Review: Amazing Spider-Man #6 – The Best Laid Plans…
Long-time readers of Spider-Man will be very familiar with seeing the threat of Peter’s secret identity being revealed. So when Amazing Spider-Man #5 finished on the cliff-hanger of Black Cat poised to reveal Peter Parker’s secret identity on live TV to the world, well, a lot of us breathed a collective heavy sigh of been there done that.
Maybe Dan Slott was aware of this when he wrote it into the story because as soon as Amazing Spider-Man #6 starts, Silk – the new female Spider-Man, also bitten by radioactive spider, and now Peter’s lover – quickly webs up Peter’s face and gets him out of danger’s way.
This is disappointing on so many levels. Not just because of the false cliff-hanger that hasn’t been welcome since the 1960’s Batman TV show, but also the fact that Slott would use such a worn thin plot point like dangling Peter’s identity to do it. It’s almost lazy in its execution and certainly nowhere near the kind of bar that should be present on Amazing Spider-Man, a book that in many ways is the flagship title of Marvel’s entire brand for many of its readers.
This is all out of the way fairly quickly though and the bulk of Amazing Spider-Man #6 instead focuses on the culmination of Black Cat’s plan to make something of herself within New York’s crime world/ get revenge on Spider-Man, and showing us the fallout of everything we’ve seen in this new volume so far, getting the cobwebs of Doctor Octopus’s mind swap out of the way and establishing a Peter Parker that has a place within this new status quo that has was built around him while he was away.
Black Cat’s plan as it turns out is a slightly more juvenile version of Magneto’s plan from the X2 film. Although instead of reversing Xavier’s powers on the world to make a point, Cat plans to reverse Electro’s powers to generally give Spider-Man a hard time and make a flashy explosion. Her motivations are so convoluted for something that should be so simple. She feels betrayed. That’s all this is at its core. Her execution of that betrayal though has led to a lot of very poor decision making on her part. In fact, I’d go as far as to say Black Cat’s arc in this story has hinged solely on her inability to absorb and react to new information.
While these plot points themselves are executed poorly I have to say that the events themselves are very interesting. The ending position for Black Cat sees her in a new role that is perfectly suited for her character. Silk using her given name Cindy Moon uses her advanced senses to place herself in a new role in life. Meanwhile, Peter himself is left contemplating how well everything seems to be going. Seems being the operative of choice as numerous plot threads are left open ensuring the book’s direction going forward.
The issue is at its strongest in its character’s interactions. Through dialogue the characters are made very charming. The emotiveness and communication between the characters is fun. The issue’s highlight is a relatively quiet scene where Silk and Anna-Maria are having a conversation while Peter lies with webbing over his face unable to speak.
This is largely achieved by the art of Humberto Ramos. The thick lines and cartoonish style is perfectly suited in creating a rich atmosphere for the comedic moments of Amazing Spider-Man. He has a knack for over the top facial expressions that I really enjoy from his work.
The action scenes do not fair quite as well. Combined with the colouring work of Edgar Delgado the thick lines and overused luminous blue of Electro’s lightning make the whole thing a bit of a visual mess.
It’s never been dull reading the latest volume of Amazing Spider-Man, the witty dialogue, sharp characterisations and mostly great governing ideas dictating he book’s direction add up to something that is enjoyable and has a lot going for it. There are a lot of flaws present though in how the book gets to those positives, ones that perhaps limit the broader appeal of the book.
Amazing Spider-Man #6 incorporates all of these positives and negatives to make it an enjoyable read that was flawed and largely representative of this volume as a whole so far.