Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #4 Review: AndrewRoebuck’s Take


Spidey blesses the rains down in Africa.

Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: Cam Smith
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Nick Lowe

PLOT: Our issue begins with Scorpio looking up to the stars asking his two mysterious prophets what his future has in store. The prophets tell him he can either continue following his plan, or he can go on the offensive tonight. According to the prophets attacking earlier will cause SHIELD to lose Spider-Man as an ally. From here we see Nick Fury preparing his allies to launch a full invasion on all known Zodiac bases. Spider-Man is distracted once he receives a call from Aunt May. May is in the country of Nadua, preparing to launch their solar farm which will power the entire village. Before they can turn the solar panels on, a group of Goblins begin to bomb them. Peter sees this and immediately changes course to save his Aunt and abandon SHIELD’s assault.Screenshot from 2015-12-10 17:46:33 SHIELDS assault is seemingly going well until it’s discovered that multiple bases are abandoned, and appear to have never really been used. Peter arrives in Nadua, fights off the Goblins, saves some children, and ensures his Aunt is safe. The leader of the village then commands Parker Industries leave as they have made the village a target. Parker Industries leave, and the leader gets on a phone in order to contact someone who can help keep his village safe if he delivers them the remainder of Parker Industries leftover technology. The man is who we saw in a previous issue offer the help of the Goblin’s, and who we are supposed to believe is Norman Osborn. Apparently at all times of the day the man has his face bandaged. The issue ends with The Lizard being greeted by the mysterious red suited man we saw in issue 1. He has brought back to life The Lizard’s son, and wife both of whom were previously murdered by the Lizard himself.

Screenshot from 2015-12-10 17:44:54STORY: There is a common trope in many a western story commonly referred to as  the “White Saviour”. Its when a nation of foreigners usually a different skin tone then us, can only be saved by the White man. While I’m sure this is not what Slott intended to display in this book, it really feels like it. The fact that Nadua isn’t even a real country makes the portrayal of their citizens even worse. Slott literally invented fictional, super clichéd, depiction of an African country. It really devalues the place of African countries in media when you belittle their existence to being universally the same. It looks like Slott just watched an ad for World Vision, and based an entire country off this. I would argue in the Marvel Universe this cliché shouldn’t even exist due to Wakanda being a world super power. The existence of Wakanda would drastically alter the landscape of the continent. I will give the credit to the story for at least having a citizen of Nadua come up with the idea to stop the Goblins, but its not enough.

The rest of the story is painfully simple, and at the end doesn’t really amount to anything. Spider-Man, and his company are told to stop meddling in the affairs of other countries, and then they are kicked out by the village. Spider-Man seemingly just leaves, and doesn’t even try to come up with a counterpoint or speech. So instead of taking a stance, or even remotely trying to say something interesting Slott just kinda backs away. Was Spider-Man right or wrong? Are there laws in the Marvel universe about these things? Is there any point to this scene other than to just make you feel vaguely uncomfortable? Slott just doesn’t tell you.

I think I know the true identity of the mysterious man recruiting old villains. HE IS…THE RETCONNER. Using his evil powers of Retcons he’s undoing years of terrible storytelling. In all seriousness I hope he tries this on Frank Castle next, as fans of the Remender series can remember how old Frankie reacted when his family was revived (it wasn’t pretty). In all seriousness these are either clones, or robots which is all that we ever see in Spider-Man comics ever, and will no doubt disappoint everyone.

Spider-Man’s tech for web air bags doesn’t work properly, the same which probably could easily have been said Screenshot from 2015-12-10 17:43:49about Mockingbird’s Wings who she didn’t even know she had. Spider-Man easily could have just killed her there. The whole sequence with Mockingbird made little sense. She states she is going to take over the ship, how exactly will she do that? Clearly Peter has the main controls, so he really didn’t need to force her out of the plane as she couldn’t do anything about it regardless. So Human Torch is just all of the sudden completely on board with SHIELD and leading his own squadron? Sure…and the dialogue is really bad even for Dan Slott.

ART: The art is this issue is really bad, I like Camuncoli a lot but this issue wasn’t up to par. Some of the shots make Spider-Man look alien.

Overall I really didn’t care for this issue, it just leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Whether it was intended to or not I can’t say but what I can say is that it was a pretty big misstep.


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(26) Comments

  1. Jason

    Really not a big fan of these decimal issues. Why not just make them one shots or a second Spidey title?

  2. PeterParkerfan

    Not to mention, the first issue of the new Amazing Spider-Man side-story(#01.1) needs to be reviewed as well

  3. Jason

    I actually read issue 5 before the review!! I didn't pick up issue six because Marvel didn't list it as a release last week. I didn't want to waste a trip to the comic shop. Bummer.

  4. Jeff Gutman

    Any plans to review ASM #5 & 6? Issue 5 has been out for weeks now with no review on this site. #6 has been out since last Friday as well. I'm not sure if it's merely the holidays or a shift in priorities for this site, but I would say in light of the rest of the internets glowing support of Dan Slott, it becomes increasingly important that sites like this that offer a counter point to that hive mind continue their review coverage.

  5. Fisk

    @21 If that ever happens, I will send him a KFC bucket full of chicken wings. I have heard he likes that company.

  6. ac

    Okay, I have a theory. Slott wants to be known as the greatest spider-man writer ever, right? How better to end his run, than with the return of mephisto and an undoing of bnd? Or maybe I'm just dreaming...

  7. ryan3178

    You know, now I read Spider-Man and I feel like I'm doing Mystery Science Theatre 3000 when I read it. When the goblin platoon showed up I went: "How dare Sam Rami reject our costumes!" "They are awesome!" " You don't like my pumpkin pie, eat this!" "It's bombing crocker!"

  8. Jack

    I should have only used the word "stereotyping." I should be clear that I've never seen any reason to think that Slott has racist sentiments.

  9. Chase The Blues Away

    #15 The comment about the solar panels providing power to each the Internet is so...typically Slott in that it bears no resemblance to how things work in real life. First, if the village didn't have already have electrical power, you'd think access to things like, oh, electric lights and other appliances that improve the daily standard of living would take precedence over the "internet." Second, one doesn't need constant access to the power grid to access the Internet, just a smart device capable of sending and receiving data. This is why mobile phones are the fastest growing means of accessing the Internet in developing countries. While cell phones do need electrical power to charge batteries, as long as the battery has power the Internet can be accessed. So Peter would be better off providing cheap solar-powered batteries for phones as opposed to setting up a power grid (which in the real world would be regulated by the government and so this whole asinine "Goblin Army hired by the angry government who was circumvented" plot is horribly contrived and fails to suspend disbelief). And all the electrical power in the world can't help one access the Internet if there isn't an Internet backbone connection available. And the Internet backbone is controlled by companies and governments. Governments can control what access their citizens receive - look at China - and ISPs control what data and bandwidth/speed their customers receive. So again, just providing a power grid does diddly squat to actually effect an Internet connection. And if the horribly stereotyped Nadua government really wanted to stop its citizens from using the Internet, it could easily do so if playing by the rules of the real world - again without resorting to the ridiculous Goblin Army subplot. On a separate point, good to see Peter is once again oh so responsible and couldn't care less about all that Parker Industries data in the hands of criminals. Not just his info, but all of his customers. It's so sweet Peter is a tech CEO who doesn't give a damn about his company's users' privacy. And choosing Aunt May over the safety and security of billions - isn't that opposite of the lesson he learned in AF15? Peter has a much greater power and thus a much greater responsibility now. And in the end: PETER LOST. The Goblins and the horribly stereotyped Nadua government got what they wanted: Parker Industries left with their tail between the legs. They even helped out the bad guys by leaving behind tech EVEN THOUGH PETER KNEW THEY WERE FIGHTING GOBLINS. So once again, Peter is depicted as an irresponsible loser incapable of logically thinking things through. In short, more par for the Slott course. Ridiculous world building that has nothing to do with the real world; and Peter is an ineffectual bumbler with few smarts and demonstrates even less of a sense of responsibility. (Personally, I think Slott based his African villagers on "Book of Mormon." They're straight out of the Broadway musical - which is meant to be provocative and offensive. Not the best nor most responsible research material for a comic book ostensibly aimed at young readers...)

  10. Jason

    Here are my quick thoughts; I'll read the review and other posts tomorrow. Nadua seems like a random place for an attack by War Goblins. This attack couldn't have been accomplished by a government army? In one panel Aunt May (still can't believe she acts like a spry 60-year-old instead of a woman near death) says the solar panels will help provide access to the internet, but a few pages later the kids state they do research on the internet. Hmmm. What's Spidey's "new super power?" "Spider sense and the ability to use it to avoid oncoming danger? Spidey relies too much on tech. I miss the days when it was just his brain, "natural" powers, and simple web shooters. Anyone else notice in the letters someone actually wrote disappointed how Peter Parker is being portrayed like Tony Stark?

  11. RDMacQ

    I kind of think the man in red is an agent of the Regent. The people that he's using to entice the Rhino and the Lizard are simply people from alternate realities that he's managed to snag for his own ends.

  12. ryan3178

    I am with your Mysterio theory that Stillanerd has thought of, he has the tech and powers to do this and guess where he has been the last couple of year? The Ultimate Universe where both Martha and Billy Connors were still alive and so was the Rhino's wife. Sure, there are differences but it wouldn't take much to use his hypnosis knowledge and fear gas to trigger it all. Since we don't now how the Nu8 Universe works, it is possible Beck found a way back bringing alternate others with him. Especially when we know that Battleworld will still exist after Secret Wars is over in a few weeks. Plus, Dan Slott has said several times he favorite two villains in Spider-Man and Dr. Octopus and Mysterio.

  13. RDMacQ

    Yes, May certainly is the most important person in Peter's life. Which is why she never holds any story importance or relevancy whatsoever, and disappears for several months at a time only to pop up in cameos here and there just to remind people "Yeah, she's alive." Because, you know, Peter obsessing over his elderly aunt is really something that people would find endearing and not at all creepy, given the lengths he'd go for her.

  14. Jeff Gutman

    Stillanerds review on another website nailed it. This is Slott writing a comic book version of the Ultimate Spider-man cartoon. Think about it - cool cars, rocket bikes and gadgets - check. Constantly accompanied by other heroes team up style - check. Working with shield - check. The only difference is the Parker industries thing. I wonder if this was a corporate dictate. Yknow - "make the comic more like the cartoon so we can have brand synergy!" Etc

  15. George Berryman

    <i>"Spidey blesses the rains down in Africa..."</i> God bless you, Andrew Roebuck. :cool: <iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  16. Big John

    Dear lord I hope that the man in red isn't Mephisto. Spidey dropped that line, "if Peter had to, he'd stop time for you May." and it made me think of One More Day. Then you have Rhino and Lizard coming under this guys' control because they can't let go of those whom they've lost?! That reeks of OMD to me. Plus, you have the fact that Peter is being portrayed yet again as a Momma's boy who can't prioritize. He's called by the world's peace-keeping task force to bring down a major terrorist organization and he hangs up on them because he gets a call from his Aunt. And the fact that he ejects Bobbi, and doesn't allow the PI security force to handle the War Goblins? Doesn't sound like the "delegator" we saw in the first issue. Sloppy writing. I look forward to hearing the panel's response to how, yet again, Spider-Man is dependent upon other heroes to save him and his situation in his own book, and how Bobbi was the one who kicked some Goblin ass, while Spider-Man tried to buy them off. yeah, Pete, because trying to reason with crazy has worked out so well in the past. Ugh. I did like seeing Pizard though. And, if Hush-face is actually Norman, it's pretty cool to see him controlling both sides of the Naduan conflict. That's the sinister Green Golbin I remember, for sure. Nice review Andrew! Viva Crawlspace!!

  17. ryan3178

    With the Rhino, the lost of his wife was tragic but the story fit together very well to where it is now. With that said, JR said it best a few months ago talking about what they did with the Lizard. They took away everything that made the villain tragic and perfectly grounded at the same time. When the decision was to kill off Martha Connors in that horrible 3D animated comic by Greg Ruka. It was very forced, we knew they were going to kill her off but secretly we all hoped she would recover from her cancer. From a story stand point, we got it, here Curt had this monster in him and now he was a widower and a single father. Very Lifetime, Nicholas Spark movie here. However, then they decided to do the whole: "Let's screw up Billy more" making him Lizard Jr, putting him in foster care, making him hate his father, ect. Then when it came down from editorial it was: "Let's have Curt lose everything and we will get great Lizard stories as a result. So, they have the Lizard kill his own son and then start talking like a rapper, yeah what a great idea (insert eye roll). The story went nowhere and while Slott did try to do something interesting with the Lizard during Big Time and Superior it was still horrible and even though he won't admit it. He is changing things to get an out and even admitting killing of Curt's family the last few years from other writers really took away from the character. So, if they want to retro The Connors family's deaths, I'm all for that. Its not like writers or editorials do stories and have no idea or notes where to take it, but for years, TV, movie and books have killed characters just for shock value and not story and almost 95% of the time, the audience and fan base don't like it. So, here is an idea, STOP DOING IT!

  18. Magnetic Eye

    I seriously can't believe people are spending money on this slop. In retrospect, despite the content, I actually didn't mind “Shed” and “Grim Hunt”. They were well written. :-)

  19. PeterParkerfan

    Well, as much as I hate Slott's ego... at least he did SOMETHING right. Like Stuart Green said, Connor's wife and son's deaths were just plain ridiculous. They shouldn't have died in the first place. Geez, I still remember reading AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #631 and cringing in disgust. It was THAT bad. Now if only they could retcon that disgusting piece of trash known as "SINS PAST"... This issue was mediocre like the third issue, but it's nowhere near as bad as the "SHED" and "GRIM HUNT" issues.

  20. Stuart Green

    So wait, Dr. Connors' wife and son are alive again? If so, GOOD! Their deaths were stupid and gave us some of the worst Lizard stories ever told. Dr. Connors/Lizard always worked best when he had Martha and Billy around him, even if Billy suddenly went from early teens in Amazing #365 to 9 years old in the usually-great Paul Jenkins' nonsensical three-issue storyarc nobody paid attention to after it was written. Still, the only real retcons I want to see happen (besides the Mephisto deal, naturally) are everything that's happened to Spidey's villains over the past decade or so. Let me see if I got this straight: Vulture is... well, I don't know what's happened to him to be honest, I heard/read that Doc Ock's the new Living Brain or whatever now, I have no idea what happened to Sandman (wasn't the Thing watching his daughter?), Electro recently lost his powers, my favorite Mysterio Quentin Beck may be dead now since he was last seen on the Ultimate Universe (unless I missed if "Secret Wars" said anything about him), Norman's changing his face almost as much as Chameleon now (that's my guess as to why his head/face got bandaged again), Kraven was brought back to life for no reason and hasn't done anything interesting since, I don't know where Scorpion is, Rhino's been dead for a while, Shocker's the new Don I think (that was from "Superior Foes", right?), and Venom hasn't been interesting since Eddie Brock no longer was the host. Isn't Eddie with a new symbiote as Toxin or whoever now? I don't even remember the last time the books used Spidey's supporting cast we knew and love over the years, like the Robertsons, Betty Leeds, Glory Grant, Anna Watson, etc. Since it's been years since Marvel had Peter as a photographer, a lot of his best supporting cast/friends have been retired, right? It seems all we have are Aunt May, the Jamesons and Harry Osborn, right? And don't even get me started on what's happened to Black Cat. Good grief. This whole new costume/running Parker Industries/Spidey is Pete's bodyguard status quo they've got going is worse than I thought and the "They'll knock the friendly right outta your neighborhood!" line just made me groan. Alex Ross' covers are being wasted on this series. Seriously, call me when Marvel gets Peter and M.J.'s marriage permanently restored. Till then, I'll just have to check the reviews to see what's going on with old Spidey. Whether I like what's going on in the books or not, I'll always love Spider-Man and only wish him the best. 'Nuff said.

  21. ryan3178

    I do feel like they are trying to Retcon everything with the villains. Now, the Lizard's family shows back up alive and well thanks to: "The mysterious man in red." Also, I'm already seeing the set ups for Parker Industries going down. We now have "Norman Osborn" selling goblin tech that was... MADE BY PARKER INDUSTRIES! Peter "I can't show or tell that its all a frame up" Parker just walks away with: "Oh well, I kind of did it myself." Also, the lead in to the end of the Zodiac story next issue just is here all of a sudden and SHIELD is also left to look like morons. After Waid, Hickman and others have tried to build SHIELD back up as at least being competent less shadow opps its back to: "Oopps, which way did they go George?" No offense to our own George, I'm just making a Of Mice and Men reference. Also great to know that Aunt May can still get herself in the middle of life and death situation in another country without even trying. Oh Aunt May, you accident prone, senile old bat, never change.

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