Amazing Spider-Man #37 Delivers The Calm Before The Storm

by James Ferguson

With the future saved and Kindred nowhere to be seen, Spider-Man is able to focus on his life out of costume for the first time in quite a bit. The lines between his two identities are blurred with the creation of the Clairvoyant, a device that surveys the Multiverse to predict likely outcomes. Peter Parker has been using this to stop crimes as they happen instead of chasing them down, freeing him up for some self care and checking in with the people that are important to him. You know this is going to end badly, right?

Discounting the fact that Spider-Man once went through a literal door to tomorrow and nearly destroyed all reality, the use of the Clairvoyant is interesting, albeit a bit of a cheat. You can’t argue with the fact that he can prevent injury or death, not to mention tons of property damage by using it, but it feels too easy. I have a feeling Peter will rely on it too much in the near future and that will cost him, especially with Kindred still lurking out there.

The mysterious villain does show up by the end of Amazing Spider-Man #37, reminding us that he’s still very much a threat. It’s like writer Nick Spencer was reading my mind, hearing the frustrations I had with the recent 2099 arc and how it distracted from the incredible Kindred work. The appearance in the tail end of this issue was rather ominous, pulling the happy-go-lucky tale back to reality.

There’s a lot of fun in Amazing Spider-Man #37. Based on Kindred popping up on the end, it feels like the calm before the storm. Spencer fills the issue with a good amount of humor. If villains thought Spider-Man was annoying when he could dodge their punches with his Spider Sense, imagine how infuriating he’ll be when he can predict what bank you’re going to rob.

Artist Ryan Ottley was born to draw Spider-Man. The character feels like he’s moving at times with how much energy is on the page. Ottley throws the wall-crawler in all sorts of awesome poses as he swings through the city. He also shows a tremendous talent for pacing. There’s a great sequence where Spidey flies into his apartment like a whirlwind, just behind his roommate, Boomerang. It shows the motion of everything without having to show the character sneaking through the door. This issue is packed with them.

Inker Cliff Rathburn amplifies Ottley’s work with clean, crisp lines. It’s impressive to see every detail in Spider-Man’s costume clearly defined like this.

Ottley’s characters are very expressive and at times border on cartoony, but not in a way that distracts from the story. This is usually played up for laughs, when someone over reacts. Have you ever paused a movie and caught someone in the middle of speaking and their face looks really weird and funny? Those are some of the moments Ottley picks and they’re great.

The web-head spends the bulk of this issue bouncing around the city to get everything done in time for a phone date with Mary Jane. It’s nothing short of adorable and a definite squee moment. Colorist Nathan Fairbairn lights this scene well, showing Peter in the dark of his room, lit only by the glow of his TV screen and his phone. It’s homely and warm and contrasts well with the closing scene of Kindred filled with shadow and dread.

Speaking of the villain again (because I love everything about him so far), his omniscient view is rather unsettling. He seems to be able to peek in on Peter whenever he wants. Kindred monologues a bit in squiggly word balloons that convey a sinister tone. Letterer Joe Caramagna does a nice job here, driving home just how menacing he is.

The one drawback of Amazing Spider-Man #37 comes with the cliffhanger ending. I’m not ashamed to admit that I had to Google around to understand the significance of the last page and I still don’t entirely get it. This is strange as Spencer spends a good amount of time in this issue (and every issue in his run) filling in background so that anyone could pick up any chapter and instantly know what’s going on. I guess we’ll find out more next time but that “shocking” ending fell flat for me. In the meantime, I’ll deal with the vast amount of foreboding that’s hanging over Peter Parker like a dark cloud.

Amazing Spider-Man #37 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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