Bring on the Boomerang!
|Written by Nick Spencer, Pencilled by Ryan Ottley|
My history with Spider-Man is sort of similar to the one I have with Batgirl. When I first started reading comics, I focused myself on reading the big-names and the books closes associated with those. When it comes to Marvel you don't have a bigger name than Spider-Man, though the Avengers have been giving him a run for his money thanks to the MCU. The very first Spider-Man comics I read were the once around Marvels Original Sin event, where they introduced Cindy Moon AKA Silk to the mythos. I remember liking the comics, but unlike with Batgirl, it didn't really grab me. I've read a fair amount of Spider-related books but mostly starring characters other than Peter, like Miles Morales and Gwen Stacey. It's not that I've got anything against Peter or anything, he just doesn't really 'click' with me.
I do make it a point to pick up an issue here
or there just to see what Peter is up to, so let's do just that shall we?
The book starts off with Spider-Man in the sewer together with the D-list (and that's being gracious) villain Boomerang getting overwhelmed by a horde of creatures called Vermin. In a recap/exposition dump, Spidey lets the reader know how he found himself in this situation. Boomerang, in his civilian persona, his Peters new room-mate (the old Spidey luck no doubt) and through some shenanigans he knows has the location of all the pieces of a mystical, all-powerful artefact in his mind. He and Spidey have been on a scavenger hunt to locate all the pieces before the Kingpin does, hence why they are being attacked in the sewer. Their day goes from bad to worse when they find the piece they were looking for, only to be attacked by some sort of giant monster.
I've got one big issue with this book; it's all set-up while lacking any satisfying payoff. Pretty quickly, Peter starts narrating the events that lead him to the sewer, which I initially very much appreciated. I haven't read Amazing Spider-Man in quite a while so getting a bit of a recap was nice, I could get up to speed. The thing is though, this 'recap' is basically the entire issue save from the beginning and the end.
The entire time I was reading this recap I was enjoying it, don't get me wrong, but the longer it went one the more I wanted it to end and for the issue to get on with its story. Some might not mind this approach, it is advertised a the first part in a larger story, but I feel that every single issue of such stories should stand on their own and be a satisfying experience for the reader but this issue. This book apparently didn't get that memo. The exposition does do one thing very well. The book follows up on some very old stories featuring the web-crawler and the mystical MacGuffin and the Spencer does a very good job of telling you exactly what you need to know to understand those stories without feeling lost.
|Yeah. Something tells me you won't be able to make the taping of 'Ellen' fellas.|
So with that criticism out of the way, how does the rest of the issue hold up? As I already said, I did enjoy reading the issue mostly because it's just very entertaining and well-written. There a lot of recap/exposition, yet the moments that aren't are very fun. You get some insight in Boomerang, he's a douchebag but a bit of a loveable one and the chemistry between him and Spidey is also fun and very well conveyed. The issue just has a slight 'let's have fun' undertone, supported by its somewhat cartoony art, which I like. There's also a nice little touch with Kingpin that, as a fan of the Daredevil TV show and the Into the Spider-Verse movie gave me a little smile on my face.
I'm a bit conflicted about this issue. On the one hand, it's well written and pretty fun while on the other hand, it's an approach with a lot of exposition and the lack of any clear payoff results in an unsatisfying read. What I do know though, is that it has piqued my interest in the Amazing Spider-Man again and I will pick up the next issue. What I think would be best for anyone interested in the Amazing Spider-Man is to wait a while, until all parts of the story are out. Reading the entire story at once will probably compensate this issue shortcomings and give a better, more satisfying, read.