Writer: Nick Spencer / Artist: Chris Bachalo / Marvel Comics
A transcript of me coming across The Amazing Spider-Man 19.HU (Definitely not playing close attention): “OK, here’s another ‘.HU’ Spider-Man. Cool, we got Lizard on the cover. I wonder what they’ll try this ti. . . BACHALO!!!!!”. The second of these in-between issues that I’ve read, 19.HU brings us a Lizard story illustrated by one of my favorite artists. The end of the last issued showed Taskmaster bringing in the previously elusive Lizard to Arcade. At the same time, Billy the Lizard-kin is with Blackcat who’s made her move towards both of their freedom from Kraven’s prison. Lizard leaves the sewers to find his son. Armed with strength, speed, senses and that scaled tail of badassery (trademark pending), the Lizard is usually more than up to the task. A self-inflicted handicap, though, threatens to make the mission all but impossible. Connors has made it so that he will be paralyzed at the sign of aggression towards anything alive. How does the lizard find and protect his son without being able to bite or strike?
Please grant the fanboy slice of my brain the stage first. I adore Chris Bachalo art. Ever since his run on Uncanny X-Men he’s been an artist that I will pick up a previously unread title for (In fact, that’s why I picked Amazing Spider-Man back up). I was particularly struck this issue by his monstrous take on Lizard. I’m most used to seeing Connors depicted as a dinosaur looking character. Even the cover gives him more of a crocodilian feel. Bachalo draws him like an iguana with menacing, beady red eyes. If you’re like me, the first image that pops in my head when I think of the Lizard is him whipping that tail at Spider-Man in the 90’s cartoon intro (damn. That guitar rift is going to be stuck in my head all day) so watching him use not-violent tactics to get around the inhibitor chip was fascinating. Oh, and I can never say this enough: A GIANT LIZARD IN A LABCOAT JUMPING AROUND NEW YORK IS THE GREATEST!!!
Nick Spencer is doing something wonderful in these .HU issues. The moving delves into the individual characters, in turn, fosters emotional investment in them during the main story. Not to be outdone by his work on Gibbon (Madame Web rest his soul) Lizard’s fascinatingly tragic history is woven into his mission through inner monologue masterfully. Unlike many villains who embrace their lifestyle through justification, malice or denial Lizard is truly racked with guilt, self-loathing and dedication to redemption. I’m looking forward to the upcoming interactions between Connors, Blackcat and Taskmaster. Even more so, I can’t wait to see which character gets the “.HU” treatment next.
10 “Villainous Brooklyn Beer Tents” out of 10