Ghost wreaks havoc on Parker Industries, and the outcome is to die for.
With Peter Parker and Anna Maria Marconi doing the rounds — Marconi lets Aunt May and the top staff at Parker Industries know she and Peter are broken up — things are starting to smooth out. The only thing left to do is get a version of the planned supermax prison in working form.
Enter Ghost, a villain who despises corporations. After causing several glitches in the system, Ghost takes over the infrastructure, sealing off the exits and taking control of the beta test. By turning the security systems against the Parker Industries team, he forces the hand of one of Parker’s associates to betrayal.
The Amazing Spider-Man #17 works on pretty much every level. The artwork is incredible, even by Humberto Ramos’ standards. There’s a polish here that really shows Ramos is still progressing, and it’s apparent in his Sajani Jaffrey artwork. Jaffrey’s look continues to evolve, and her form is beginning to look more mad scientist, especially with the secret plans she and Anna Maria have been working on.
On the action side, things get pretty crazy when the security systems get hijacked, and the artwork tells a great visual story. There’s a stark contrast between Peter and his alter-ego Spider-Man, and this issue shows us both sides by removing the costume off the latter. Though he tries not to reveal his secret identity, Parker still manages to execute some superhero moves, and Ramos nails the section by showing us a sort of cross-section — a way of seeing Peter’s expressions and confidence we wouldn’t normally see because of the suit.
On top of that, you have Victor Olazaba’s wonderful inks which are very attractive. The lines, varying from bold to delicate, capture the details the way punctuation fills in a sentence. On colors, Edgar Delgado works in a spectrum of shades. Flip through the pages quickly, and you’ll see the colors shift and twist. The coloring is high-contrast with another layer for lighting, and it’s beautiful.
The artwork keeps in step with Dan Slott and Christos Gage’s well-paced scripting which is bringing back all of the plot points left hanging while the Spiders tackled the Inheritors. I really enjoy the writers’ tactfulness — during Aunt May’s dinner, the script resolves the issue of Marconi and Parker’s relationship status while also adding a bit of tension when Parker sees one of Felicia Hardy’s paintings from the auction on the wall. Parker and Marconi might be done, officially, but they have a Superman sort of moment when Parker takes her web-slinging. Even then, there’s an added layer — did you see the Mary Jane billboard in the background?
The developments are natural, and the writing adds in a sort of exclamation mark when one of the guards is killed by Ghost. The panel, executed (no pun intended) well by the visual arts team, reminds readers that everything isn’t fun and games. Being able to twist, turn, and maneuver through dramatic shifts in the story is something Slott and Gage are excelling at, and the artists prove they’re just as capable of bringing that vision to the page.
Probably the thing that impresses me most is the tone of the issue. Secret Wars is looming, but The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t feel like it’s in a rush to end. We do have a lot of plot points coming together, but it doesn’t feel forced — rather, it feels necessary. We also have a villain that’s perfectly suited for the task, and while I’m not familiar with Ghost, I get what he’s all about without the sense he’s just another generic cybercriminal. Ghost also provides the issue’s kicker, and the development opens the door for bigger things ahead.
With the art getting better, the story coming to a full resolution, and an end in sight, The Amazing Spider-Man shouldn’t be ignored. Fans looking for something a little more classic and with less grit should definitely take a look at this superhero comic that’s unashamed for being exciting, fun, and still Spider-Man.
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