|THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 3, January 2016|
It’s rather hard to work out what was in “fan favourite” Dan Slott’s mind when he penned the narrative for Issue Three of “The Amazing Spider-Man”. For on the one hand “Friendly Fire” depicts an outrageously bold attack upon Nick Fury’s Helicarrier “over the East China Sea” by Scorpio and the rest of the Zodiac. Yet on the other, paints a pretty petty portrayal of Johnny Storm, as the founding member of the Fantastic Four irresponsibly causes “over a hundred thousand in damages” simply because Peter Parker has placed “the Baxter Building… under new management” and Jack Kirby’s co-creation isn’t best pleased about it.
Indeed so contrasting are the tones of the two simultaneous storylines that many of this twenty-page periodical’s 93,848 readers must have been completely bemused as to whether the Berkeley-born writer was trying to tell a genuinely chilling tale of just how deadly S.H.I.E.L.D.’s sectarian opposition are, bearing in mind the affiliation’s sinister leader cold-bloodily murders an imprisoned Leo simply for failing him, or if the Diamond Gem Award-winner was actually attempting to wittily tap into the “triangle… [of] characters who are vying for Pete’s attention” by having a seemingly ‘jealous’ Human Torch almost give away Spider-Man’s secret identity by initiating a disconcertingly childish fist-fight; “You built a new spider-mobile. Without me. You son of --”
Disappointingly the most probable answer is that Slott was trying to achieve both, and in doing so has produced a nauseating narrative which makes the audience yearn for far more Zodiac-based exploits on board Fury’s “signature capital ship” and infinitely less coverage of a Johnny Storm who seems irritatingly close to the impetuous, brash, dislikeable youth of his Sliver Age appearances. In fact the American author’s version of the flaming human mutate is so unappealing it actually comes as a disappointment that the Wall-crawler doesn’t ‘take his head off’, and Harry “Lyman” Osborn magnanimously agrees not bill him “for the damages.”
Incredibly, despite this rather choppy script, Giuseppe Camuncoli still manages to pencil plenty of eye-candy throughout this comic book. The Italian artist’s designs for Gemini, Aries and Taurus, as well as their boss Scorpio, are disturbingly ominous-looking. Whilst the sheer sense of dynamically-charged chaos during the Zodiac’s “all-out war” against S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as Spider-Man’s destructive duel with his so-called fiery friend, is entirely palpable via the illustrator’s energetic panels.
|The regular cover art of "THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" No. 3 by Gabrielle Dell'otto|