Monday, August 27, 2018

Amazing Spider-Man #4 Review - Marvel Monday

What if Spidey was a jerk, but everyone loved him?

Writer: Nick Spencer
Art Team: Ryan Ottley,Cliff Rathburn, Laura Martin
Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 22, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99

The Amazing Spider-Man's 'fresh start' has been a bit of a mixed bag for me personally.  While I was initially on-board after issue one, things seem to have gone downhill since then, with a lot of the 'humor' missing the mark, and the concepts, ideas, and themes at play starting to come off very childish, but thankfully the art has been the saving grace in issues 2, 3, and 4 to generate respectable scores on my end. The overall tone of the book right now just isn't for me. With that being said, I'm sticking with it, at least through the first arc, so lets see what issue four has in store.

The issue begins with a continuation of a tease from last issue, mostly likely featuring Kraven hunting down a poacher, but it's being played very 'Bendisy'. Spencer continues to only tease these scenes at the pace of about one page each issue, making this now becoming a frustrating affair, awaiting a reveal I'm fairly certain about.

From there we jump to see the party responsible for bringing the Tri-Sentinel to town, Robot Master a.k.a. Mendel Stromm, who is P.O.'d he's no longer in control of said Tri-Sentinel.  Some page space is filled giving us the background of this often forgotten about villain, Nick Spencer continues to showcase in his run so far, and his ties to the Spider-Man continuity. Progressing from Robot Master we're reminded Spidey, still separated from Peter, is using the Tri-Sentinel to battle crime. He puts a stop to an art robbery by the Looter, chasing everyone out of the area, creating havoc, and destruction wherever he goes to stop any crime it seems.

This is where the issue takes a weird turn and I'm taken out of things. If Spider-Man is being such an asshole, and ruining everything everywhere he goes, how does he build up this new found celebrity causing destruction? Spider-Man has been hated for much less trivial and meaningless things in the past, with Spencer even showcasing this in issue one for conversing with Kingpin, why the pass now besides for convenience of the story? Peter does address it later when he catches up with Spidey, who's in the middle of offering 'Hero Uber' rides, but he's the only one even peeved here. Even those are his secondary emotions addressed in the book, in what feels like only an effort to appeal to Spidey through rooftop begging none the less, and after stating he's jealous of what he's been doing previously in this issue through narration while talking to Aunt May.

After Spidey runs away from Peter again, wanting no parts of the now over responsible and dumber by the day regular joe version of himself, Peter wanders to Dr. Conners office and gets some bad news.  The test mice, that underwent the same procedure Peter did, on accident, have degraded and died, foreshadowing a grave future for Peter and Spider-Man if they don't reunite very soon.

The story begins its conclusion with Robot Man again trying in vein to take back control of the Tri-Sentinel he lost to Spidey, with things going south for the failed villain, as it all blows up in his face once more ... or does it?  A mysterious voice starts talking to Mendel (could it be the strange figure from issue one?) and gives him a gift from the heavens, in a strange and fuzzy ending to the story I wont outright spoil, but I guess I could see some people enjoying ... mostly though I have no clue what's happening.

Overall, the Amazing Spider-Man relaunch since issue one continues the trend of missing the mark for me, with this issue being the worst offender yet.  Nick Spencer's run so far is just all over the place in how Spider-Man the character is treated on a universal wide scale and in how he's handling story beats. Issue one everyone had a problem with Spidey, and three issues later he's popular enough to carry sponsors, sit court-side, and hang with celebrities.  Theres some vaguely interesting things occurring in the background, Kraven, this mystery villain we still unsure about, the Kingpin stuff, but it's being smothered out by a childish retelling of Freaky Friday, horribly awful jokes, and again Tri-Sentinel's for three issues now.

Ottley is solid on art again this issue, but besides an early splash page that's as entertaining as it is beautiful to look at, Spencer doesn't give him much to do other than talking heads to draw this issue, making art not such an up factor on the score this week.

Bits and Pieces:

There are interesting things at play here in this series, but Nick Spencer doesn't feel like focusing on those at the moment. Instead we're moving into the third issue, of a childish retelling of a Freaky Friday-ish story, laced with awful jokes, and don't forget Tri-Sentinel's. Hopefully this arc wraps up next issue and we can address the more interesting elements of this series, with even Ottley seeming bored by the over abundance of talking heads here, as the art takes a mild step back too.


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