This time of year I’m completely consumed by the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, but if there’s one thing that can momentarily take me away from the greatest game on Earth… it’s Spider-Man. It’s no secret this series hasn’t been the home-run many were hoping for after those first few promising issues. Dan Slott and company didn’t exactly have it all figured out by the end of Amazing Spider-Man #9, but there was still hope. (And how fitting that the start of the NHL playoffs coincides with a story titled “Scorpio Rising Part II: Power Play”?)
After last issue’s pointless plummet to Earth, Spidey finds himself at the feet of Scorpio; banged up and out of regular web cartridges, the two begin their first of many face-offs. You get your standard Spider-Man versus a minor “big-bad” scene, full of funny dialogue and slick action. Scorpio gains the upper hand by threatening a handful of innocents, only to be summoned elsewhere before finishing off the web-head. Thus begins the chase that consumes most of the rest of the issue, which is an absolute blast.
From a high speed train to the discovery of Scorpio’s identity, there is a ton of action and amusement. The story unfolding here feels way more like an Amazing Spider-Man book than the misguided pit stops of previous issues. Other than Scorpio using the exact same tactic twice in a row to gain the upper hand on Spidey, Amazing Spider-Man #10 is a total course correction. Readers who stuck with the series this far will be rewarded. Maybe the key is knowing Slott’s tendencies and anticipating them in order to appreciate the highs and forgive the lows?
Anna Maria remains the best remaining element from the Superior Spider-Man run; a Slott creation that has always felt so right among Parker’s supporting cast. I grow more and more anxious with each issue as we get closer to the eventual resurrection of Doc Ock hiding within the Living Brain – a story which has a lot of potential when we get there.
Elsewhere, a mysterious character appears to plot putting together another incarnation of the Sinister Six, recruiting Rhino to gather Lizard and Electro. This is an exciting side plot, and it would be a smart move by Slott to follow up a long, new villain story arc with a homecoming of Spidey’s wonderfully nasty rogue’s gallery. Will this be what makes Doc Ock come back? Is Ock somehow involved in the sinister plot within the shadows? Will there be any Goblin’s involved? These are questions that make a reader like myself remember what jump started my obsession with Spider-Man in the first place.
Camuncoli displays his talent for Spidey poses again and again as he makes the action feel very loose and fluid. Every panel is designed flawlessly and not a single line is wasted, never looking anything less than what he wanted us to be seeing. What really drives home the look of these books each issue is the color, visually pleasing to no end. Purple, blue, and red – these are the colors I want to make up 70% of the world I live in because that’s the scheme that makes these books so beautiful and interesting. Camuncoli and Marte Gracia are putting together one hell of a legacy within the pages of Spider-Man comic book history.
I really loved this book, I had faith in Slott and this team to come back and hook readers right back in after a lackluster effort last month. Amazing Spider-Man #10 still isn’t perfect, but it’s damn near close. Slott is still figuring out why this is different and how that different can be great without it not feeling like Spider-Man. Regardless, I am more than willing to stay along for the ride if issues like this keep coming.
(Oh! And go Blues/Penguins!)