It Takes A Thief To Catch A Thief In Amazing Spider-Man #9

by James Ferguson

When the Thieves Guild steals a bunch of super hero stuff, who better to turn to for help than the Black Cat? She is a card carrying member of the Guild, after all. Spider-Man gets ready for a team-up that’s only a little awkward given their past history and eventually remembers why they don’t work together all that frequently.

As interesting as this story is in Amazing Spider-Man #9, it’s eclipsed by the personal and human side arc with Mary Jane. After running into Peter Parker’s ex-girlfriend Carlie Cooper, MJ learns about a group for loved ones of heroes called Lookups. One of the reasons relationships like these fail is because the non-hero has no one to confide in. Your significant other could be out there risking their lives every single day and there’s no one else you can talk to about it. The idea of a support group is pretty great.

There are a couple holes in the setup for this, but writer Nick Spencer plugs most of them with some impressive Stark technology and mystic mumbo jumbo from Dr. Strange. This opens the door to a number of storytelling possibilities in the way that Marvels did way back when. The heroes are just part of what makes these comics special. The real people that surround them and make them who they are is what propels them forward. Mary Jane is essential to making Spider-Man the man he is so I’m very excited to see where this takes us.

Getting back to the Thieves Guild story, there’s a good amount of exposition as the Black Cat fills us in on the background of this organization and her connection to it. This isn’t entirely needed as we got a good idea of this in the previous issue. It is helped along by a different art style, presumably from Michele Bandini. (Please note, the art credits aren’t labeled by page but considering the styles are very different, I think this is a safe assumption.)

Bandini’s images give the flashbacks the feeling of reliving a memory, which is very much what we’re doing. The details are a little fuzzier, just like a memory would be, especially one from long ago. We can’t make out every specific item, but the overall look and feel is there. The colors from Edgar Delgado and Erick Arciniega are a lighter hue, almost like a faded photograph. It all works together pretty well.

This carries over to Humberto Ramos‘ pages, although it doesn’t work quite as well. His work is just as detailed in the flashbacks as in the present day story, although they’re shaded a little lighter than most. Ramos excels at expression and creates some great reactionary shots of Spider-Man as he’s talking to the Black Cat.

Letterer Joe Caramagna keeps this conversation moving quickly with some great word balloon placement. Spidey and the Black Cat are just talking on a rooftop, not swinging through the city so the creative team has to work to keep us entertained and they do that with some expressive images and word balloons that guide us through the page with ease.

The Thieves Guild are very reminiscent of the League of Assassins from DC Comics, although their focus is obviously on stealing stuff instead of murder. They have similar attributes in how they look and act. It’s made for some fun scenes as Spider-Man gets closer, although it feels like a distraction from some of the bigger elements that were introduced in the first arc of this relaunch. It looks like this storyline wraps up in the next issue so we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming soon.

Amazing Spider-Man #9 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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