Amazing Spider-Man #3
Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado, Chris Eliopoulos
So, I’ll get this out of the way from the start: I always thought Peter Parker was the ultimate dweeb. I never bought a single Spider-Man book prior to Avenging Spider-Man and the only reason I got hooked on that was because it was being given away for free. It was a genius marketing strategy because I quickly seized upon a title that, to me, seemed to exist solely to team Spidey up with other Marvel heroes so that they could make fun of him for 22 pages. When that title ended with the “death” of Peter Parker and birth of the Superior Spider-Man, I was intrigued enough by the concept of Doctor Octopus taking over the mantle to give Superior Spider-Man a try. And man, did Superior Spider-Man blow me away. It was in those pages that I learned that Spider-Man is way more than Peter Parker. Spider-Man can be Peter Parker, Otto Octavius, Miles Morales, Ben Reilly, or Miguel O’Hara and still be amazing. Just because I think Peter’s a clod doesn’t mean that Spider-Man doesn’t mean something bigger than the man in the mask.
I always thought Superior Spider-Man was interesting because it was someone else interpreting Uncle Ben’s famous “With great power comes great responsibility” line. And not just someone else but one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes. Otto didn’t truly understand what responsibility meant until the very end and, until that moment, he was definitely far more focused on the power part. In trying to prove himself to be superior to Parker, Otto’s ruthless tactics in taking down New York’s criminal element gave his predecessor’s former friends and family reason to really distrust him. Superior Spider-Man brutally attacked those he encountered, used his spider-bots to monitor the city, and experimented on captive criminals with wanton abandon. He left a hell of a mess for the next man to take up the Spider mask.
And now, in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man, the original is back in the saddle and taking a beating for Otto’s unconventional hero-ing methods. Suddenly Dr. Peter Parker has his PhD., his own company, and a slew of people who hate him more than they ever had before, even if they never really hated him in the first place. Former NYC mayor J. Jonah Jameson is being invited to return to his journalism roots where he will likely use a television news program as an anti-Spider-Man sounding board, much like he did when he was running The Daily Bugle. Mary Jane Watson has removed herself from Peter’s life, having found a more conventional type of hero to share her life with. And while Anna Maria Marconi has accepted (weirdly fast, for someone who was essentially raped by Octavius in Parker’s body) this new status quo, her insistence at carrying on her ex-boyfriend’s legacy behind his newly re-occupied back will likely have repercussions in the near future.
However, perhaps unexpectedly, Spider-Man’s biggest concern lies with The Black Cat. Peter and Felicia Hardy have a long on-again/off-again history but it is decidedly off since the Superior Spider-Man humiliated and ruined the cat burglar. After having her pride stolen, Cat’s out for blood in an effort to regain her prior status. Her confrontation within the pages of this issue is relatively brief but it leads to her finding a little bit of muscle in her move for power. Electro, a victim of Otto Octavius’ sick experiments, is completely out of control and desperate, a state that will likely make him easy to manipulate in coming issues.
Three issues in, I’m pleased with the direction Amazing Spider-Man is going. Slott’s doing a pretty good job at showing that there are definitely repercussions that are being addressed from Superior Spider-Man. I think he’s being a little too casual with the Anna Maria thing but maybe that will get some treatment as she continues Octavius’ nano-technology work. I hope so because, frankly, it needs something. That Peter hasn’t given the fact that Octavius was physical with her while inhabiting his body a second thought worries me a lot. Otto took advantage of not just Anna Maria but Peter, too. Those are issues that really deserve some attention, sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I’m sure Black Cat and Electro will keep him busy.
Humberto Ramos’ art continues to astound me. Even if I had checked out of the Spider-Man story with the return of Peter Parker, I might have made it a point to flip through the book on visits to my local comic shop just to see how it looks. I love how sleek the action sequences are and equally enjoy his expressions. Between Jameson’s crazed delight at being offered a job and Black Cat’s rage when she finally faces Spider-Man, I think I could read an entire book of reaction shots by Humberto Ramos. It really is a treat.
I think, somehow, I became a Spider-Man fan. And depending on where the next bunch of issues take us with the above-mentioned factors and this new spider-lady, I might be in it for the long haul. Who knew?