Spider-Man: Lizard: No Turning Back Hardcover – Oct 10 2012
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About the Author
Dan Slott is an American comic book writer best known for The Amazing Spider-Man, Arkham Asylum: Living Hell and She-Hulk. He is the current writer of the twice monthly The Amazing Spider-Man. He currently lives in New York City
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In Marvel Comic's Spider-Man: Lizard - No Turning Back by Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli, Spider-Man will find out how far the Lizard has gone to erase the man that is Curt Connors.
The writer, Slott, delves into the inner psyche of the Lizard when a cure has been discovered for his reptilian condition by Morbius, the Living Vampire. Morbius is the victim of science gone wrong just like the Lizard and is testing the cure on the reptile before turning it on himself. The cure as imagined by Slott reverts the Lizard to his human form but the reptile brain remains.
Through the Lizard's attempts to return to his reptilian body, Spider-Man is able to discover the true nature of the Lizard. Could the good man Spider-Man thought he knew in Curt Connors really be the driving force behind the vicious nature of the Lizard? Slott uses the Lizard's test subjects to examine the natural behavior of lizards.
Slott's portrayal of Spider-Man throughout this ordeal digs deep into the character's core. Spider-Man is overcome with guilt over the loss of a friend he could not save; it is pushing him closer to the edge. Using this guilt, Slott puts Spider-Man in unsettling positions where he must make the difficult choices from where there is no going back.
Camuncoli's artwork is stunning in its portrayal of Spider-Man's battle with the Lizard. Spider-Man looks like the hero; he is doing everything within his power to stop the Lizard. Camuncoli's art shows the grace of Spider-Man even as the character takes a beating. Then there is the Lizard who Camuncoli depicts as a menacing creature. The size of the beast compared to the hero gives him his ferociousness, with his slender mid-section that is contorted to all sorts of strange body shapes that captures the monstrosity that was once a man.
Spider-Man's frustration and desperation in his fights with the Lizard and Morbius exudes onto the page. Camuncoli shows you that Spider-Man has had it with these twisted freaks harming others. He has tried to help them but now he can't take it anymore. The art conveys these emotions beautifully.
Spider-Man: Lizard - No Turning Back collects The Amazing Spider-Man issues 688 to 691 (and a story by Kurt Busiek from Untold Tales of Spider-Man). Through the No Turning Back story, Slott and Camuncoli show Spider-Man realizing his limitations. Spider-Man who pledged no one would die while he was around is now realizing the impossible nature of that pledge. The change in Spider-Man begins here.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Mario Del Pennino (pencils), Victor Olazaba, Daniel Green, Giuseppe Camuncoli (inks) Frank D'Armata (colors), Giuseppe Camuncoli, Frank D'Armata, J. Scot Campbell, Edgar Delgado, Matthew Clark, Tom Plamer, Frank Martin, Joe & Adam Kubert, Dean White, Shane Davis, Mark Morales, Justin Ponsor (covers)
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man #688-691, Untold Tales of Spider-Man #8
This particular Spider-Man story arc was timed for release to coincide with the new Amazing Spider-Man movie that came out in the summer of 2012. Like the movie, the star villain of this book is The Lizard. The Lizard is a character that's been around for a very long time, yet I think that Dan Slott has had the best overall stories that focus on the character. Whether or not this is true, I have to say that he does a wonderful take on the character. There is still the classic battle of man VS Self in the person of Dr. Conners, yet it is taken to all new heights under Slott's guidance.
Also in the book, Peter Parker's on-going battle with Dr. Morbius comes to a head, again. Reluctantly trusting Morbius to help cure Conners, Peter goes against his own better judgment and then comes down really hard on both himself and Morbius when everything goes to hell. It's a great story - and one that is nearly self-contained in the pages of this book. As story arcs go, this one is short and sweet, but that doesn't mean it wasn't enjoyable.
Cammuncoli is a treat on this book - drawing some of the best issues of Spider-Man I've seen in months. He is definitely one of my favorite illustrators that is in the stable of Spider-Man artists. The rest of the art team does a great job, as well. Frank D'Armata is one of the best in the biz when it comes to coloring, and never disappoints.
Rapidly closing in on the landmark 700th issue, things are sure to be in for a shake-up, and there are more foreboding message from Madame Web to Peter Parker in this very issue. Can't wait to see where things go from here! Spider-Man continues to be one of the best on-going series at Marvel!
Cool Factor: 8/10
After "Spider-Island" completed though, the quality of the title began ever-so-slightly slipping. First off was the post-event "Flying Blind" arc, which also featured the art of penciler Guiseppe Camuncoli and inker extraordinaire Klaus Janson, which was still solid, as well as some of the other following arcs, but it was starting to become evident that Slott seemed to be starting to run out of steam during the mini-event that was "Ends of the Earth", which should have been the epic that "Spider-Island" was, but Slott never really seemed to be able to reach those previous heights. Now, right in time for the release of the newest Spider-Man film, which features The Lizard as the main villain, we get "No Turning Back", which just so happens to feature The Lizard as the main villain. Coincidence? I don't think so.
The layout here is that Spider-Man, coming off of the tragedy that befell him at the climax of "Ends of the Earth", is coming back to Horizon Labs only to find himself teaming up with Michael Morbius in order to stop another Lizard rampage. The two end up stopping The Lizard and actually curing him of his horrible Jekyll/Hyde affliction at Horizon, but a terrible truth comes to light as The Lizard becomes Dr. Curt Connors once more: His psyche has become so fractured from the horrific acts he's committed as The Lizard (such as the murder of his own son) that he no longer thinks like Connors. He now thinks like The Lizard, and he will wreak whatever havoc he possibly can on the employees of Horizon and anyone else who gets in his way so that he can become who he believes he truly is now.
Spidey's motto of 'no one dies' is obviously under assault during this arc as Mary Jane, running her new nightclub, calls him out on that idea, which is something I've personally been waiting for for quite some time, because while that motto is very positive, it's also very unrealistic and somewhat arrogant. It's also under assault as a blood-crazed Morbius (tricked by Connors) runs rampant throughout the labs and then later out onto the street in a seemingly interminable (and frankly very boring) battle between these longtime frenemies, while Connors is going from scientist to scientist at Horizon looking to different ways to cure his humanity. There are some nice character beats here, but more often than not, the 'action' is actually what drags this arc down. My two biggest complaints with this arc are the following: First is the art by Camuncoli and Janson. If you're going to get an inker like Janson, there is literally no reason to have a penciler. Anything Klaus Janson inks ends up looking like Klaus Janson's art. There's no getting around his harsh lines and extreme definition, no matter how Camuncoli might dress it up. It's really the wrong style for a book like this. When I first saw their work on the Vulture-centric "Flying Blind" arc, it was more tolerable because a more interesting story was going on there, but here, the problems with it are too glaring to avoid. The second could go either way, but it speaks to Marvel and their editorial dictatorship. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN seems incredibly micro-managed by Marvel's Powers That Be, and this never helps. It always hurts (look at "One More Day" for evidence of that), and it really doesn't feel consistent with what Slott's direction was. It really seems like he was told he needed to write a Lizard-centric tale because the big Summer film is coming out with The Lizard as the bad guy. I understand that most, if not all, of the major publishers consider comics as commerce, but there has to be a point when the editors have to let the creators breathe.
There are good things that come out of this as well, and they do have the edge as far as the book is concerned, but it's really only slightly above average.
I wish I could say better things about this arc, but when it comes down to it, "No Turning Back" felt rushed, inorganic, and very haphazard.