Just two short weeks ago, Nick Spencer, Patrick Gleason and Dustin Weaver revealed a brand new costume for Spider-Man that comes with a clever concept — this new suit was given to Spider-Man from his new job at Threats and Menaces, which is also run by J.Jonah Jameson. Now he’s fighting crime and making money doing it! The suit offers plenty of opportunities for fan interaction and it has immediately made Spider-Man’s life as a hero more complex. This week, he’s still sporting the costume, but Boomerang is having the hardest time staying out of trouble. Kingpin hating your guts will do that to a guy.
This issue kicks off with Kingpin’s first move against Boomerang, which is where we left off in Amazing Spider-Man #61. As usual for the Boomerang and Spider-Man relationship, it’s largely Spidey trying to save and fix Boomerang’s issues. It all connects to their mutual pet alien Gog, which admittedly is a silly element in this series, but it works for the most part. Leave it to Spider-Man to have a pet that could be exploited by a villain and turned into a giant that could smash NYC to dust! The action is exciting, never fails to forget the humanity and stakes in each moment, and serves as a reminder Peter and Boomerang love Gog very much.
There’s a lot going on in the art, as Gleason and color artist Edgar Delgado mix things up in a variety of ways. The book opens with a haunting visage of Kingpin — his eyes blacked out from shadow — which juxtaposes well with Spider-Man “thwip-ing” from right to left and motion blur turning the city behind him into a smear. Two pages later, Kingpin hangs in the city sky above a darkened Spider-Man in a graphite style cast in pink with a green outline. Four pages later, there’s a cool perspective shot of Spider-Man high up above the city. He’s so high up it’s as if we can see the curvature of the Earth. Through perspective, interesting color choices, and motion effects, nearly every page has a different feel. The creative team is going all-out and trying everything, which enhances the energy of the first half of the issue.
This issue’s second half does two things well — first is establishing how characters are feeling and what they are thinking after the big action-focused first half. Second is Robbie Robertson and J.Jonah Jameson’s ongoing conflict. In both cases, Spencer does well to capture the various emotions being thrown around, including Boomerang’s rage, which will assuredly lead to a messy conflict. The Robertson scenes are strong too, especially with how the cliffhanger could make Robertson’s family life far more troublesome. These scenes help add value to an otherwise action-focused book while paying off scenes we’ve seen before.
A few gripes include the heavy focus on Gog being the driving force of the conflict, which is a relatively new character and one who has a love from Spider-Man and Boomerang that’s not very believable. Another element that’s missing is Spider-Man’s new costume playing a part in the action. The previous issue set up the fact that fans are watching, but that element is dropped here. The suit’s special abilities are also ignored. That’s surprising, since it was introduced only an issue ago.
This is a solid issue thanks to its focus on the humanity and personal stakes each character has in the narrative. Gog is a ridiculous character who’s hard to take seriously, but aside from that, this book is structured well and is entertaining through the end. It also offers satisfying action and character melodrama.
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