Spider-Man #5 (2016) Review


image“You put on that costume. You decided to represent something…and what you represent is bad for my business.”

Spider-Man in the clutches of the Black Cat! If he survives the encounter, what do his grandmother and personal life have in store for him?

WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis

ARTIST: Sara Pichelli

INKING ASSIST: Gaetano Carlucci

COLORS: Justin Ponsor

LETTERING: VC’s Cory Petit

COVER ART: Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor

TITLE PAGE DESIGN: Idette Winecoor

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Devin Lewis

EDITOR: Nick Lowe

STORY: Goldballs pays Ganke a visit to clear the air. Together, they come across a video blogger who is showing the footage of Miles being abducted by Hammerhead. Rio calls Ganke, asking where Miles is. Gloria decides to hire a private investigator to snoop on Miles. Meanwhile, Spider-Man breaks free, capturing his captors, save for the Black Cat, and turns them over to the police. Jefferson meets with Maria Hill. Miles, Ganke, and Goldballs start to talk, under the eye of Jessica Jones.image

THOUGHTS: This book might be finally starting to hit its stride as Bendis and Co. deliver another solid issue. The cover seems a little more representative this time as there are no mystery characters that can’t be identified. Though Miles should be snapping those chains and sticking to the wall no problem, I like the shattered eye lens on his mask, indicating there was a bit of a struggle.

Pichelli perfectly captured Ganke’s excitement over Fabio coming to room with them. It’ll be interesting to see how the dynamic of a trio impacts the Miles/Ganke relationship. The problem with this story element isn’t that Ganke overstepped his bounds by outing Miles to Goldballs, but that we keep hearing how Miles is “going through some stuff”, yet Bendis has yet to show us anything outside the norm for Miles or a Spider-Man. Problems with school? Check. Girl trouble? Been there, done that. Worried adults? Rio is no overbearing, frail Aunt May. In fact, post Secret Wars, Miles is significantly better off than he was in his last volume where his mother was dead and his dad missing after discovering his secret. So what is Bendis hinting at?image

I can’t tell if YouTuber Danika is just really excited or a little crazy with her virtual stalking of Miles. I think you can interpret it either way-she’s just an innocent super fan with a crush or she’s gonna take her obsession to Kathy Bates in Misery proportions. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few issues down the road she pulls some Lois Lane like stunt to meet Miles, then becomes a villain when her affections are spurned.

Ganke repeating everything Rio said to stall for time to make up an answer to her questions cracked me up, but this Gloria storyline has gotten old fast. I would’ve liked it if she was less the “I know everything so I won’t listen to your or your opinions” type. How else is Bendis gonna throw in Netflix darling Jessica Jones, though?

Finding an unmasked Miles bound to a chair, hands tied behind his back, surrounded by his captors made me think of Amazing Spider-Man #39-40. Not sure if Bendis was doing an homage, or it just is something that happens to heroes a lot, but I was definitely picking up that vibe. There’s no insane Goblin here, though, just coldly dispassionate career criminals! I was stunned to see the Felicia Hardy who once dated Flash Thompson so cruelly dismiss her underling that they thought was having a heart attack. She is full on in “Queenpin” mode this issue.image

I’d think Miles could break out of some ordinary chains, even if he is just regaining consciousness. I guess it gives him another chance to show off his “venom web” or whatever it’s been branded. Pichelli does a good job depicting the difference in stature between Hammerhead and Miles as they tussle. It’s important to note that when the bad guys run Miles’ prints the results come up negative, as in “S.H.I.E.L.D. has wiped all records clean” negative.

Miles gives chase to Felicia and they have a rooftop discussion. I really have to give it to Miles’ earnestness as he believes he’s going to take Felicia to jail. Despite how her character has been mishandled by others lately, Bendis has her depicted as a no-nonsense, ruthless businesswoman of the underworld. I wish it were different, but it is what it is. Her encounter with Miles doesn’t have the tension that it would with Peter, but then it shouldn’t due to their age difference and lack of history with each other. Her hate is all for the suit, not the man inside.

I got a kick out of seeing the gang wrapped up to a lightpole for the police to find and the officer asking where the note is. I could’ve done without Bendis’ swipe at DC’s Rebirth. I guess if you want to go meta with how DC is getting a better reaction than your mini-series you gotta keep the now cross country rivalry going.

Jefferson gets a page of focus. Not only is his S.H.I.E.L.D. backstory still in continuity, but he’s the reason why Miles’ identity is protected. I’m curious to see if he’s going to share this with Miles and if they’ll keep each other’s secrets away from Rio.image

As Miles reunites with his roommates, presumably Jessica Jones is watching them from afar, unless it was Rio spying and I can’t tell the difference. It makes sense for Bendis to bring another of his creations in, I just wish it wasn’t from Gloria’s interference. Speaking of Bendis’ creations, I’m not looking forward to next issue crossing over with Civil War II at ALL. AT. ALL.

This was the best issue of this relaunch so far. It covered a lot of ground, gave focus to all the cast members, and the art was great. Pichelli once again dropped the chibi-style cutaways that seemed out of place in a title that focused on an older Miles. Yet something is still not hitting it out of the park for me since the relaunch. Well, since Ultimate End, really. I doubt next issue as we get embroiled  in Civil War II will assuage that feeling. We’ll see.

MY GRADE: B+

JAVI’S HUH?: What exactly is Black Cat doing on the cover? Kicking Miles? Ballet?

(6) Comments

  1. Ryan Read

    While I want spoil things since Spider-Man #6 came out today. I still don't get Rio's motivation, yes, she panics, but of all people, Gloria still comes off as a subplot. I still don't see her as a character.

  2. Javi Trujillo - Post author

    I'm with you, Ryan. Gloria is a caricature, not a character. Frontier, I definitely caught Bendis having people in police custody spout meta commentary before. You're also spot on-Bendis unmasks his heroes A LOT. The Jessica Jones thing puzzles me a bit. It seems the obvious thing that if she does find out the truth about Miles, she'll keep it given all his connections and she'll just lie to RIo and Gloria to make things okay.

  3. Frontier

    @Jack - She still has her bad luck powers, which are now apparently stronger then ever because of how EVIL she is. Spider-Man being unmasked by bad guys is a staple of Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man run, and I think that was what was being referenced here. As is a crazy person being dragged into a police station while referencing something going on in comics at the time. I guess it was too much to hope for that Bendis would do any salvaging of Black Cat's character, especially when he freely admitted the main reason for using her is because she's currently a "Kingpin" character and he likes using kingpins. Having Felicia kidnap a teenage Spider-Man for no reason other then "business" and the fact that he's a Spider-man isn't a very flattering portrayal, though I guess it could've been worse. As interesting as it is to see Jefferson enlisting SHIELD's aid to help Miles and joining them again, nothing good ever comes from working with 616 Maria Hill. I was wondering what other Bendis "pets" we would see show up, and lo and behold it's Jessica Jones! So Bendis gets to use her and the character gets promoted more at the same time. Though I am curious to see where her investigating MIles will go, especially if she learns his identity given her own history with Superheroics and relationship with Peter.

  4. ryan3178

    I find Gloria's being the weakest part of the stories right now. Sure, we get Jessica Jones in, but really! Your mother hires a private investigator to find out why your son is doing bad in school? At that point I would have told her to pack her bags and leave and never come back. Gloria is a subplot and not a character. I have yet to see what was going through Rio's head to put her mother in on all of this. As the old saying goes: "You know how the person is, don't let someone turn nothing into a problem, when that's all they see. We have relatives like that and we just don't discuss matters that concern us with them anymore. Because they always want to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

  5. Enigma_2099

    Kinda funny how the only person to decisively take her down has been SpOck. Slott will forever get props from me for that one. Come at me, Ashley.

  6. Jack

    I have never ever understood how Felicia survives these encounters, since it's true she is only an athlete.

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