Amazing Spider-Man #46 Review

by Charles Martin on August 12, 2020

Amazing Spider-Man #46 Review
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciller: Marcelo Ferreira
Inker: Roberto Poggi
Colourist: David Curiel
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I think there's a case to be made that Nick Spencer writes better Spidey comics when he has the freedom to subject Pete to some real torment.

This Sin-Eater arc is a perfect piece of evidence. In this issue, the Sin-Eater chews through the Lethal Legion, and besides showing the action, it focuses closely on how characters respond. There's plenty from Spider-Man, but also from witnesses, Nora Winters, and even the Legionnaires. (Plus a nice, nasty cameo from Norman Osborn over at Ravencroft.)

Mr. Spencer's script employs a delicate structure, slipping panels from Nora's after-the-fact interviews into the middle of the fighting. This kind of chronological trickery can be challenging; messing it up can ruin storytelling flow. It is not screwed up here. I'm mentioning it right off the bat because it's done so well that it risks getting overlooked. It reads so smoothly that it feels entirely natural, entirely cinematic.

Speaking of cinematic, Marcelo Ferreira and Roberto Poggi team up to deliver some excellent visuals. Their great strengths are dynamic character poses in the action scenes and impressively-detailed settings. The Legion kicks off the action by invading a science lecture at ESU, and the effort invested in filling up the auditorium with a realistic-looking crowd is worthy of praise. 

The artists do some excellent facial work, though not every close-up is equally great. But the tormented faces -- in Count Nefaria's final scene, in particular -- stick in the mind in a positive way.

David Curiel's colours are powerful and spread all around the palette. He employs a lot of solid shadows, and that suits the dark tone of the material. But my one visual nitpick does have to do with the colouring (while also touching on the rest of the creative team). It's that the Grey Gargoyle's petrification power risks being mistaken for atmospheric shadow-work. But that's really an issue that goes all the way to the script -- the Gargoyle gets the least amount of attention (in both the prose and the art) of any Legionnaire.

This issue's action and the healthy spread of insightful character reactions do a great deal to unpack the complex position the Sin-Eater's return puts Spider-Man in. As it stands now, the Sin-Eater's modus operandi is brutal but surprisingly effective. It's already winning public support, and even Spidey is struggling to find the fault.

It's definitely there, though! Regardless of promising results, the Sin-Eater remains villainous through and through. He has harsh words for Spider-Man (very well-written ones) that confirm he's the bad guy. He's forcing Spidey into his scheme for no other reason than to torment and belittle him. 

In Amazing Spider-Man #46, Spidey and us readers get a full, clear look at the Sin-Eater's new MO. It's violent and traumatic, yet it also seems effective. This is one of those plots where the hero draws back and says, "wait, should I be stopping this?" Of course, "this" is "gunning people down with a magic shotgun," so yeah, Spidey'll no doubt find the motivation he needs. For now, though, this unsettlingly compelling look at the Sin-Eater gives the arc some impressive depth.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
One general problem with a "lethal antihero" story: We sure are burning through the D-list villains!