It appears that Marvel is on a Giant-Size tear — this week, Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom comes out, and in June a Chameleon Giant-Size follows suit. Running 44 pages, King’s Ransom gives Nick Spencer extra room to progress the plot and make the story feel bigger than an ordinary issue. With artists Roge Antonio, Carlos Gomez, and Ze Carlos, this book will very much change how you think about Spencer’s run.
This is a spoiler-free review, so I won’t get too in detail about the plot, especially since this is the conclusion to the “King’s Ransom” story arc. Spencer opens the book with Spider-Man asking his superhero friends to help Boomerang. He’s a known villain, but Spidey can vouch for him. You can read his impassioned speech to Wolverine, Luke Cage, Hawkeye, Spider-Woman, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones in the preview. This issue is very much about their relationship, which leads to a satisfying reveal and conclusion. To say everything has to lead to this is an understatement, and it’ll have fans of Spencer’s run talking.
This issue also moves Spider-Man’s new costume forward story-wise after J.J. Jameson hooked him up with a suit that streams for profit. It’s a clever idea, taken a step too far here in a way that’s good for a laugh. It’s also such a Jameson thing to do. It does come as a surprise since the suit has only been around for a month or so, but it’s nice to see Marvel isn’t going to milk the costume for too long. That said, it does feel a bit quick to wrap things up in this way after the marketing push; the focus on the new costume and the concept were only introduced a few issues ago. It feels a touch like the idea was scrapped too early.
Compared to the usual 20-page comic, this issue is more like three issues in one even though it’s only double the usual pages. It’s always interesting to see how creators tell a tale outside the usual page count since it forces them to pace and plot differently. In this case, Spencer does a good job keeping the action going, showing and not telling, and delivering some satisfying moments. Even in the last few pages where the story is told nearly exclusively through captions, the visuals do a lot to keep the reader engaged. These captions slow things way down the end of the book in a way that makes the pace feel unbalanced, but it’s satisfying nonetheless.
Speaking of art, even though there are three artists involved it all blends well and is never jarring when the artist switches. The art can certainly look less detailed on certain pages, but it works well enough. Color artist Alex Sinclair does a good job splashing color into backgrounds here and there, or in some cases giving Spidey’s new costume much-needed volume so the mask doesn’t look too flat. There are other examples throughout, from casting light on Jameson in an accurate way to adding a bit of shine to Boomerang’s mask.
The most important thing you’ll discover with Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom is that it’s not a cash grab extra-sized issue simply to charge more. There’s plenty of story here, big reveals, and important moments. In fact, this issue closes the door on multiple ongoing plots, which makes it satisfying as hell and sets the stage for a clean slate going forward.
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