The thing about this is I view the terrorists who attacked us to be real life super-villains. I don't know too much about Dr. Doom, but from what I understand about his character, this was really inconsistent with who he is because he would probably have done things that were similar to what the terrorists did on 9/11.
I will say that the interaction with Peter Parker and Aunt May was really interesting. I really enjoyed seeing Peter explain himself and Aunt May's reaction. However because of the unresolved ending, this graphic novel made me feel somewhat cheated. If you want my advice, you should look up The Amazing Spider-Man Ultimate Collection by J. Michael Straczynski. It is basically volumes 1-3 of his series, and it does resolve the story (I found it in my library shortly after reading this issue). Here is the link to that on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Spider-Man-Ultimate-Collection-Book/dp/0785138935/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363818595&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Amazing+Spiderman+ultimate+collection+J.+Michael+Straczynski
on June 11, 2006
Through reading these and other recent Spider-Man books (25 issues worth) one thing comes to mind: even through bad stories, Spider-Man is still the man. It may be controversial but I like the idea of Ezekiel, Morlun, the Spider totem, all of it. Spider-Man has to be changed up every once in awhile and this is a much better way to do it then killing people off, or a new costume. As Straczynski's run goes on he shows a new side to Spider-Man/Peter Parker, MJ, Aunt May, even Uncle Ben. Spider-Man is firmly in the Marvel Universe in this series, with random comings and goings from other heroes. On the other hand, Peter Parker is firmly in the real world during this run. Peter Parker in college has been tried before, but Peter Parker (as an adult of course) in high school? Well, that's different and incredibly entertaining. The new villains are memorable and the older cast reminds you why you loved them to begin with.
on June 11, 2003
I had just read Coming home (A must by the way) and the last shot Aunt may standing over a battered Peter had me gripped so I had to get this aswell. The drawings are vivid and great just what we have come to expect from Romita and the story is exciting, a real page turner. So why the not 5 stars? Well my big gripe with this story is the Shade who is spideys enemy at the end. It feels almost like Stracynski has just thought "well the story can't be completely between May and Peter I'll just shove this guy in" Which is a real shame. I personnally would suggest anyone buying Revelations should go for the the double and get Until The Stars Turn Cold with it. It helps to develop the story a little and has a great fight between Doc Ock and his counterpart. Revelations is very good but I'm glad I bought the double.
on December 28, 2002
While the content of the book is good, if they had held off on it's release and combined it with "Until the Stars Grow Cold", it would have been a much better book. As it stands, it's a fairly good read, with JMS's controversial 9/11 issue, and his heralded "Conversation" story. However, it still feels incomplete.
on July 30, 2003
If this work had been produced first, Ultimate Spider-Man never would have been thought of because Spidey never would have lost his glow.
The work that Straczynski and Romita Jr. are doing on this book is fantastic. This trade begins with a look at the 9/11 incedent from the pointof view of a super hero that could do nothing to stop it and who is left to help the NYPD and FDNY with the aftermath. A truly heart wrenching beginning.
If that weren't enough, the book then continues the stroy line from the previous trade (Coming Home). If you haven't read that, get it now and don't read this review any further or I'll spoil the first Straczynski story line for you.
Aunt May has discovered Peter's Spider-Man costume and wants to know what's going on here. Peter and Aunt May have a heart to heart the likes of which haven't been seen in any other Spidey book. This leads to some new "Revelations" not only about Peter, but also about Aunt May and Uncle Ben. A must read for any fan of the one-true Spider-Man (ie. not Ultimate Spidey, which is a fun read, but in my mind an alternate reality).
The follow-up trade "Until the Stars Turn Cold" is another excellent book.
Here's hoping the Amazing Spider-Man continues to spin excellent stories for years to come.
on July 5, 2006
When it comes to comic books, Marvel has the little breathes of reality that gives the reader a feeling that a world with superheroes would be like this. Unlike DC and other complete escapism comics, Marvel touches the soul of the hero. Heroes fail. Normally, they fail in more ways than one. Spider-Man lost the love of his life when he could not save Gwen Stacy.The X-Men are hated and hunted down just because they exist. This is what makes Marvel unique. The "What If" of our world reflected in their world. When 9/11 happened, Marvel had to incorperate it into their universe. New York is the base of many of Marvel's superhero and to just act as 9/11 never happened would be Marvel's lose of their uniqueness. In fact, it would have been an insult to those who suffered in 9/11. Marvel could have had a Superman-like character save the Twin Towers, but it would not ring true. Like everyday people, heroes fail, but like everyday people, they help where they can. In Marvel's interpetetion of 9/11, the heroes were all those who tried to help. Many of those heroes are those who really did save the day. To the Everyday Heroes and to America, the Marvel Universe feels the pain and fights to protect all freedom, even if they cannot save us in this reality, their fight lives within us all.
on February 4, 2003
J. Michael Stracynski and John Romita, Jr.'s tribute to 9/11 alone makes this worth the purchase. The story and the art are great.
on August 13, 2005
This volume begins with a 9/11 tribute that, while touching, seemed really out-of-place. If the sad truth is that comic book heroes aren't real and therefore can't actually save the world, then they don't belong in such serious situations in the first place. I do respect Straczynski taking a creative risk, but this was going a bit too far. Just one panel with Captain America silently standing helpless would've communicated the same message far more powerfully.
Other than that, this volume manages to be as compelling as the last. Aunt May, after collecting her thoughts, confronts her nephew about his true identity. When Peter admits that he could've saved Uncle Ben if not for his selfishness, he finally receives the forgiveness he's always wanted but has never been able to ask for. Sentimental stuff, and an interesting new direction for the Spidey mythos.