Will the vile corporation hating Ghost turn Parker Industries, and its faithful menagerie of misfits into…well…Ghosts? Will Black Cat ever do a thing in character? Will Aunt May ever stop worrying about Peter? All this and more in this instalment of Amazing Spider-Man.
“The Graveyard Shift, Part Two: Trust Issues”
“Repossession, Part Two: No Take Backsies”
WRITERS: Dan Slott & Christos Gage
PENCILER: Humberto Ramos
INKER: Victor Olazaba
COLORS: Edgar Delgado
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos
COVER ARTISTS: Humberto Ramos & Edgar Delgado
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Devin Lewis
EDITOR: Nick Lowe
Plot: Our issue begins with Peter and Anna Maria having a nice sit down dinner with Aunt May, and Uncle Jay. That is until the issue of marriage comes up! Aunt May wishes Peter would finally settle down, and get married (be careful what you wish for lady Kingpin has snipers everywhere), this leads to Anna Maria dropping the “we broke up” bomb. The rest of the dinner goes by in a presumably awkward fashion, afterwards Peter and Anna Maria take the web sling express all the way to Parker industries in order to run his company. Before Peter and Anna arrive we see a disgruntled Sajani being the same as she has been for the last 16 issues…grouchy. She feels the project is a failure, once Peter and Anna arrive we find out that the security systems in Parker industries are going haywire. One of the security guards goes to check on the mainframe only to get “ghosted” as I like to call it. We then see the super villain Ghost initialize his take down of Parker industries. While Peter is showcasing the new technology to his laboratory staff, Ghost’s interference causes the security drones to go haywire. From here Peter and the living Brain work to get the scientists out of the building to safety. Once the Living Brain takes a substantial hit from one of the drones Anna Maria reminds Sajani that all of there secret nanotechnology work is stored within him. This causes Sajani to go off on her own and attempt to make a deal with Ghost. Ghost however is having no such deal, and promptly stabs her. Her scream draws the attention of Peter, and the issue ends with what looks like a dead Sajani.
The second story involves Black Cat stealing her collection back from the private buyer we saw last issue. She kidnaps the woman after dispatching her security staff. Once she has all of her goodies accounted for, Felicia notices that a piece is missing, a piece belonging to AUNT MAY and UNCLE JAY…dun dun duun.
Story: As far as what I’m looking for from a Spider-Man issue this would be an ideal template. It uses his status quo to the benefit of the story, him being the owner of a company doesn’t feel like it’s shoe horned in. The characters (excluding Felicia) are all portrayed as they should be there isn’t much if any characterization, and the storyline is grounded but uniquely Spider-Man. This isn’t a story that would really gel with any other super hero title at the moment, which is something that can’t be said for all of Marvel’s current output. In short Spider-Man feels like Spider-Man.
All this being said the issue is not without its faults. For one the issue feels the need in a lot of cases to reiterate in speech bubbles, what the character doing. For example when Peter goes on about how good to him Anna Maria is, this feels more like a “readers can’t understand subtext” than an necessary component to the story. Slott has received a lot of this criticism in the past, as characters constantly feel the need in his run to remind Peter just how skilled, or perfect another character is for him. It’s just an overused writing element we see pop up in these book constantly, this issue it just felt particularly prevalent. Another thing that needs to be changed is Sajani, her roles has been exactly the same since the relaunch. She complains to Peter, then complains to Peter, annnnd then complains about Peter. Finally she meets up with the super villain and helps them, or attempts to make a deal with them. Now the end of this book makes you believe Sajani is dead, but we’ve all read enough Spider-Man issues, and comics in general to know that she will be fine after this event. Hopefully the near death experience with change her outlook, or cause a story that focuses more on her free time. Sajani needs to be fleshed out to feel more like a character and less like a plot device. Her antics were amusing at first, but when they’ve been continuing on for this long a change needs to be made.
Another criticism of note is the marriage talk from Aunt May. This just seems like Gage, and Slott are really putting in a dig at people who want to see the character remarried again. I imagine readers who grew up in the 80s, and 90s were completely with Aunt May in this scene. It only makes sense for a character with this many failed relationships to tie down the knot sometime. Don’t worry Aunt May in a few months we’ll have a married Peter in the new and improved secret wars.
Now I haven’t said much about the backup story because it is really hard to care about it. There is not an ounce of me that can muster up even the faintest notion of emotion for the story. Its just completely average, and unremarkable. The one major criticism I have is that Black Cat instantly notices that one piece of her collection is missing. YEAAAH right you inventoried the whole thing in the limited amount of time she was knocked out cold, then you found out who had the other item, and tracked them down.
Overall story A. is a lot of fun, with an awesomely designed villain, and a fun premise. Story B. however is just plain average, and boring.
ART: The art in this issue is great, the only minor gripe I have is the look of Spider-Man’s calf in one of the images I’m including in my article. It just doesn’t look right, everything else in the issue is top notch. The action flows well, and I really like some of the stylistic choices for some of the larger action scenes. Particularly there is a panel near the end of the issue when the Living Brain is directing the scientists out of the lab, and it looks really cool. The Living Brain has a cool defensive stance, and you see Peter off to the side looking tall and imposing in his lab coat. Truly an awesome sequence.