The launch of the newest volume of Amazing Spider-Man was frankly a disappointment, only propped up by some fun superhero action. The second issue is definitely an improvement, but by how much?
Zeb Wells, John Romita Jr., Scott Hanna, Marcio Menyz and Joe Caramagna return for an issue that points towards better things to come for the series.
Tombstone is ready to go to war with the Rose. The only thing that could stand in way of that war is Spider-Man. It’s too bad that Peter Parker is too busy… babysitting?!
So, to get this out of the way- there are no answers about what happened in the six month gap, or anything about MJ, despite the cover. It does make for a slightly frustrating read. With that aside, this is a much stronger issue than last.
The bulk of the issue is focused on superheroes and the mob war, which was the strength of the first issue. Wells writes a great Spider-Man, and he’s able to balance the wisecracks with Peter’s competence in the costume. Sure, his personal life is still a trainwreck (and that’s done better here, but it’s only about 4 pages of the entire issue), but Wells shows that Peter should truly be considered one of the greats when he’s in the costume. Tombstone is also a great part of this story- he’s familiar but there’s an edge in this issue that sometimes the character lacks. I really enjoyed the story and feel it’s good upwards progress.
Romita and Hanna continue with their great work. Where Wells gives Tombstone an edge, the art makes him imposing and frightening. The sequence where he removes the caps from his teeth is visceral, and they pace it just right that it’s equal parts character development and horror. The Spider-Man action is really great too- Peter moves with grace, but there’s a layer of caution, almost like he’s holding back. It’s a subtle touch to how they depict him, but I like it.
Menyz continues to set himself apart with his color work. The daytime scenes are fairly standard, with bright colors that pop. He really makes the nighttime scenes come to life though, with color and lighting that really feels like New York at night. It’s just the right balance and I really enjoy it. Caramagna is always one of the most reliably good letterers in the business, and this issue is no exception. His balloons for Tombstone makes him feel creepier, and he spaces dialogue in a way that punctuates the action scenes.
If we get more like this issue, as well as some answers, then I think the series will be remembered much better than its poor launch may have set up.
Amazing Spider-Man #2 is available now from Marvel Comics.
A great improvement over last issue. The writing excels in the superheroic spaces, and the art continues to feel like the art team’s glory days. Well worth picking up.