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Amazing Spider-Man #530: Review

May 2006
J. Michael Straczynski, Tyler Kirkham

Story Name:

Mr Parker goes to Washington, part 2 of 3

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Amazing Spider-Man #530 Review by (April 4, 2016)
Mr Fantastic and Invisible Woman watch Tony Stark's press mugging on TV. This is mirrored in their own Fantastic Four #536, also written by J Michael Straczynski. In that issue MrF has also returned from a secret Illuminati meeting.

There is a question over which of the Illuminati meeting in their 1-shot this was. FF#536's flashback looks like the 3rd meeting where the Registration Act is being discussed. But the Official Indexes and the online Marvel Chronology Project place these issues after the 2nd meeting where they decide to exile Hulk into space (leading to Planet Hulk and eventually World War Hulk). This I think was because Stark is against the Registration Act here, but is for it in Illuminati meeting 3 and Civil War. Initially the 3rd meeting was left near CW, after Iron Man (2005) #12 where he could be understood to change his mind.
But in 2013 I asked for clarification of all this on the MCP forum. And as a result the 3rd meeting was brought back in time to between this issue and next, and before FF#536 so that flashback could be accurate. A pity because I preferred the idea of it being after IM#12. I wish I'd kept my mouth shut now! (There is *no* solution that makes complete sense.)

Tony Stark was Secretary of Defence from IM(1998)#78 to Avengers Disassembled (a short run).
After Disassembled he also pretended to give up being Iron Man and claims to have passed the job to someone else. As we can tell here many people don't believe him.

The flashback shows post-WWII Captain America, Human Torch and Sub-Mariner fighting a reptilian humanoid. I don't think this is any particular known reptilian humanoid.

Tony Stark's maths is atrocious. At his level of approximation $200 billion over 60 years is actually $3 billion per year not $300 million. But it's still a small fraction of the DOD budget (if that's correct).

It seems that the Registration Bill isn't as secret as the Illuminati 1-shot makes out (another problem for the MCP trying to make sense of all this). And I didn't think that this Committee was actually the long-running Committee on Superhuman Affairs (without its regular members like Val Cooper).

This Titanium Man is the original, Boris Bullski, but in the armour he adopted in IM(1998)#49.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Amazing Spider-Man #530 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Peter Parker is waiting at an airport to board Tony Stark's private jet. Tony arrives in a limo and Peter asks why he left Avengers Tower at midnight last night. Stark says he had a meeting and won't elucidate further. (We see a flashback that tells us it was an Illuminati meeting. And an editorial comment directs us to the New Avengers: Illuminati 1-shot.)

Tony tells Peter he's brought a new improved version of the Spider-Man costume he gave him last issue. And they fly off to Washington. On the way they discuss the Senate Committee hearing they're going for. It's about the Bill to create the Superhuman Registration Act which will require superhumans to register their real names with the government. Peter is worried about the information being hacked or leaked. Tony says he's attending the hearing to argue against it.

When they get to their hotel Peter examines his new costume, with a handy recorded summary of the enhancements. It can now turn invisible. (It doesn't make the wearer invisible, so the feature is designed for when Peter's wearing it under his normal clothes.) It can also disguise itself as any of his earlier costumes, or go into camouflage mode. It also has 3 mechanical arms that extrude from his back on thought command. There are eyes on the end for peering round corners.

When Peter meets Tony again and they drive to the Senate Committee, they don't notice an armoured assassin watching them from a rooftop.

At the meeting the chairman Senator Dickerson is hostile. He welcomes Stark as an industrialist, former Secretary of Defence, and Iron Man. When Tony protests that he is no longer the Golden Avenger, Dickerson asks if he would say that under oath. Stark counters that he'll need to bring in a legal team if he's going to testify under oath. Dickerson drops it and hands over to Senator Whatmore.

Whatmore says that in the 60 years since the end of WWII (we see a flashback of the Invaders fighting a monster) superhuman conflict has caused an estimated $200 billion in damage. Stark responds that superheroes have saved the US from being destroyed or conquered 47 times (I should say at least that) during that period. And spread over that period $200 billion is just $300 million per year. And the this year's DOD budget is $419 billion. Superheroes are cheap.

Whatmore changes tack and says superhero identities should be known so they can be held accountable for mistakes, like doctors, pilots and cab drivers are. Stark has no answer to that, but Parker is given permission to speak. He says supervillains need superheroes to respond to them (the flashback this time is Spidey vs Venom). But superheroes have loved ones to worry about, and if their identities were known the bad guys would attack them in their civilian identities and their families would be collateral damage.

Whatmore counters that police and others face the same threat. But Peter says the police, etc chose the job. Most superheroes had powers thrust upon them (flashbacks to his origin and those of Daredevil and Hulk), but with great power came great responsibility. Whatmore replies that registering on the government's secure database would mean the heroes got the support of the police, etc.

Whatmore thinks he's on a winning streak and calls a recess. Tony suggests that if Peter is asked any more questions he should make his answers as brief as possible - never volunteer information. But he agrees with Peter's point.

Peter calls home to Mary Jane to share his woes. While he's on the phone his spider-sense tingles but he can't see any danger. But we see the him in the sniper's sights.

They're called back in to the meeting, and 4 hours 15 minutes later it's still going on. Stark says the system of anonymous heroes has worked well, and changing it would be dangerous. A possibly friendly committee member asks him to explain. Tony replies that Prohibition and the Vietnam draft turned ordinary citizens into criminals. He foresees this happening again. Dickerson sees that as a threat and asks whose side Stark would be on. Tony reiterates his loyalty to his country and government. The meeting is closed until the next day.

On the way out of the building the press corner Stark and ask him if he was meeting with the Committee on Superhuman Affairs about the proposed Registration Act, and how did it go. He's non-committal. Peter wonders if they shouldn't have been alerting the people to what's going down - he's sure they'll support the heroes.

Then his spider-sense goes off again and he pushes Tony out of the way of a bullet. The armoured watcher lands in front of them, and Stark recognises him as Titanium Man.

As everyone else runs away Peter blinds T-Man with webbing and activates his costume. They fight until the military arrive, assuming as usual that Spidey and the Russian are in league. The army open fire, Titanium Man flies away, and Spider-Man tags along on a web line.


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Tyler Kirkham
Jay Leisten
John Starr
Ron Garney (Cover Penciler)
Ron Garney (Cover Inker)
Ron Garney (Cover Colorist)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Daredevil
Daredevil

(Matt Murdock)
Hulk
Hulk

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Spider-Man
Spider-Man

(Peter Parker)