Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artwork: Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba
Colours: Edgar Delgado
Lettering: Joe Caramagna
Release Date: 13th March 2020 (available on ComiXology)
Selling 78,464 copies in March 2019, it was probably clear to many of this book’s readers just why editor Nick Lowe hired Nick Spencer to write Amazing Spider-Man if this comic’s premise was one of the first stories Dan Slott’s replacement pitched having been given the job. For whilst the American author’s initial proposal grew so much that we couldn’t contain it solely within just the one ongoing series and therefore needed to add “four extra issues to devote to three of Spider-Man’s biggest villains or frenemies”, this extra-sized thirty-page periodical’s narrative still contains a spellbindingly emotional plot which depicts many of the vulnerabilities that have made Peter Parker’s alter-ego one of the most popular and iconic comic book characters of all time.
To begin with, the titular character is once again spurred on by his hypersensitive feelings of guilt, having previously failed to prevent Taskmaster and Black Ant from abducting young Billy Connors “right in the middle of Times Square.” Admittedly, Web-head wasn’t physically present to prevent the reptilian boy’s actual kidnapping, but in a similar leap of ‘Bacon’s Law’ logic which saw the titular character previously feel responsible for his Uncle Ben’s tragic death, the costumed crimefighter tears himself up internally having had the two mercenaries “dead to rights the other day.”
Equally as absorbing is Spencer’s use of Parker being sick out of his mind with a burning fever so as to rationalise just why someone with the “proportional strength of a spider” is eventually bested by Kraven the Hunter’s son. Ordinarily, this book’s audience would probably expect the super-strong Wall-crawler to defeat the clone utilising only a modicum of his special abilities. However, additionally affected by an hallucinogenic chemical gas alongside his illness, Spider-Man is portrayed as being the slight underdog, adding plenty of pulse-pounding tension to his bout of pugilism which otherwise wouldn’t have existed.
Rounding off this splendidly over-sized, thirty-page publication is Humberto Ramos’ marvellous pencilling, which adds plenty of gravitas to some of this comic’s more outlandish elements, such as Central Park somehow being filled with many of Marvel Universe’s most infamous villains during the dead of night. In addition, the Mexican artist’s depiction of Spidey eventually falling beneath the fists of Kravinoff’s younger self, beautifully inked by Victor Olazaba, is easily worth the cover price of this comic book alone.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]