Image Courtesy of Marvel.com
Spoilers: Keep in mind that my method of reviewing involves spoilers for purposes of analysis. If you care about being spoiled and have not read Amazing Spider-Man #18 yet, please avoid this review until you do!!
It was starting to seem like all of the comics I’ve been reviewing have been lacking action. I don’t mind a lack of action, but it was a strangely long string of super hero books with a lot of talking and not a lot of punching. Impressively long, considering I review four books a month. This week’s Amazing Spider-Man DEFINITELY broke that trend (well, I mean, really Silk #3 broke that trend, but this issue steps it up). This is cover to cover superhero action goodness, and the best part is that some of it is actually surprising.
The issue opens right where the previous one left off: with Spidey walking in on Ghost attacking Sajani. He works on saving her and then gets right to the fighting. This is all pretty standard Spidey-fight goodness, complete with witty banter and Spider-Man getting trapped under rubble (this is a thing that happens to our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler a lot), so none of that was a surprise. But here is what was: Anna Maria Marconi and Clayton Cole are the ones who save him. Clayton puts on the sonic Spidey suit that is designed to fight venom (and he looks great in it. I kind of hope they put it on him again later), and Anna takes some heat infused web-shooters, and on Anna’s suggestion they go BACK INTO A COLLAPSING BUILDING TO SAVE SPIDER-MAN. It’s BAD ASS! Okay, I’m done being excited over that now, but I was seriously psyched when I saw that happen. This is a woman who in a very short time has found out her boyfriend was Spider-Man, found out he was really a super villain the whole time they were dating, subsequently realized that they would not be dating now, and has not only come away from that intact, but is actually willing to slap on some web shooters and go take down a super villain herself, and save the hero while she’s at it. Anna Maria Marconi is one of my favorite characters in comics right now. Period.
The fight between Clayton, Anna, and Ghost is pretty standard super hero action: teaming up and using a combination of two powers (in this case sonic waves and heat webbing) to take down a more powerful villain. We’ve seen things like this hundreds of times before. But this is a Spider-Man comic, and I’m not looking for it to be revolutionary. I’m looking for it to be fun (revolutionary is just a bonus). But, in a way, this IS kind of revolutionary, because it’s not Spidey doing these things. It’s a reformed super villain (proving Peter’s plan will work) and a civilian, who just happens to have a badass sense of morality. Anna also saves Peter twice-over by tossing him his civvy clothes so that he can come out of the building as Peter Parker to cover his identity. She’s basically his Robin at this point (and I mean that in the best way possible), and I’m all for that. I hope she gets a costume. That would be so cool.
The rest of the comic is also packed with surprises. We go from Parker industries being destroyed to Peter discovering May and Jay’s apartment ransacked, which leads us—FINALLY—to the merging of Peter’s story with…
BONUS: Black Cat in “Repossession” Part 3
After the letdown that was last month’s Repossession, I was really dreading this one, but it brought it all together and SERIOUSLY surprised me. Because, apparently, the whole point of Felicia reacquiring her collection was to BURN IT ALL TO THE GROUND. She justifies this by saying, “Everyone thinks they can take what’s yours. Your belongings. Your freedom. Your dignity. And they will.” And then she sets it on fire to set herself “free.” Spidey saves the hostages, and we are treated to some words of wisdom from Aunt May that Spider-Man saves people not things, which parallels nicely with the ASM X.1 run that is currently happening, because Spider-Man made a very similar statement to Watanabe regarding “protecting people, not turf.”
All-in-all, this was a great issue. Good action, and great plot momentum. Parker industries gets torn down, Spidey finally has a showdown with Black Cat, threads are finally starting to come together (and they look like they will continue to come together when ASM 18.1 comes out, judging from the cover art, which has Spider-Man tied up upside down in front of Black Cat), and Anna Maria got some more badass points (like she needed more, geez. Where’s her comic?). I do have a couple of gripes, though. Peter’s speech to rally his employees after the building collapsed was REALLY bad. It was boring and cliché and just unmotivating. I hope that’s what Slott intended. Peter Parker has shown (recently especially) that he’s not very good at running a business, and is inconsistent at speeches. This bothers me, though, because we know he’s witty and smart. We see it when he’s Spider-Man. Hell, we saw it when he was pitching the super prison idea. So whenever they make him terrible at this stuff, it makes me cringe a bit. If they meant the speech to be good, then that is even worse. Also, as much as I loved Anna and Clayton coming in to save Spider-Man, the fact that as soon as Ghost was taken care of, Spidey just lifted the girder and was fine made me think, “why didn’t he just do that before?” Anyway, those things aside… great issue. Probably the best ASM issue since Spider-Verse.