Writer: Nick Spncer
Artist: Federico Vicentini
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release date April 21 2021
Review by D. Brown (WolfCypher)
It’s nice to be back to reviewing ASM for the site, having been…I’ll just say “absent” from the book for a few issues. And I’m happy to say that it looks like, having caught up, this Spidey title is still going on strong with some good stories and some great art. Nick Spencer and Federico Vicentini team up to cover the latest chapter in Peter Parker’s life, where Wilson Fisk has encouraged other criminals to run amok, Tombstone and Robbie Robertson cross into lives again as their respective kids’ secret romances tie all these threads together, and of course, Boomerang being Boomerang. And by the end of the book, a tease of even bigger threats to come.
It’s worth noting that I think Nick Spencer has been doing a much better job at juggling his multiple stories, a sentiment I’ve felt for over half a year’s worth of stories. He isn’t bouncing back and forth between too much, here. As has been the case since Last Remains ended, each issue briefly revisits Kindred, Wilson and Norman at Ravencroft. Spencer’s in no hurry (it would seem) to progress the Kindred saga beyond this snail’s pace, which I’m fine with given the 12+ issues of our last Kindred-centric story. Given how much I liked Last Remains, I’m okay with this build up (I say that now…let’s see if I come to regret these words). Baron Mordo being used to torture information out of Kindred for Fisk, while Doctor Strange is still out there dealing with Mephisto for the sake of Spider-Man, I can only imagine what shit will hit the fan if these two mysticism arch-enemies learn that they’re each involved in opposite sides of the same game.
Along all of this, we still have Kingpin creating chaos among New York with varying would-be crime bosses, such as Crime Master and his deadly right hand Lady Masque, who are gunning for Tombstone’s daughter (and Randy Robertson’s girlfriend, the new Beetle) Janice. With Boomerang attracting the worst sort of attention everywhere he goes, the minute Fred Myers shows up, all the more shit hits the fan.
The bad blood between Tombstone and Robbie Robertson is put on hold and their patience with each other is tested more than ever when the two enemies work together in their attempts to find and save their kids. I think Spencer does a great job showing just how dead serious old’ Robbie can be when his son’s life is on the line, or maybe its the unfortunate circumstance of having to rely on Tombstone that has set him in his bad mood, one he uses to sink down to levels almost matching Tombstone’s methods. Honestly, with so much going on in what sounds like a chaotic book it was the Spider-Man stuff that had the least impact on me. I’m not saying our titular hero had the worst of the book, but more that everyone else just stole the show. I’m much more invested with all the other characters plots.
I’m glad Randy FINALLY has something to do in this book. He had been severely underused since the very beginning of Spencer’s run I easily forgot he was one of Peter’s roommates. Even when we saw the big reveal that he had been secretly dating Janice (knowing she was a criminal), we saw Spencer do anything with that for the longest. Some of Spencer’s plot seeds just seem to sprout faster than others, and this was one seed that took forever to get back to. Randy needed something to justify being in this book. Forever overshadowed by his secretly costumed Spider-powered roommate on his left, and his fun, center-of-attention, crazy ex-bad guy boomerang throwing roommate on his right.
The final pages has Doctor Octopus showing up, and to my immense surprise, this book outright confirms that our villain, who has been missing from the title for far too long (at least as Doctor Octopus proper) will play in massively into Kindred’s ongoing long game. How does he factor into Kindred’s beef with Peter, and possible ties to the consequences of One More Day?
The art in this issue is just as superb as in our last issue, with Vicentini doing the honors with both. The real step up for me here between the two issues is that as great as his work was in our last issues, there were more than a few panels where I just couldn’t quite tell what was happening, or what the panel’s intention was. One example from last issue to come to mind would be a scene where Tombstone angry confronts Janice about her dating Randy, and Janice fires a blast from her armlets before flying off; it read to me like she actually fired it at her father, but the next panel suggests otherwise. These type of instances aren’t in our current issue, so I was just able to enjoy the good art with no problems following the scenes’ momentum.
Amazing Spider-Man has been in top form for a long time. Nick Spencer is now tying up several past plots into a really entertaining series of events, and as always, he has the privilege of getting some excellent art talent to come along for the ride.