Amazing Spider-Man #4 Review

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Posted July 25, 2014 by Spencer Maxwell in Comic Books

Written by: Dan Slott

Art by: Humberto Ramos

Publisher: Marvel

It’s clear that Marvel is setting up for the Spider-Verse event. The story line where allegedly every Spider-Man will have to fight the villain Morlun, the only villain to “kill” off Peter Parker in the main continuity. The issue focuses more on piquing interest for the future rather than giving us something emotional to gravitate towards.

The plot ties into Original Sin with Peter discovering that he wasn’t the only one to get bit by the spider that gave him his abilities. We get to finally meet the young woman (Cindy Moon) that Marvel has been teasing, with a similar path and powers as Spider-Man. The issue focuses on her and her history since she was bit.

Dan Slott does a great job of setup. We see Morlun ominously cloaked in shadow, biding his time to attack. While we see how afraid Cindy is of Morlun, it builds tension for what is soon to come. Though he has difficulty establishing and defining new characters, he really understands Spider-Man. He separates the man from the mask, which a lot of writers choose to ignore. He may rarely be funny, but he is always very quippy, which I really enjoy.

Slott is also the main problem with the book. It seems the concept of “show, don’t tell” would help his book. Though the presentation of Morlun was effective, it could’ve been a more threatening moment if he was silent, presenting more mystery to the character. Slott is also generous with the exposition where the story should just naturally unfold through the art. It would greatly assist the book if Ramos was given more control over the material.

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The story of Cindy Moon flies by in a matter of pages. We don’t get much impact to her situation. Tragedy needs to be presented after we can sympathize with the character, then we need to digest it. It feels instantaneous as we meet her, and then move on. We don’t get development, we are just presented with a series of events.

Humberto Ramos is what saves this book from being a mess. His work is very suitable for a Spider-Man comic in it’s bright and stylized visuals. The sense of exaggeration in the character’s faces and their actions makes the book more fun and lighthearted. But he also presents the antagonist as foreboding through this long shadows and the regality of his environment.

Amazing Spider-Man isn’t supposed to be an emotionally heavy series. Though, it does have those few moments which give them greater impact. It seems as though Slott is trying to make the book dark where he isn’t capable of accomplishing that goal, and it’s also counterproductive to Ramos’ style. If the art had more control over the story, this comic would be much better for it.


About the Author

Spencer Maxwell

I write about pretty much everything surrounding nerd culture. @CSpencerMaxwell