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The Amazing Spider-Man – The Gauntlet: The Lizard – Shed (Review)

This April, to celebrate the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we are taking a look at some classic and modern comics featuring Spider-Man (and friends). Check back daily for the latest review.

Shed is the climax of The Gauntlet. It is The Gauntlet pushed to its logical extreme – just about as dark and grim as you could possibly make a story in The Amazing Spider-Man. In many respects, Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo’s Shed starts out as a typical Spider-Man story. Curt Connors has relapsed, as he tends to do. Connors has transformed into the bestial Lizard, and the Lizard has decided to target Connors’ family in order to assert his dominance.

The basic plot is familiar. It is standard Spider-Man fare. Our hero will react to this crisis and fight the Lizard to save the Connors family from the monster that their husband has become. Indeed, Spider-Man may even use Curt Connors’ love his family to help vanquish the Lizard, thus offering readers a “happily ever after” ending to what was an emotional ordeal for all involved. It’s one of the most basic and archetypal of superhero stories, one so compelling because it’s about humanity winning out over basic instinct.

Here there be monsters...

Here there be monsters…

That isn’t what happens in Shed.

What makes Shed so brutally effective is the way that it manages to completely subvert expectations. Thanks to the meddling of outside forces, Peter Parker isn’t able to protect the Connors family; he can’t save the life of Billy Connors; he can’t redeem Curt Connors. The Lizard wins. The Lizard dominates. However, what makes the story so clever is the way that Wells layers another twist on top of this, suggesting that although the mosnter has vanquished the man, the monster may not be unchanged.

Balancing the scales...

Balancing the scales…

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Leapin’ Lizards: Spider-Man’s Next Opponent Revealed…

It was recently revealed that the villain of the Spider-Man reboot would be The Lizard as played by Rhys Ifans. While the presence of Andrew Garfield and Rhys Ifans in the film run the risk of turning the movie into a British invasion, I’m actually relatively impressed by the way that this film is coming together – the casting of Emma Stone and the hiring of director Marc Webb have helped greatly. However, I remain somewhat skeptical of the film – given the nature of its production, the fact that it’s a reboot and unfortunate departure of Sam Raimi. So it comes as something of a bittersweet pill that the villain is named as Spider-Man’s long-term reptile opponent. Apparently Raimi had a long and on-going argument with the studio about the character, him wanting to use the man-sized reptile adversary, but the studio balking over it.

It's not easy being green

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