There have already been eleven issues of Volume 4 of Amazing Spider-Man – which shouldn’t come as a shock since they seem to come out almost every other week! This issue wraps up the “Zodiac” saga, closing that chapter and opening up the next year of Spider-Man events.
Opening Amazing Spider-Man #11, readers find Nick Fury stranded on a space station. With no functioning satellites in orbit, Fury and all of Peter Parker’s teams of geniuses on Earth are cut off from communicating with anyone, while Zodiac gathers his followers in a field to summon whatever he’s been working towards achieving this whole time.
In the finale (for now) of Zodiac’s arc, everything is put on the table as far as whether or not he will be a memorable villain. All of Zodiac’s terrorism was to aid his pursuit of a future year’s worth of knowledge, which is actually pretty cool considering he wasn’t the most compelling addition to Spider-Man’s rogues gallery for a few issues. It might be that my all-time favorite Spidey villain is Hobgoblin, but there’s something about a mysterious, grey-haired man in a mask that just always seems to go over well.
After a battle ensues, Zodiac and Spider-Man are alone and here is where Zodiac is exposed as a compelling villain. His demise and the dialogue leading up to it is similar to that of an Indiana Jones villain, which is always a great sign. In the end, Zodiac is a lot cooler than any of us thought he could be, succeeding in his hunger for knowledge and maniacally dropping some big names at the end, hinting at future events for our web slinging friend.
Despite the plugging of things to come, Amazing Spider-Man #11 is well written – aside from some of the dialogue. There is this terribly annoying thing happening quite often at Marvel where writers occasionally make Spider-Man too much like Deadpool, and Deadpool too much like Spider-Man. Personally, I miss the days where they didn’t get along at all, but I get that they wanna smooch their two biggest characters together (and I keep reading it, so I can’t complain much).
Mockingbird crushing on Peter was cute yet brief, and Anna Maria continues to be great with her weird relationship to Peter’s body. Doc Ock’s closing reaction felt a bit forced and sloppy but I am willing to let it go because it’s about time we got the ball rolling on his “superior” return.
Visually this issue is mostly great, with big and bright pages connected by smooth pacing. Another factor helping Zodiac become memorable is how the art team captures his villainy, especially the lighting on his face, which really adds depth to the menacing look he has when gaining a years worth of knowledge. Amazing Spider-Man #11 reads like a classic golden age Amazing Spider-Man story and its art feels very much the same, adding another layer to this fully realized comic book. There are some strange looking panels where body parts and limbs don’t exactly add up, but that won’t spoil the overall feel of the art for readers.
Dan Slott and company deliver another sold installation of Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 4. It’s not perfect, but it is undoubtedly huge classic comic book fun that most readers will certainly enjoy. Like I have been saying for months, all of the stuff we’ve been waiting for is right around the corner with Osborn and Octavius throwing their hats back into the ring. Knowing that, I am very satisfied with the transition from Zodiac to what lies ahead. Slott isn’t the best at closing out a great story concept, but this time he took a decent concept and executed the story and its ending brilliantly.