The last two point one issues in this little saga were a colossal train wreck on a boat. Think we can see it turn around? Let’s not get our hopes up.
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #1.3
“Amazing Grace, Pt. 3: Dangers, Toils and Shares”
Writer: Jose Molina
Artist: Simone Bianchi
Inks: Simone Bianchi
Colors: Israel Silva and Java Tartaglia
Editors: Nick Lowe and Devin Lewis
Plot: Our comic starts off with Uncle Ben (he’s back now, that’s a thing) telling Peter that everything he’s been taught is wrong. (It turns out humankind was actually made by the AllSpark) Peter lunges out for no reason and attacks Uncle Ben. (Instead of being excited that he’s back, which Spectacular did rather well (Boy, I keep bringing Spectacular up a lot. Maybe it’s because I’ve been binging to relieve the stress of reading this comic)) Uncle Ben tells Peter that he must start helping himself, (complete opposite of Spider-Man’s character, but what do I know?) because he’s been spending every day trying to make up for Uncle Ben’s death. (Again, an integral part of Spider-Man’s character, can’t really change that without getting flak)
With an incredibly jarring change of pace, we then cut to Julio and his family as the Santerians set fire to his house. (and sneak out the back because press… just another fire, not that special) They whisk him away to get a Q-tip swab, and it turns out that Rodriguez knows them and is concerned about how much they are aware of his resurrection’s details. (This is really confusing… says every reviewer on the panel) Turns out the fire was fake (because Status Quo is god, and we can’t have houses burned down because the Status Quo would be ruined then) and the only thing that was damaged was a lamp (The Lamp was destroyed! The Status Quo of the Marvel Universe is changing forever!)
We then cut back again (Pick a perspective and stick with it) to Peter and the Uncle Ben hallucination/illusion/figment (Aren’t those all the same thing?) as they have an argument about religion (Because religion is integral to Spider-Man!) where Peter continues to be a total jerk. (he’d be celebrating that he can see his uncle back from the dead!… Then again, he has seen robot versions of his parents, so…) He finds himself outside, where Uncle Ben Hallucination sews up a rip in his costume before disappearing. (I thought it was armor.) He beats up some witch doctors and hitches a ride back to Harlem, where Beast (who’s hanging out with the Inhumans because Inhumans, shut up) analyses the q-tip, and they have another religion debate. (Because Beast is totally about religion, as far as I’m aware) Turns out that Julio is not human. (He’s a Pretender!)
…I’m not hating it as much as I’m hating the main story.
That’s maybe the best I can give to Amazing Spider-Man’s point one series. The main story of the title is so bad at this point that the issues that I previously gave a failing grade to is looking better in comparison.
Actually, there are some things that I did like in this issue, despite how much I dislike it.
The fight scenes are actually pretty slick, and show Peter using his web-shooters effectively for once. Bianchi has a startlingly good eye of detail when it comes to dynamic postures, and falls into the Humberto Ramos category of “only good when it’s intense”.
The philosophical implications that come up do sound intriguing, that Peter needs to take care of himself as well, given his recent retcon of “No One Dies”. (which, as a little background, is a story that I myself found intriguing given that Spider-Man ironically saves everybody except those that are closest to him) The idea that Spider-Man takes his responsibility to the next level and uses his ideals as an excuse to let out pent-up anger would have been a lot more morally challenging and thought-provoking, but it still thankfully did get me thinking… that this should have been a Daredevil story.
And this is where we transition into the cons. This really shouldn’t have been a Spider-Man story.
Given his mass ego and scientific approach to things, this really shouldn’t have been a Spider-Man story; his current status does not allow him to enter these types of scenarios. I know what you’re thinking, “But Neil! We want him in these more human settings!” And feel free to call me out on being a massive hypocrite, but I feel like a story more bent on his current status quo would be better than having one so radically out of place here. But I would rather have a story that makes sense given the context of current Spider-Man stories in the main storyline than one that feels so out of place given his world-trotting status, as much as it pains me to say it.
I do think this story would have worked, had it been for, say, Daredevil, given his previous history with the Santerians, but given how little I know about them I can’t be certain. Or even Deadpool, given his experience with the supernatural, and would have allowed him to interact with Death, allowing him to explore with his previous supporting cast given his own status quo changes; the amount of banter between him and Death and the amount of sense-lacking material with this character would, in most likelihood, make more sense with Deadpool’s supporting cast interacting with these new elements.
This comic also has a very odd sense of pacing. If I can give Slott any credit where it’d due, it has to be his hit-and-miss pacing. In ASM #7, he was able to juggle three separate storylines and they didn’t feel as clunky. Here, we have a very sudden and out-of nowhere from Peter talking with his figment Uncle, and we then suddenly cut to Julio for no reason. If Peter had fought the witch doctors and then cut to Julio, I feel like we’d have a bit more context and more smooth transition.
In short, I’m pretty sure this is just as bad as the previous installments, and I feel like it should be deserving of an F. However, I’m feeling incredibly generous given my current streak of good luck in real life. Plus, I’ve also been so frustrated and angry about the current run of Amazing Spider-Man that I feel this one simply has more things going for it.