Amazing Spider-Man #70 Review

by Charles Martin on July 07, 2021

Amazing Spider-Man #70 Review
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Federico Vicentini
Colourist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Nick Spencer's run on Spider-Man is coming in for a landing. This is where all his long-term plotting needs to come together, and this stage-setting issue for the Sinister War event gets that work off to an excellent start.

This issue wraps up the story of Doc Ock bringing his new Sinister Six together under the aegis of Kindred. It also highlights the other supervillain groups that have come together in this run: Vulture's Savage Six, Beetle's Syndicate Six, and the squads that have coalesced around Foreigner and Boomerang. They're all going to have roles to play (we hope) in the event.

Contrary to my usual aspersions, Nick Spencer's script for this issue doesn't go overboard on expository recapping, and that's a good thing. The Sinister Six and Boomerang's group get fairly extensive help along those lines, but the reader must rely on memory to contextualize the other villain squads. 

Instead, Mr. Spencer uses an impressive burst of character-driven ensemble narration to foreshadow the upcoming event from multiple perspectives. Peter/Spidey serving as just one of several protagonists works well. His voice is joined by those of MJ, Carlie, and Kindred -- a good mix to represent the volume as a whole.

On the plot side, there's an excellent sign of long-term planning in the details. The latest developments in Curt Connors' story tie back to a Chekhov's Gun loaded in the very first arc of this volume. Now that doesn't guarantee that every plotline is going to come to a neat conclusion in Sinister War -- but it's a promising start.

Federico Vicentini brings a profoundly dynamic visual style to the proceedings. I do like Mr. Vicentini's art. To me, it fuses the strengths of Chris Bachalo and Gerardo Sandoval with clearer blocking than that of those luminaries. This issue's art is at its very best at the most active moments of the script, particularly the flashback to Doc Ock's recruitment of the Lizard.

But this is not, on balance, a very action-oriented issue, so all that powerful motive force in the visuals is held at bay. Colourist Alex Sinclair seems to recognize the problem and bend his work to help. He dials up the maximum intensity for the Lizard scene, but pulls back on the quieter scenes and uses every trick in the book to enhance the detail and contrast on the characters.

Together, the art team does a good job overcoming the artistic carousel demanded by ASM's "publish as fast as the presses will run" schedule. Everybody looks distinctive and recognizable (with the inevitable exception of "dude in a nice suit" Foreigner). Of course, they're helped by the fact that Spider-Man has the second-best rogues' gallery in the business.

And that seems to be the main point of this upcoming event: It's gonna be supervillain-palooza. There are a lot of antagonist agendas at play, but they're coming together with admirable choreography. I point again to just how neatly the Lizard's story develops in this issue; the latest twist locks into place like it was 3D-printed exactly for this job. 

In Amazing Spider-Man #70, this volume's whole story shapes toward a villain-centric conclusion that seems likely to tie a neat bow on Nick Spencer's run. The action-oriented art is at odds with its focus on "big picture" plotting, but an excellent dose of ensemble characterization (giving the villains plenty of love) ensures that this stage-setting issue is still a satisfying read.

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Charles Martin's picture
An unexpected consequence arising from this volume's ensemble approach: I find myself almost too invested in what happens to the women of the Syndicate.