Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol 2), Issue 36

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski 
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Scott Hanna
Colours: Dan Kemp
Letters: Richard Starkings & Wes Abbott
Editors: Axel Alonso & John Miesgaes

Released: December 2001

Stand Tall is one of the most powerful and poignant stories in Spider-Man's history. Written as a tribute to the civilians who were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the emergency services who worked tirelessly to save them. 

The issue opens with Spider-man staring at the flaming rubble of Ground Zero, looking absolutely horrifed, to the point where he can't speak. Mentally, he's numb, he cannot comprehend what's going on, why someone would do this kind of thing. He also cannot forgive the guilty parties for doing this either. As he web swings into the chaos, he's blamed for the incident, questioned as to why he let this sort of thing happen. He can't answer and enters the dust cloud to help with the rescue, 

Outside, Captain America, Thing, Thor and Daredevil are helping with the clean up and rescue as well, They are joined by the supervillains. Doctor Doom, Kingpin, Magneto, Juggernaut and Doctor Octopus. Even though they are usually villains, not today, they are allies. Even they realise that this is inhumane compared to what they do. They aid in the rescue, with even Doctor Doom shedding a tear. 

Spider-Man reflects on who the real superheroes were that day. The ordinary people who tried to help the others escape. The ones who sheltered others from the dust cloud. The civilians who tried to rescue Flight 93. He also reflects on the emergency services, the ones who faced certain death, but did their jobs. 

As he takes a small breather, he finds a small boy sitting on some rubble. Spider-Man tries to move the child to safety, but the child tells him that is father will come back for him later and to stay there. It's revealed that his father was a firefighter and is seen being carried out of the wreckage on a stretcher and is dead. The boy runs over to his father on the stretcher and mourns. Spider-Man states that "The death of innocents results in the death of innocence".

As Spider-Man goes to get water, a wounded woman takes him by the hand and asks why he didn't stop it and why it happened. He can't answer. He speaks to Captain America. Cap understands the pain again, having lived through Pearl Harbour, D-Day and the Holocaust. Spider-Man wonders how they can tell their children now of how evil the world was. Maybe that behind every face, there'll be a thought that will give them nightmares? Maybe they should apologise. Apologise for not making the world perfect and as safe as they'd like. That we should tell the world we're sorry, shoulder the burden with everyone else and tell everyone that they love them. 

Spider-Man looks over and sees heroes and villains standing shoulder to shoulder with civilians and emergency services. He realises they're at war now. That the US didn't see these deaths coming and those responsible will never see theirs coming either. However, he realises that we create our own destiny and we are responsible for the future we leave for our children. Terrorists may try and weaken the human spirit with repeated attacks and causing mass casualties, however, noone will stop you shedding tears, no plane or maniac can stop that. The grief of one is shared by many and as such, they are stronger than any terrorist with a bomb. 

It ends with Spider-Man telling everyone to unite and stand tall. 

Quote1 Only madmen could contain the thought, execute the act, fly the planes. The sane world will always be vulnerable to madmen, because we cannot go where they go to conceive of such things. We could not see it coming. We could not be here before it happened. We could not stop it. But we are here now. You cannot see us for the dust, but we are here. You cannot hear us for the cries, but we are here. Quote2