When the New York City Police Department respond to a distress call, they enter an apartment to see the remains of one of their own. Captain Jean DeWolff is found brutally slain, and it has been revealed that she was murdered close range with a double barrel shotgun blast to the torso. Her fellow officers are scrambling for leads and coming up empty. However, one of DeWolff's friends will not rest until her killer is brought to justice, and he is the Amazing Spider-Man. Together with Sgt. Carter, the two attempt to find DeWolff's killer. -summary
I seriously wish that I was around when this story was first released back in 1985. Well, I was around, but I wasn't quite able to fully comprehend the magnitude of this story. The point that I'm trying to make here is that I would have better understood the fans reaction, in regards to killing off a strong supporting character, *snaps fingers* "just like that". Which was the case of Captain Jean DeWolff, as she was a recurring character in the Spider-Man mythos, and word was, there was still so much that could have been done with her. Looking back at it now, killing off a character who was still bursting with potential is pretty cool.
The Amazing Spider-Man: The Death of Jean DeWolff is a four part series written by Peter David, and is a trade paper back that collects Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man issues 107 - 110. The story follows Spider-Man as he searches the city for any leads on DeWolff's killer, who calls himself the Sin-Eater. The story is indeed gripping, dark, and most of all, believable.
The character development is very strong all around for the major players. We get to know the sinister drive of the Sin-Eater, and along with being a cold blooded murderer, he's also a formidable opponent, because he was able to battle Spider-Man and make a get away. Spider-Man is also heavily delved into, as the reader gets to see a side of him that was rare for the time. Although Spider-Man's intentions are indeed noble, he soon becomes blinded by his bloodlust, and in doing so, in some ways, he takes steps into becoming what he's so against. Thus, becoming a villain in the eyes of the people he's protecting. Spider-Man's antics also puts him at odds with Daredevil, and he plays a big role as well, since he too suffers the loss of a friend to the Sin-Eater. Daredevil is also examined, as we get to see a selfish side to his personality, which eventually eats away at him.
This story isn't completely standard comic book fare. The reader gets their fill of your average "superheroing", but what drives the narrative away from your basic good vs. evil storytelling, are the realistic themes that come up; to name only one, such as the publics safety in regards to the police and even criminals. I can't exactly get into it without spoiling major plot points, and this is something I won't do. But I will mention that the overall questions asked, and the themes examined are thought provoking because they feel so genuine.
Although the artwork has a dated feel, I still think it's passable. I enjoyed the hand to hand action scenes, and the murder panels of Sin-Eater taking people out with his shotgun can be a little disturbing, even though the kills aren't very graphic. I do have somewhat of an issue with the character designs, because everyone seems to be too much of the same size in height and muscularity. But the strong story and plot easily overshadows these small issues for me.
The Death of Jean DeWolff is a very important piece of history in the world of Spider-Man. The outcome of this story had major consequences, such as Spider-Man developing a fear of his own strength, which leads to him suffering a crushing defeat to Electro much later on. Most importantly, this story would also play heavily into the birth of Venom, one of Spider-Man's most persistent and deadliest enemies.
In closing, this is among the best Spider-Man stories I have ever read. It's well paced, has a very strong story and plot, great ending, and the action panels aren't that far apart. It isn't overly action driven as let's say Round Robin, and definitely isn't as slow pace as Kraven's Last Hunt. But I would surely consider it a must read for comic fans. Recommended.
Pros: -Gripping and well paced narrative -Great ending -Lack of predictability -Guest star
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
What's your opinion on Spider-Man: The Death of Jean DeWolff?