The Amazing Spider-Man #4 Review

by Harlan Ivester on August 22, 2018

Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciler: Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colorist: Laura Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics

         It’s no secret that I’ve generally love Nick Spencer’s Spider-Man so far, but I’ve got to be honest. The whole splitting Spider-Man and Peter Parker thing, as an idea, is not my favorite. However, Spencer has pulled off trickier things before, and damn, if I haven’t been enjoyed every page so far anyway. Those who were hoping for this little snafu to be resolved so soon will be disappointed, but you will all find another great issue nonetheless. No spoilers here.

         The fourth issue of this run is a bit of a quieter one, yet it's focusing more on upping the stakes. You’ll have to read to find out why, but now Spider-Man has a reason to want to reunite with Peter too, even if he doesn’t know it yet. These potential consequences are probably important if they want those of us who aren’t crazy about this arc’s gimmick to care more than we normally would. I have such mixed feelings about it already. On one hand, it seems so played out. On the other, it definitely had the potential to and possibly still could more carefully explore what is necessary for Peter to be a super hero. Instead of exploring those ideas, the story takes a more surface level approach to tell us what we already know: power without responsibility is bad. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I welcome the inevitable reunion. Also noteworthy is, as you would expect from Spencer, his knack for bringing back unloved villains to the stage. I have to admit, Peter was right when he assumed that I was wondering just who this surprise appearance was, but now that I know, it does make perfect sense so far. It’s important that Spencer has a good reason to involve these lesser known foes instead of just dragging them around because they’re quirky.

         I’m happy to say that Ryan Ottley’s art has grown on me. I’m still not in love with it, but I can certainly appreciate its crisp, chiseled look. I should acknowledge that there are some awkward poses and recycled expressions, but if the praise I hear for Ottley’s work is anything to go by, I don’t think most people will notice or care. It might just be that there’s too much to enjoy anyway. I mean, that Tri-Sentinel with the new paint job. So good. The intense heat and grit of the African jungle, the awe of swinging just below the New York skyline as the sun sets – Ottley and Cliff Rathburn make them pretty good on their own, but moments like these are sold by noticeably accurate outdoor lighting by Laura Martin. At some points it can feel like there’s a little too much green going on in this issue, but it’s not too long before you get a breath of fresh air that’s worth the wait.
         If you’re like me and you’ve been ready for the whole split personality thing to wrap up, you’ll be disappointed if you really don’t like it that much, but I’d be willing to bet that most people will agree Spencer does enough with it to still make the story entertaining enough to justify picking this one up. The visuals can be a little wonky, but overall are pleasing to the eyes and match the tone of the issue well. Check it out if you don’t outright hate the gimmick.

Our Score:


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