Review: Ignoring Advice And Treading Water In ‘Amazing Spider-Man #48’

by James Ferguson

The Sin-Eater has been taking the fight to the villains of Manhattan with his own form of justice. This has become very public and very popular rather quickly. With people clamoring for this new vigilante, how effective is your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man? Plus, if the Sin-Eater sets his sights on Norman Osborn, someone that certainly deserves to pay for all the crimes he’s committed (not to mention all the lives he’s taken), should Spidey stand in his way?

Amazing Spider-Man #48 posits an interesting moral dilemma for the wall-crawler as he’s faced with a tough decision. Does he intervene to save his greatest enemy? Or does he stand aside to let justice be served? As intriguing as this is, it seems a little random as there’s no real connection here. Out of all the villains the Sin-Eater could target, why is he choosing Osborn? We know that he’s alive again thanks to Kindred and there’s some history between this mysterious new villain and the Green Goblin, although none of that is clear. This takes away some of the impact of this quandary.

To help with this decision, Peter Parker is visited by a variety of spider folks, none of which have appeared in this volume of Amazing Spider-Man. At one point they even reference the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future as that’s clearly what this is, although they’re all giving Peter a variety of the same advice that he will undoubtedly ignore.

Writer Nick Spencer retreads a lot of ground in Amazing Spider-Man #48. I know that every comic is someone’s first, but it feels like half this book is just a recap of what’s happened which is a waste considering we also have a recap page at the front of the comic.

While this is a lot of information to sift through, letterer Joe Caramagna guides us through it with ease. The pace moves quickly and we’re never hung up on anything, even though a lot of this is reviewing events that came before.

Artist Mark Bagley is a master at drawing Spider-Man and this issue is another testament to that. The detail work is great. The characters are very expressive. The action is off the charts. My only complaint is that he’s jumping in halfway through this arc and his style doesn’t gel with the previous artist. This creates a jarring reading experience.

Much of this issue takes place in the evening. Colorist David Curiel creates a sense of dread, like a dark cloud hanging over Spider-Man as he struggles with this decision. The colors are not as bright and vibrant as we’re used to with Amazing Spider-Man. Instead, it swims in the guilt and foreboding, matching up to Peter’s emotional strife.

We’re another chapter into Amazing Spider-Man and we really haven’t moved all that much. There are so many dangling plot threads and none of them seem anywhere closer to getting tied up. This issue felt like treading water, reaching a foregone conclusion instead of contributing anything new to the narrative. Hopefully with the next issue squaring up to be a milestone chapter, we’ll get some closure to a few of these items.

Amazing Spider-Man #48 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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