[Comic Review] Marvels — The Amazing Spider-Man #7

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Three’s a crowd at the Parker-Marconi residence with Cindy Moon moving in. And it gets even more awkward when the pheromones send Peter Parker and Moon into an uncontrollable state of lust.

When Anna Maria’s not busy spraying her roommates whenever they get the urge, she’s doing her best to rein Peter in to try and remind him of his other responsibilities. Now that Parker’s back to being his old self, it’s time for him to get used to the changes that took place while Otto Octavius inhabited his body — one of which involves Peter being the owner of a company.

And while his first impulse is to charge headfirst into danger as Spider-Man, too many people rely on him to keep the company and jobs afloat.

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To complicate matters and test Anna Maria’s education, a Kree wearing Ms. Marvel’s original suit appears at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. The Kree and her three henchmen target a cocooned Inhuman going through terrigenesis, and they intend to use the stem cells to build “a new race of Kree super-soldiers.”

The Carol Corps is quick to act, and the first to answer the call is Marvel’s rookie of the year and the newest Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan.

Putting her foot down, literally, the New Jersey protector manages to delay the kidnapping, but only as long as it takes for the Kree to show off her new and advanced physical form. It’s going to take an ultimate team-up with Spider-Man to fight off the threat, but can they save the Inhuman in time?

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We’ll have to wait for the next issue, but in the meantime, it makes total sense that Ms. Marvel would show up in a Spider-Man story. Both of the titles are selling like hotcakes, and Khan’s current trajectory seems reminiscent of Spider-Man’s path to superstardom. It’s also a bit of perfect timing since Khan just recently teamed up with Wolverine in her own series before partnering up with Lockjaw on Medusa’s orders in a recent issue.

While Dan Slott plotted the issue, Christos Gage provides the script. The pacing is as quick as The Amazing Spider-Man’s been since its relaunch with scenes jumping directly into the fray with lots of action. Part of the reason things move at lightning speed could be the fact that The Amazing Spider-Man #7 also contains an Edge of Spider-Verse story. Still, the 12-page main story doesn’t feel minimal — it’s dense and entertaining enough that I would rather read something like this than a bloated 20-page issue that dragged its heels from start to finish.

One of the things I have to give Gage credit for is how well he did filling in for G. Willow Wilson — Ms. Marvel’s writer-supreme who’s provided pretty much all of the scripts for Khan’s appearances in the Marvel Universe thus far. Wilson’s Khan is a geek who speaks the language, and I wondered how much Khan’s voice would change with someone else penning her dialogue. I wasn’t disappointed — Khan will be recognizable to her most protective fans.

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The art, however, looks very different with Giuseppe Camuncoli taking over the title from fan-favorite Humberto Ramos.  Camuncoli’s Spider-Man is less abstract and more realistic in his anatomy. That doesn’t mean his take is better — the differences in interpretation emphasize certain storytelling aspects with Ramos’ Spider-Man drawn for maximum motion and aerials while Camuncoli’s Spidey looks streamlined and efficient.

Ms. Marvel’s visual depiction is also very different compared to Adrian Alphona’s. Kamala looks much more serious and threatening compared to Alphona’s more lighthearted approach. Of course, the story has an influence on art direction, so it would be interesting to see the mentioned artists working on the other titles. The results could a sight to behold.

Cam Smith’s inks and Antonio Fabela’s colors complete the visual overhaul with clean lines and saturated colors. The artwork gets a nice sheen and polish to it that doesn’t mire the reader’s eyes thanks to  Fabela’s shading that gives the artwork a digital look, the colors staying within Smith’s crisp inks.

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I’m not sure how long this creative team will have control over the book, and if they became the title’s permanent team, I think I would be okay with that. Not that I wouldn’t miss Slott and Ramos — even though they’d probably go on and do amazing work on whatever else they’re given. Gage, Camuncoli, Smith, and Fabela have surpassed my expectations, and I’d like to see what they do with a full 20-page issue.

Next issue will probably be a truer test for the crew, and I hope they take advantage of it. Depending on what the focus becomes, the team has their hands full with two major characters fighting a newly introduced one. Characterization, pacing, and entertainment — how well they do in those aspects will determine their success, and they have big shoes to fill.

So far, so good. Fear not, the Amazing Spider-Man is still amazing.


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The Amazing Spider-Man #7 (2014)
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Marvel
Words: Christos Gage
Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: Cam Smith
Colors: Antonio Fabela
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos

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