(w) Nick Spencer (a) Ryan Ottley, Humberto Ramos (i) Cliff Rathburn (c) Laura Martin
Nick Spencer and the rotating team of Ryan Ottley and Humberto Ramos… and Chris Bachalo too have crafted a pleasant run on Amazing Spider-Man that has been of consistent quality since the first issue. Though never hitting any of the highs or lows of the predecessor run, hardcore and longtime Spidey fans have lauded the respect Spencer and company have had for the character’s mythos. But more importantly, the creative team have reinforced the theme of responsibility – a core tenet to Peter Parker’s story. With that said, this is easily the weakest issue of the series thus far.
Unfortunately, forces debatably beyond the creative team’s control contributed to the issue’s overall disappointment. With Spencer rebuilding Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane Watson and Marvel hyping up this 25th issue as a landmark moment, many drew conclusions that Marvel might actually have the balls to undo One More Day (for more on that story arc, Google it). Alas, that was not the case. However, Mary Jane does play a significant role in this issue. As a matter of fact, she’s pretty much the headliner, with Spider-Man himself relegated to a supporting role.
Both of the narratives in the main story are rock solid. Humberto Ramos illustrates Spider-Man attempting to save Curt Connors from himself, while Ottley tackles Mary Jane saving an attempted Broadway heist. On their own, these stories are perfectly enjoyable. However, in the grand scheme they do not amount to anything of significance. That is the singular failing of Amazing Spider-Man #25 – it is an issue that sells itself on being a game-changer, but only succeeds in playing games.
There are two back-up stories for readers to enjoy, both of them being a more rewarding experience. The first, titled “Team-Up” by Zeb Wells and Todd Nauck, sees Spidey and J. Jonah Jameson hunt down a lead from one of J.J.’s sources. In typical Spider-Man fashion, it does not go well. However their experience is strange enough to encourage Spidey to team up with a certain Sorcerer Supreme. Meanwhile, Keaton Patti and Dan Hipp produce a “computer-generated” Spidey tale that is as delightful as it is sickeningly cute.
Amazing Spider-Man #25 is not the landmark issue Marvel claims it is, nor is it worth the $7.99 price tag. However, it delivers enough enjoyment to not be a complete waste. However, with so many mediocre titles available, Amazing Spider-Man will need to really work to earn back the faith of casual readers in the coming months.