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'Amazing Spider-Man' #21 promises more than it can deliver
Marvel

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‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #21 promises more than it can deliver

‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #21 begins to give us answers to the year-long teased mystery.

The time has finally come to learn what Peter Parker did that made other heroes mad at him and make Mary Jane leave him for another man. We’ve been waiting over a year, but Zeb Wells and John Romita Jr. kick things off this week in Amazing Spider-Man #21, and it appears to be tied to magic. With so much anticipation and mystery built around this new story arc, can the first chapter draw us in and keep our interest? That depends…

Amazing Spider-Man #21 opens with Peter being late for work and barely leaving the house on time. Cut to Mary Jane also being unable to get out of the house. Only it’s not lateness like Peter that has kept her, but a husband and two kids who can’t get out of their own ways. They both live very different lives, and soon we embark on why that is as the story cuts to a year earlier.

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So begins a story involving Benjamin Rabin, who was last seen in Amazing Spider-Man #557. He was thwarted by Spider-Man from becoming an Emissary of a Mayan god. If it doesn’t sound familiar, that’s because it’s a bit of a blip in Spidey history, making Rabin the center of whatever Peter did quite a surprise. It’s a deep cut, and many will find this confusing or uninteresting. Why should this character play a part in a year-long mystery? It’s a question I asked in this rather short first chapter in the story arc.

Amazing Spider-Man #21

Dramatic entrance.
Credit: Marvel

It’s short because it doesn’t get a lot accomplished. Rabin shows off some impressive skills–he was the guy who shined a light at Peter and MJ in Amazing Spider-Man #93–and makes Peter remember what he did to him. That fight includes Peter pushing Rabin off MJ, them falling to the city street, and a brief struggle. Before we know it, though, MJ and Peter face the cliffhanger, unsure of where they are and what to do next. All told, not a lot happens in this issue.

The art utilizes some cool blur effects and colors by Marcio Menyz, bringing the godly Rabin energy. Mary Jane’s kids look awkward, though, like adults that have been shrunk down. One reason why the action moves by so quickly is because of Romita Jr.’s art rendering things rather simply. A close-up of a character’s face, for instance, saying only three words, may take up a whole panel.

At this point, we can guess whatever happens in what appears to be a Mayan underworld is what Peter “had to do” to keep Mary Jane alive. Why MJ would hold whatever Peter does against him could be interesting to unpack once revealed unless whatever Peter does changes reality. The problem is this narrative is using magic, so there are no rules. The story doesn’t feel earned right off the bat since Rabin has godly powers. Gone are the days, it seems, of Spider-Man fighting street-level crooks.

If you’re open-minded, you may be game for what’s in store in Amazing Spider-Man #21 and what comes next. Unfortunately, after a year-long wait, this opening issue leaves you wanting more. More action and more answers.

'Amazing Spider-Man' #21 promises more than it can deliver
‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #21 promises more than it can deliver
Amazing Spider-Man #21
If you're open-minded, you may be game for what's in store in Amazing Spider-Man #21 and what comes next. Unfortunately, after a year-long wait, this opening issue leaves you wanting more. More action and more answers.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Some cool blur effects
Begins to answer questions at least
Action scene is pretty simple and short
Doesn't offer much in the way of answers
Villain is basically a god with little earned as he defeats Spidey handedly
4.5
Meh
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