By Joe Kelly (Writer), Marco Chachetto (Art), and Chris Chuckry (Colors)

Some Thoughts Before The Review: Since Joe Kelly’s been on a roll lately (Four Eyes), picking up his “American Son” story was something of a no-brainer for me. I enjoyed the first two issues quite a bit (Rob’s reviews are pretty much dead on) and I looked forward to seeing where Kelly takes the story next. One thing though…what’s the deal with having a different art team for each chapter?! It’s absolutely killing me…

The Story: The “American Son” project is revealed as Spidey infiltrates the Dark Avengers by disguising himself as Venom/Mac Gargan/Spider-Man. Harry, meanwhile, thinks of a plan that can eliminate Menace, save his child, and save his lover.

What’s Good: Joe Kelly continues to weave one hell of a Spider-Man tale that takes full advantage of the Dark Reign concept. Watching Spidey take the offensive against Norman and his Avengers is a lot of fun thanks to Kelly’s sharp, surprising dialogue (love Peter’s “Venom” talk) and compelling plot twists. And while chapter three of “American Son” puts most of the politics on hold in favor of some action, the story still manages to move forward at a nice -though slightly fast- pace, especially in regards to the titular American Son.

The moody color work by Chris Chuckry is definitely the highlight of the art package, which is something of a mixed-bag. That said, Marco Chachetto’s work proves to be a good fit for the story. His character designs are strong, his panel layouts are unique, and a few of his action panels are extremely well done.

What’s Not So Good: One complaint I have about The Amazing Spider-Man #597 is that it lacks the depth found in the first two “American Son” chapters. Most of Spidey’s cast is put on the back-burner in favor of action, as a result, I found myself a bit let down by the latest part of Kelly’s Dark Reign tie-in. And the worst part? The action I’m talking about isn’t executed all that well. A few scenes look very good, but Marco Chachetto litters some pages with so many panels that it becomes a chore to try and sort out the correct flow of action. Though I suppose that one could make a case that the panel layout is supposed to reflect Spider-Man’s confusion…

Conclusion: A strong ending keeps the third chapter of “American Son” on par with the rest of the arc. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely worth reading.

Grade: B-

-Kyle Posluszny

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