It’s a brand new day for Spider-Man today (sorry) as he’s getting a new costume and kicking off a “new era” with Nick Spencer and Patrick Gleason at the helm. But wait, he’s got a new job too! It’s exciting to see Spider-Man might be turning over a new leaf, especially after the “Last Remains” storyline put a sort of cap on Kindred. In many ways, this new issue gets back to the original concepts Spencer played with, like Boomerang being an obnoxious roommate, a lighter tone, and Kingpin seriously needing to kill Boomerang, the jerk.
The central element of this issue is Spider-Man’s new costume, which opens the book before we get a full rundown of where it came from. That comes midway into the book, which is revealed by Norah Winters. It’s in this scene Spencer explains the purpose of the suit, its abilities, and why Peter is getting it at all. It’s a clever idea and it’s smartly tied to Spider-Man making scratch as a news-gathering source for Threats and Menaces. Spencer also rightly reminds us this concept isn’t necessarily new — we’ve seen something like it with Screwball’s antics, and it flips the money-making aspects onto Spider-Man rather than Peter Parker. This has the potential for new and different stories, which is always exciting with a character as long-running as Spider-Man.
We also get more J. Jonah Jameson who is still a fan of Spider-Man’s, a check-in with the Daily Planet, and a thorough reminder Kingpin wants Boomerang dead. Spencer juggles these subplots well, further reminding us the world of Spider-Man is a tangled web (sorry again!). Also in the mix is a fun idea involving Peter’s photography skills, a social media platform not unlike Instagram, and a reminder Peter has a pet he cares dearly about.
Gleason does a great job making the suit look cool across a montage of Spider-Man antics. There’s a great layout of Jameson screaming at Spider-Man over a headset and Spider-Man attempting to follow his orders. It’s not easy dropping one-liners while fighting crime, apparently. Scenes with Kingpin are always mysterious and foreboding thanks to the framing and colors. Colors by Edgar Delgado do well to capture the city lights on Kingpin’s face, or the glow of a hologram of the ever-annoying Boomerang across Kingpin’s meeting table.
The new costume is certainly a conversation starter. The fact that it glows, with streaming lights, serves as a reminder of its function to be camera-ready. A few of the panels of the costume look a tad off — in one it seems like Gleason forgot to draw Spider-Man’s neck with the helmet squishing into his body, and in another, the “web-muck” doesn’t quite sell what is happening. Sometimes goons around Kingpin can look a tad half-baked too as if Gleason ran out of time.
The comedy is pulled off well thanks to the visuals. Boomerang’s last known position on the final page is a fantastic example — little details like puppies in the shot and the angle of onlookers help sell the ridiculousness of Boomerang and his ego. There’s a great beat where an advertisement is shot off above Spider-Man’s head that has great timing, as another example.
Amazing Spider-Man #61 kicks off the “Let’s Try Something New” story arc and stands by that name in entertaining ways. Spider-Man’s inability to pull in cash is not a new concept, but the job he gets in this issue and how it ties into the new costume is a clever idea. For that alone, this is a great place to start for Spider-Man fans looking for some innovation and new ideas.
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