Spider-Man’s world has turned upside down, but seriously, how many times have we said that over his 55 year career? This issue weaves in Anti-Venom, kicks into gear an old favorite goblin, and progresses Carnage’s hold of a major Spidey villain. Just another day for the webhead.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Your favorite teen heroes return to Los Angeles, but it’s not the same city they left so long ago. The Runaways try to stay off the radar, but the sins of their parents won’t make that possible…
Why does this matter?
As we get closer to Marvel’s push for change in May, Spider-Man’s life is seemingly simpler and more in tune with his roots. That means walls breaking, redheads falling in love, and the status quo normalizing. Who doesn’t want to see the progress of that?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Better luck next time Spider-Man.
Every issue of Amazing Spider-Man hypes the Red Goblin just a little bit whilst dropping Spider-Man into a done in one story with some quality character building. That is a decent recipe as it allows series writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage to tick off all the boxes as far as Spider-Man fans are concerned. This issue heightens Peter’s ever-changing relationship with MJ, starts to introduce a world where Flash Thompson’s Anti-Venom is mucking up the hero beat and progresses some villainy in the process. By the end of the issue, there’s plenty of entertaining one-liners, foibles, and Parker luck moments. All in all, it’s hard to deny this has it all.
I’m not going to lie, some of the jokes in this issue literally made me laugh out loud. Most notably when Anti-Venom remarks on how he won’t do something… and then goes ahead and does it. It’s fun to see their outside-looking-in approach to dropping some funny bits as its usual effect in annoying the villain is thrown out and it’s more like the characters are trying their best to not leave us hanging.
There’s also enough “new” in Spider-Man’s life to make this comic feel fresh. It may never seem right that J. Jonah Jameson knows Spider-Man is Peter Parker, but Gage and Slott weave in a clever way for him to actually aid Spidey in this story that’s quite clever.
Mike Hathorne draws this issue and keeps the art to the point and simple. A fun full page splash early on in the issue shows a dejected Spider-Man as he watches Anti-Venom swing away; it captures the lovable loser nature of Spidey and how even in the hero business he can’t catch a break. A highlight of the issue is the use of sonics on Spider-Man. In these scenes, Hawthorne uses a sketchy style on the edges of Spidey to convey the sonics rattling him and it’s effective.
Jameson and Peter…friends?!
It can’t be perfect can it?
Some of the art can look a bit boring or unfinished. In one moment Hawthorn is drawing an impressive Carnage with flesh peeling away while in another a henchman can look too simplistic.
I’m probably not the only person who thinks this Red Goblin story is being strung out. Norman Osborn has basically been sitting in his office contemplating the Carnage symbiote for three issues now. It adds a bit of anticipatory storytelling, but it’s worn so thin you’ll be rolling your eyes with this issue (even though it takes a big step forward).
Is It Good?
This issue hits all the marks when it comes to a solid Spider-Man story. It might be drawing out Norman Osborn’s plan and some of the art can look basic, but it’s a good action adventure issue.
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