This issue of Amazing Spider-Man reminded me why I like Spider-Man stories so much, they’re comic book fun with just the right hint of deep emotional sentiment. This latest installment is a joy to read because it brings back good, old (and by old I do mean old) Adrian Toomes – the original Vulture.
Dan Slott can basically write Spidey in his sleep at this point, This issue uses every bird pun in the book, keeping in line with the campy humor that is found in an Amazing Spider-Man book.
The story reads quickly, focusing on Spider-Man and his police lady ex-girlfriend, Carlie Cooper, playing detective before facing off against Toomes’ followers, in a swinging fight across New York City. Slott holds a good grasp on their post-break-up relationship, making it awkward enough to be relatable. It’s also good to see Carlie in a more active role, as her character has since been pushed to the sidelines.
Slott wraps up the conflict with Vulture and his new gang in this book, and even through the final conflict falls kind of flat, it appears that Vulture is being set-up for more serious things down the road. This works, because Slott has done an excellent job of re-imagining him, making him a villain that’s fearsome enough to have an ace up his wing that can be used in a later arc.
The issue is transition from Spider Island, and adequately shows the fear that still grips New York. The infestation is not something that just happened and was forgotten about (a common occurrence in comic book lore) but is still something that’s on the character’s mind.
My only problem with this issue being aimed at the art. I’m all for stylized artists on comics – I loved the varied art styles featured in the Spider Island one shots – but the art in this book just looked sloppy. Part of me believes it can be mostly blamed on Frank D’Armata’s poor coloring job, but Guiseppe Camuncoli’s pencils and Klaus Janson’s ink are fighting each other.
While Camuncoli seems to have an handle on Spidey’s fluidity during action scenes, if I could be so crass as to use a quote from “Clueless”, the rest of the art is a regular Monet: far away it looks nice, but once you get up close it’s a big old mess.
Janson may be a legend, but he totally phoned it in here and the inks are a mess. They appeared either too smudged or too jagged to work with Camuncoli’s pencils, and the only character that looks fine in the style is Vulture. Everyone else appears awkward within panels, with far-away shots taking a massive hit.
D’Armata colors looked as if they were layered on last minute in Microsoft Paint before having a PhotoShop filter plastered on top. Some pages look unfinished, with lettering not blending in at all, leaving me wondering how the heck these pages managed to get through editors.
The main purpose of sequential art is to visually move the story forward. Instead, this art is stagnant, something that especially doesn’t work in a Spider-Man book. There’s no sense of character behind any of the figures besides Vulture, and maybe that’s why he comes off as such a prominent character, because everyone else just looks insignificant.
Like I said before, this issue was fun. It’s entertaining to see Peter and Carlie work together, as well as how Carlie handles hearing about Mary Jane and Peter’s not so secret past. The book ends with Peter in a compromising situation, as usual, with Carlie and MJ having gal-time, which can only mean bad news for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Overall, it’s a fun read and worth squinting through less than stellar art to enjoy.
WRITING: 4 / ART: 2 / OVERALL: 3