Amazing Spider-Man #3 Review

by Charles Martin on August 08, 2018

Amazing Spider-Man #3 Review
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciller: Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colourist: Laura Martin
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

When we left Peter Parker, he had just gotten a chance to shake hands with Spider-Man. Yowza, huh? Amazing Spider-Man #3 is devoted almost entirely to exploring the mechanics of this split. 

If you run a hairy eyeball over #2, you can work out a lot of the details. After doing so, you'll be screaming, "Bad news, Petey! Bad news! You know this can't turn out well!" 

Indeed, you're absolutely right. This isn't going to turn out well. And it takes Peter Parker a whole issue to realize it. 

Although Nick Spencer takes his sweet time catching Pete up to that conclusion, he makes the hero's arrival at the point o' dread land powerfully. Peter gets to close the issue with a magnificent theme statement. No matter how canny you are and how certain you are that you're a step ahead of Peter while you're reading, the last three pages are gonna make you gasp.

I won't get into a comprehensive breakdown of the "hows" and "whys" and "what nexts" of this story, because it is definitely worth a read on its own merits. It's paced a little slow, but it's an excellent middle chapter in an ongoing story. It's plenty entertaining and gets you chomping at the bit for #4. It also features some subtle characterization that demands a second read after you've fully grasped the Spidey/Peter division.

One feature I really appreciate is that Mr. Spencer is reining in the timeline hopscotch of the first two issues. #3 does feature a little flashback action, but it's quite easy to parse compared to earlier scene-snarls. Superfluous cameos seem to be on the wane, too. This issue does deliver a surprise character return, but it looks to be an integral one that's going to play out over several issues.

It's still unclear why we're spending a page or two at the start of each issue on an African safari, though. Foreshadowing Kraven? Well, that's certainly what Mr. Spencer wants us to think!

While the script invites you to spend most of your reading time inside Peter's head, Ryan Ottley and Cliff Rathburn certainly don't skimp on impressive visuals outside it. Pete & MJ enjoying a double-date at the bowling alley and Spidey tackling a Tri-Sentinel on the street both look excellent. This supremely skilled art team handles romantic subtlety and massive property damage with equal aplomb.

Laura Martin tweaks the colours a little to emphasize the Peter Parker/Spider-Man split. The clearest indicator is the way Spidey apparently has exclusive rights to the colour blue, but the palette differences go deeper. Ms. Martin manages to deliver two completely different feelings while still crafting a harmonious whole.

Some of the best Spider-Man comics ever invite the reader to shout, "Peter Parker, you idiot!" more than once. ASM #3 joins their hallowed ranks. Its slow pace does flirt with frustration, but considerable creative effort ensures that this issue is neither a detour nor a disappointment. It has a subtle gut-punch of its own, and the pinnacle it's building toward shows every sign of greatness.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
Peter Parker: Often an idiot, but usually for good(-ish) reasons.