Amazing Spider-Man #4 / Dan Slott, Humberto Ramos, Victor Olazaba, and Edgar Delgado
Wow. There’s a lot happening in this issue of Amazing, and while elements are moving along, they’re not always doing it very smoothly.
While trying to maintain his identity as Spider-Man, Peter skips out on running his company, angering his partner Sajani, who shortly thereafter gets kidnapped by Black Cat. What Peter finds out, after teaming up with the other heroes to take down the Watcher’s murderers, is that another person, a girl named Cindy Moon, was bitten by the same irradiated spider that bit him before it died. She was found and taken in by Ezekiel, another spider-powered character from Peter’s past, and sequestered away in his safe-house compound. Upon freeing her, he finds that she not only has many powers and abilities similar to his, but also several different ones as well. Moreover, she’s upset that he’s freed her, because her freedom seems to summon Morlun, who will start hunting them both down.
There’s not too much action in this issue, but that’s fine with me, as the developments between Peter and Cindy and the setting up of things to come is well done. I did enjoy some of the character moments, like Spidey trying to make small-talk when meeting up with the other heroes and some of them reacting with confusion or telling him to just shut up, or his inability to keep from quipping when Cindy gets angry at him.
Given that this issue is my introduction to the Original Sin storyline permeating other Marvel titles right now, I’ll mute some of my issues with the narrative flow and pacing. Clearly the developments in this issue that stem from that event are meant to suggest the Watcher’s death and subsequent mutilation as some kind of giant retcon device, and Spidey’s exposure to the fallout from that incident is necessary in order to set the whole Cindy Moon arc into motion. Still, it’s hard not to feel this a busy issue that feels clunky in a lot of key places, and one wonders if it could have been handled a little more smoothly by either slowing down the pace or blending them together better.
There are also a lot of questions raised by Peter’s sudden knowledge of Cindy’s existence that should have been answered right then and there. The field trip where the spider bit him, and now her is an excellent example. If it was in close enough proximity to bite another person before it died, doesn’t that suggest Cindy was on the same field trip as Peter? Did they go to school together? Did they know one another? They don’t even seem to have recognized one another here from that time, and that seems more than a little off to me.
There are also plenty of questions about Cindy herself that will probably be answered as the story progresses. It’s interesting that she’s tied into Peter’s spider sense in a new way, so that he can use it to locate her as opposed to it being something that just helps him avoid danger. She’s no doubt dangerous, but how remains to be seen.
Slight Spoiler: I was pretty surprised by their sudden kiss at the end of the issue, as it came out of nowhere while they were fighting. I mean, does Spider-adrenaline attract other Spider-types and make them suddenly amorous?
I know there are plenty of people out there who have issues with Humberto Ramos’s artwork on Spider-Man, and while I have some issues with how it distracts from more subdued scenes, I can’t help really liking how it works with Spider-Man’s physicality. He’s drawn lean and lanky and kind of… well, bug-like, and I think it suits the character. What little action there is in this issue is also well served by the cartoonish, kinetic style. I do think normal human characters look a bit distorted sometimes, but for the most part Ramos does a serviceable job here.
Overall, not a bad issue. The developments are interesting, even if they feel a bit clumsy or forced at times. I’m interested to see more with Cindy, and we of course have Black Cat waiting in the wings to eviscerate Peter at some point. Hopefully this will all lead into the upcoming Spider-verse story smoothly.