After the excellent Amazing Spider-Man #900, Amazing Spider-Man #901 has much to live up to. It’s not a milestone issue, though, so the story is back on track, the page count is reduced, and there are fewer stories. That said, if you’ve been on board for Zeb Wells and John Romita Jr.’s story, you’re probably eagerly awaiting some answers as far as the big mystery. Do we get answers? Maybe…a little.
The cover may show Norman Osborn, but this issue opens and closes with Vulture. His inclusion continues to bring back old-school villains while building on semi-recent stories. There are multiple callbacks in editor’s notes in this issue, which helps tie this story to the recent past while promising new directions for these ongoing narratives. That includes Norman Osborn being cleansed of his sins due to Sin-Eater shooting him. Drawing off stories during Nick Spencer’s run makes the story a little less relevant if you skipped that run, but it’s nice to see it’s not starting from scratch.
If there was a theme to this issue, it’s anger management and rage. We see it with Vulture in the opening scene, and Peter also loses his temper midway through the issue. Peter losing his temper may be one of the more interesting aspects of the issue if you’re interested in the character’s development. We still don’t know what Peter did to make superheroes and Mary Jane hate him, but we get some hints that his anger is related to that fallout. Strictly from a Spider-Man legacy standpoint, it’s compelling to see he’s not a perfect boy scout but has issues he’s dealing with.
John Romita Jr.’s art continues to be dynamic and in-your-face. The extreme close-ups on Vulture’s face are intense, with the outline of his face very dramatic. In fact, almost every character seems to have a shapely face, from Norman to Peter. It’s a look that’s interesting to look at, but it also pulls you out of the story a bit as it’s so stylistic. Almost every face Romita draws is a mask with sunken eyes or way-too-prominent edges on the face.
Spider-Man looks fabulous in the costume, though, and Romita draws at least two stand-out poses as he swings through the air. The ending action scene is also well choreographed with Spider-Man at the whim of Vulture in the air. One can see a callback to their first fight, albeit this time, Vulture is only interested in murder. Spider-Man’s agility also looks great here, with inks by Scott Hanna adding to the dynamic range of Romita.
Colors by Marco Menyz keep the book looking realistic and subdued. The book is never overly bright and unrealistic, grounding the narrative.
Amazing Spider-Man #7 is starting to pull back the curtain on what Peter did, but we’re still mostly in the dark. Visually the best scenes continue to be when Spider-Man’s in costume, but if you can stay patient, there’s a compelling story here to continue to explore.
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