Peter Parker’s life returns to normal — his normal in The Amazing Spider-Man #16.
It seems like ages since Spider-Verse started, and with the Inheritors defeated, Parker’s back to web-slinging, fighting baddies named after animals, and fitting everything into his busy schedule.
While he takes on Iguana at the Central Park Zoo, Parker fields calls from his Aunt May, Anna Maria Marconi, and his incensed partner Sajani Jaffrey. May thinks Parker and Marconi are still dating, and Sajani demands Peter’s presence at the business meeting.
Parker makes it in the nick of time, just as rival company Alchemax finishes its presentation. To get a leg up on Parker Industries, company employees Mark Raxton and Tiberius Stone pay a visit to Black Cat’s casino to recruit a supervillain that can take care of the competition. Permanently.
It’s good to see Humberto Ramos back on pencils, along with Victor Olazaba on inks and Edgar Delgado on colors, because he has a knack for capturing Spider-Man’s agility on page. The action sequence at the issue’s start with the Savage Dragon-looking Iguana contains great body language to fit not only the active sequentials — it also works in the physical comedy of Parker being on the phone during the fight. The inking is great with Olazaba’s varying line widths mixing it up on the page. Delgado’s colors are bright and shiny with emphasis on reds.
The artwork complements Dan Slott and Christos Gage’s scripts incredibly well, and the issue’s straightforward nature brings readers to the here and now with a solid transition to the next story arc that will tie up a plot point introduced a few months back.
It’s also great to see that the Inheritors battle did a number on Parker’s physical abilities, both in terms of the plotting and artwork. When Parker runs into Alchemax’s Liz Allen, she comments on his disheveled appearance. Parker’s face looks aged and tired, and it’s not clear whether the life-force stolen from him will ever return naturally or at all.
The backup story on The Amazing Spider-Man #16 brings us current with Felicia Hardy’s plan to regain the life that was stolen from her. As owner of the Slide-Away Casino, Hardy works on getting back all of her possession through any cost, and her quest to solidify her position as the world’s greatest thief is a dark one, indeed. It’s revealed that Hardy is the blonde woman outbidding Aunt May at the auction during her phone call with Parker, and the story gives readers something to look forward to — a sort of dark cloud on the horizon.
The cliffhanger gives us a quick glimpse of Ghost, and the visual team’s representation hints at something terrifying with Ramos’ depiction edging on horror. It’s a great page that will hopefully keep readers around for the title’s last issues heading into Secret Wars. I expect Slott will have something up his sleeve for the finale, and I’d keep reading if I were you.