Peter Parker — the real Peter, mind and body — has some explaining to do now that Anna Maria Marconi is on to his secret identity.
And it’s not just the Spider-Man thing that needs to be addressed. Peter knows he needs to discuss the brain swap that displaced him. Telling the woman who’s been dating a supervillain who took over your body — well, that’s something for superheroes.
Surprisingly, Anna Maria seems to take it pretty well, and curiously enough, she deals with the situation by baking some cookies before leaving Peter in charge of the oven while she goes for a walk.
Twenty-eight minutes later — and that many minutes late to the Avengers meeting — Parker gets into a frank discussion with Steve Rogers about Agent Flash Thompson’s melding with the Venom symbiote. Parker hasn’t been happy with Thompson’s involvement with his former costume or the fact that Captain America knew and signed off on it, but just as quick as the punch is thrown, all is forgiven.
The Amazing Spider-Man #2 is a dense issue with several parallel plotlines to make Parker’s life and return to it a complicated one. Lots of things have happened since Peter was in control of his own body — Doc Ock’s experimentation on Electro, Johnny Storm’s death and depowering, and Doc Ock’s founding of a new company — and the fallout is Parker’s mess to control, develop, and rebuild.
And if there weren’t enough tangles in the web for Spider-Man to swing through, we get to see more of the mysterious woman bitten by the same radioactive spider that gave Spider-Man his powers. Not only can she shoot webbing from her fingertips, she’s also been studying Spidey’s abilities and moves through videotapes. It’s interesting enough that she lives in a room with no windows — is she a secret weapon or just a hermit? — and we haven’t been given any clues as to whether she’s going to be a supervillain or hero.
After a run-in with a very angro Electro, Peter decides it’s time to create a facility to keep and help all of the supervillains. The idea just might work, or it could be Marvel’s version of Arkham Asylum with its revolving door of deposits and escapes. Both paths could work very well, especially in this creative team’s care.
Dan Slott has a lot of multi-tasking to do, and The Amazing Spider-Man #2 has Peter in no less than six different scenes in various settings. The brisk pacing doesn’t feel rushed to death, and every act gets its fair share. It feels fairly episodic because the pacing is so deliberate, but overall, The Amazing Spider-Man #2 feels much more driven than the first issue. We get some action between Spider-Man and Electro with Black Cat’s luck affecting the outcome of the fight. The addition of another spider-bitten character might muddy things up a bit, but Slott has done such a fine job juggling all of these stories that it’s unlikely this new character will get forced into the thick of things haphazardly.
Humberto Ramos on pencils is still on point, though I’m still thrown off by Marconi’s childlike depiction. Ramos’ version of Spider-Man does have peculiar angles, which gives the artwork an abstract quality, but you get a real sense of agility and movement as the Wall-Crawler goes sprawling over the city. The pages with Spidey battling Electro are a real highlight — the amount of work going into showing Spider-Man weaving between electric bolts displays the amount of talent Ramos brings to the title.
Those same panels are also where Edgar Delgado shines, so to speak. The hot flashes of lightning brighten up the page with cool blues which stand out from the rest of the issue — not that the rest of the issue is bad. Delgado’s colors emphasize lighting, and they add shape and countours, especially on facial art. Though skin tones get a little on the muddy side, the issue is polished.
And before you begin to think I’ve forgotten about inker Victor Olazaba, fear not — I’m getting to it. Olazaba’s lines, thick and thin, are clean and sharp. Where Delgado’s colors give the impression of dimension, Olazaba’s inks define the spaces clearly. The inks bring a good amount of contrast, and the sharpness really works with the precision of the script.
This current arc on Amazing Spider-Man is shaping up to be an interesting and drama-filled chapter in Peter Parker’s life. Electro’s instability has given the C-list villain some super-sized problems to work out, and it’s great to see the same sort of effort put into him that Slott has been working on with Peter Parker.
I’m curious to see what sorts of wrenches will be thrown into the mix, and there’s a lot of potential for some fantastic scenes that will test Parker’s mettle. We get as much Spider-Man as we do Peter Parker, and seeing the two sides working and developing the plot shows an approach to the character that’s more than just page-fillers and throwaway plots.
It’s actually pretty amazing.
The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (2014)
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Words: Dan Slott
Pencils: Humberto Ramos
Inks: Victor Olazaba
Colors: Edgar Delgado
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos