Thursday, 28 April 2016

The Amazing Spider-Man [2015] #5 - Marvel Comics

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 5, February 2016
As Dan Slott has previously said himself “it used to be in the old days that if Peter was having an adventure, he would [simply] web his camera to a wall, take pictures of his fights, and then sell them." In Issue Five of “The Amazing Spider-Man” however, the Diamond Gem Award-winner somewhat disconcertingly has his incarnation of Uncle Ben’s nephew using a Quinjet to deduce that Zodiac’s hacking of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s defences is “just a decoy in order to gain access to your satellite scans”, imperiously co-ordinate a plan of attack which brings every Parker Industries surveillance asset "into play", and incredulously tell the likes of Nick Fury, Mockingbird, the Prowler, the Human Torch and Phil Coulson what to do when the international terrorist group strikes; “Huh. Whaddaya know. Peter Parker in charge. Amazing.”

So authoritarian and “cutting-edge” a wall-crawling crime-fighter must undoubtedly have caught many of this twenty-page periodical’s 79,122 strong audience somewhat off-guard. But fortunately by the time the Berkeley-born writer (and collaborator Christos Gage) has Scorpio initiate an all-out attack upon the British Museum halfway through “Set In Stone” and the former Daily Bugle photographer has activated his state-of-the-art suit, Spidey is once again the smart-mouthed wise-cracking superhero which has become the “flagship character” of “Marvel Worldwide” and the publisher’s “mascot.”

Indeed apart from the Human mutate’s annoyingly crass offer to “pay for any damages… and a new wing” when the institution’s curators plead for their exhibits not to be broken during the melee, Slott’s storyline momentarily resembles something similar to a Roy Thomas “Marvel Team-Up” tale from the Bronze Age of Comics… At least until Steve Ditko’s co-creation suddenly achieves a “nice win” by safely ‘zapping’ all six of the Zodiac Sect leaders with his antitoxin in a single splash panel which defies belief…

Equally as unsatisfactory as the writing team’s characterisation of Spider-Man, is some of this title’s artwork by regular contributor Giuseppe Camuncoli. The vast majority of the Italian’s breakdowns are first-rate, especially the action sequences set within Sir Robert Smirke's famous institution for Antiquities. But every now and then, most notably during Parker’s dismissal of Sajani and sketching of “the new head of the London Facility” Anna Maria, his pencilling appears a little rushed and angularly wooden.
Writer: Dan Slott & Christos Gage, and Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli

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