Web-slingers rejoice! Another installment of our favorite international superhero is here with The Amazing Spider-Man #3! In the first two issues, readers have been introduced to the global terrorist group, The Zodiac. This issue opens up with a peak behind the curtain into The Zodiac lair, where the leader, Scorpio seeks council regarding his next move. As guided by his daily horoscope, the plan is to attack S.H.I.E.L.D. and Scorpio begins to rally the troops for their assault.
Meanwhile in New York, our old pal J. Jonah Jameson is reporting live from a Parker Industries press event as they unveil their new office in the city. Peter debuts the new building, which is actually the old Baxter Building, longtime home of the Fantastic Four. This doesn’t sit well with Pete’s #1 super hero “bromance” partner, Human Torch. He is seen drinking at a bar watching the event on TV before a “flame on” and heading over to Parker Industries.
Spidey is there to greet his old friend with some quick sarcasm and a funny 90’s song reference. The two proceed to duke it out like all disagreeing superheroes tend to do over any sort of minor situation. And with this, Amazing Spider-Man #3 quickly reveals itself to be the issue that is dragging its feet without much to do up front with the overall story arc. The fight between Spidey and Torch feels pretty forced, but it doesn’t ruin the comic.
The Zodiac begin their assault on a S.H.I.E.L.D. hellicarrier, where Mockingbird and Nick Fury are aboard and begin the resistance. They can’t get a hold of Peter because of his cat fight with Human Torch, which turns into a tour of the company, which turns into another fight over literally the dumbest reason it could possibly have been.
Despite growing tired of these forced fisticuffs pretty quickly, readers are given plenty to enjoy in this issue. For one, a certain classic Spider-Man character (maybe more) returns and becomes the Pepper Potts of Parker Industries.
The Zodiac as a villain group are pretty great and this issue highlights them as a fun and unpredictable foe. They are absolutely drenched in the comic book villain cheese of old with their theme and execution, but it’s just the right amount of cheese. The cornier the better for Scorpio and his Zodiac gang, and they manage to conquer the S.H.I.E.L.D. airship with ease.
Spider-Man and Human Torch eventually finish their bout and share a heartfelt moment about the Baxter Building. That then turns into a weird Fast and Furious-type scene about family, followed by a call from Mockingbird. She fills Parker in on The Zodiac attack and he recruits Torch for their revenge, which should be awesome enough to make up for how lame this hissy-fit battle was.
A truly awesome cliffhanger at the end shifts focus back to Parker Industries being a global operation and not just in New York. The scenario unfolding in the book’s final page is more of what readers were looking for when they read “Spider-Man gone global” at the prologue of these three issues. This will be a true test for writer Dan Slott. Hopefully, he is up for the task and will not be overwhelmed by the great concept like he has been in the past.
The artwork looks great as always, and Giuseppe Camuncoli does wonders for Spider-Man. Even if the main fight taking place in this book is pretty dumb, it still looks ace. Consistency is key for Camuncoli as he has been drawing Spidey for a while now, and his interpretation feels like home for Spider-Man fans. The art bails out the story in its dull moments, making the recycled situations feel fresh. The look of the book comes across as fun for the most part, but conveys a sense of danger and darkness when necessary.
In the end, despite a mostly weak story, the book is fun and enjoyable. It’s like one of those episodes of Lost where everyone is just en route somewhere, with an interesting story happening elsewhere to keep the overall arc going forward. There are enough surprises and returning characters to make this worth reading, and The Zodiac are so far a delight.
The future of this book hopefully takes us to new places like it’s supposed to and not a rehashing old characters into new roles just because they were gone for a while. Overall, Amazing Spider-Man #3 a pretty fun read, and there are enough pros to forgive the book’s cons.