The Amazing Spider-Man: The Sins of Norman Osborn #1 Review

by Harlan Ivester on September 16, 2020

Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Federico Vicentini
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

            “Sins” and “Osborn”. Something very specific and repulsive comes to mind when we hear those two words. Could this be it? Are they going to address – maybe even begin the undoing – of that which must not be named? Nick Spencer seemingly started his run with a mission to right what had been wronged in Amazing Spider-Man over the years. Maybe there’s still hope.

            Alas, we’ll have to wait longer to find out, because this ain’t it. Osborn’s sins remain largely unnamed. I still have hope that Spencer is working towards the big one, but that’s a review for another day, I suppose. No, this story is, just like the .HU issues from way back when, integral to the main story in ASM. It seems so important, in fact, that I don’t see how it managed to become a spin-off/one-shot. It sets the stage very well for the upcoming Green Goblin story, by showing us a little of what it’s like for Spider-Man to have to save Osborn again. It’s tense, and we’re reminded in a way that doesn’t feel too overbearing that Peter does have good reason to hate the man. While the Peter/Norman stuff is great, the newly founded Order of the Web (i.e. Spider-Fam) scenes didn’t quite land for me. They’re mostly recapping what we already know, which I really don’t get in a spin-off issue that is aimed at dedicated readers anyway. Aside from that, there are moments where characters’ goals seem to change from moment to moment. Rather than them being undecisive, this read more to me like a writer being inconsistent.

            Federico Vicentini brings some really solid visuals to the table. In some ways, his very outspoken characters reminded me of the work of Humberto Ramos, although his creative liberties aren’t so wild. There’s some awkward panels where a character appears to be biting their lip while speaking, which seems to me like an awkward moment to choose to convey. I liked his use of paneling and giving the bigger moments room to breathe. Another artist could have easily made these pages feel overcrowded. If I can get my nitpick out of the way, he draws the back of Gwen’s costume wrong. Edgar Delgado is a welcome presence in the visual team. This story mostly takes place in dark settings, yet it never feels overly gloomy. It’s surprisingly varied in its palette and that makes each scene feel like it has a lot to convey if you look for it.

            I’m afraid that this issue may disappoint some readers only because of the implications of its title vs. the actual story, but that story is certainly good enough by its own merits. I haven’t been 100% onboard with this arc, but Spencer is pulling me in by ramping up the tension with each new chapter. The artists communicate so much in each panel while maintaining an appreciated room for subtlety. If all that doesn’t sound good enough for you, you’ll want to read it anyway because you’ll otherwise be pretty confused when the next issue comes around.

Our Score:


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