Friday, 6 February 2015

The Amazing Spider-Man #4 - Marvel Comics

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 4, September 2014
Despite being tied into the “Marvel Worldwide” comic book event “Original Sin”, a storyline based upon an investigation into the murder of Uatu the Watcher by Nick Fury and the Avengers, it is hard to fathom how this issue of “The Amazing Spider-Man” managed to become the third best-selling comic of July 2014; with sales of 117,917 copies.

Admittedly the book does contain a plethora of cameos of some of the publisher’s most popular characters such as Nova, The Thing, Daredevil, the X-Men, the Hulk, Thor, Luke Cage and the incredible Hulk. But their appearances are fleeting and consist of just a handful of panels. Whilst the bulk of Dan Slott’s plot deals with Web-head negotiating his way through an old bunker belonging to Ezekiel Sims and (finally) rescuing Cindy Moon from her decade-long prison. That, besides the single-page devoted to the Black Cat abducting Peter Parker’s partner Sajani Jaffrey, is all that takes place…

As a result much of the actual storytelling for this comic falls to the artistic team of Humberto Ramos, inker Victor Olazaba and colorist Edgar Delgado, and a very good job they do to, up to a point. Disappointingly the actual ‘Original Sin’ related battle between the super-heroes and the Mindless Ones is cut lamentably short by the Orb exploding one of the Watcher’s eyes and bestowing Spider-Man with the knowledge as to where to locate Moon. From then on all attention shifts to the emergence of the former high school student, and her swift and impressive first transformation into the “Spider-Bride”, Silk; in all likelihood the main reason for this issue’s impressive monthly sales figure.

However as this revelation occurs with still two thirds of the comic left, it does lead to some rather large panels being utilised by the Mexican penciller to populate the remaining pages. These drawings become increasingly outlandish as the narrative progresses and stimulates some especially peculiar illustrations of Spidey. Such as one where Steve Ditko’s co-creation is on all-fours looking closely at Moon’s naked feet, and another near full-page picture which depicts the new super-heroine apparently stood levitating in mid-air?

What does seem relatively evident is that having unveiled Silk and released her upon the ‘Marvel Universe’, Dan Slott is then forced to scratch around for ideas as to what she could do for the rest of the magazine. Why else would the reader have to negotiate a series of pages which leap from young Cindy’s elation at being free and able to utilise her rather formidable super-powers, through tears, anger and violence, to a desperately passionate but somewhat disturbing embrace with Peter Parker at the conclusion of the comic?
Writer: Dan Slott, Artist: Humberto Ramos, and Inker: Victor Olazaba

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