|THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 17, June 2015|
It is copiously clear why regular writer Dan Slott turned to Christos Gage for help with the script to Issue Seventeen of “The Amazing Spider-Man”, as this second instalment of “The Graveyard Shift” contains an extremely busy narrative. Seldom does a comic’s storyline so mercilessly flit from character to character and scene to scene with such apparent wanton abandonment, even when it is supposedly an action-orientated title.
But crammed within the meagre fourteen-pages of “Trust Issues” is an awkward evening family meal between Aunt and Nephew, a breath-taking night time swing through the city skyline courtesy of your friendly neighbourhood Webhead, a hullabaloo at Parker Industries over Peter’s plans for his company’s future, a murderously stealthy act of sabotage within said corporation’s Security Hub, a demonstration of state-of-the-art prisoner incarceration which unsurprisingly goes spectacularly awry, a moment of total treachery by one of Spidey’s co-workers and finally a last minute confrontation between the titular character and the Ghost.
Disappointingly however the vast majority of these ‘happenings’ are actually superficial padding at best, as very little actually develops as far as the multi-issue story-arc is concerned. Indeed despite all the ‘white noise’ generated by the long-time collaborators, the only occurrence of note, besides an endearing appearance by the robot Living Brain, is that, having started to wreak havoc at Parker’s multi-billion dollar conglomerate, the comic ends with the Ghost apparently killing Sajani Jaffrey; a former Horizon Lab employee who is arguably one of the series’ most dislikable personalities.
Far easier to follow is the rather sedentary six-pager “No Take Backsies”, a simple no-nonsense tale which involves the Black Cat repossessing her former horde of stolen loot from current owner Regina Venderkamp. In many ways this ‘burgling short’ is something of a missed opportunity by Slott and Gage, as its intermittent inclusion within the messy main story would certainly have helped slow down its feverish sequence of events to a less frantic read.
Disconcertingly the artwork of Humberto Ramos is equally as dissimilar for the two ‘strips’ as their plot’s conflicting pacing, with the Mexican’s pencilling of Peter Parker's 'bad day in the office' appearing decidedly rushed in places, especially during the S.W.A.T. Bots malfunction, yet wonderfully cartoony for Felicia Hardy’s solo outing.
|The variant cover art of "THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" No. 17 by Scott Forbes|