AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6 Writer: Nick Spencer / Pencilier: Humberto Ramos and Steve Lieber / Inker: Victor Olazaba and Steve Lieber / Colorist: Edgar Delgado and Rachelle Rosenberg / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna / Marvel. /Release Date: September 26, 2018
Nick Spencer’s first arc on The Amazing Spider-Man was delightful. As the new writer, he played with the character’s thematic duality while seeding storylines for the future of his run. One of those storylines is the current status of Peter Parker’s new roommate, Fred Meyers aka Boomerang. That comes to a head in Amazing Spider-Man #6, which is not only this relaunch’s best issue yet but also a hilarious synthesis of Spencer’s writing style.
Spencer’s New Groove
Whether it comes to superhero comedies (Superior Foes of Spider-Man, Ant-Man), epic political thrillers (Secret Empire, Avengers World), or detective stories (The Fix), Nick Spencer’s favorite subject seems to be the mundane. He embraces mundanity whether it is in its hilarious simplicity or underhanded complexity.
Characters with complex goals get foiled by the most inane obstacles. Others that seem one-dimensional actually gain more depth the more you get to know them. Simple goodness seems to be the hardest thing while badness can flourish by virtue of obvious reality. The most circuitous questions have the simplest answers and vice versa. Spencer navigates this idea of mundanity in stories both hilarious and sobering, and Amazing Spider-Man is no exception.
In fact, this series is the pinnacle of mundanity alternating between simple and complex.
What Basic Means
“Back to Basics” is the title for the first arc, but the way it plays out is anything but basic. The title hero is split between his hero and civilian identities. One embraces the fun having powers while the other obsesses over responsibilities. Both are boiled down to simple traits, but their situations explore the disparateness between power and responsibility. Balance between these two ideas is achieved by the choices of someone capable enough to see them. Both halves of this whole reunite and get more down to earth, but they achieve this by embracing simple balance. For Spencer, the fun of reaching that simple truth is the complex journey it takes to get there.
That mantra continues in this issue. The thematic thrust is the idea of finding new understandings of those unlike you. That manifests in the dynamic between Fred Meyers and Peter Parker. What comes is a fun exploration of how the struggles of street-level crooks are similar to our hero’s. Another example of a basic premise driving a complicated plot.
New Artists Enter
Humberto Ramos joins this issue with regular collaborators inker Victor Olazaba and colorist Edgar Delgado. Most know Ramos for his hyper-cartoony designs and bombastic compositions. This is a more dialogue-driven story and this art team deftly adapts to it. Here, they rely on their greatest strengths, expressions and poses.
The way each character makes a face overwhelms the reader with personality. The range of sarcasm and insincerity they display when it comes to Peter and Fred’s double act is especially great. Overall, Ramos contributes great visual delight that enhances the writer’s comedic leanings.
However, they are not the only contributors that made this issue special. Artist Steve Lieber and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg have a three-page sequence where they reunite the characters from Boomerang’s claim to fame: The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. The uniqueness of this team still has the magic touch with a more subdued style of storytelling. Each panel earns either a giggle at the very least or a gut-buster, especially at the end.
Peter Parker: The Liar
The most daring and praiseworthy aspect of this issue is that Spider-Man does not make appearance. Instead, it’s just Peter Parker, civilian clothes and all. This story choice enhances the sense of humor because we read a protagonist with no choice to act as himself. Spider-Man might have been able to react violently to this situation, but Parker himself is at the mercy of Boomerang’s shenanigans. The peak of these shenanigans leads to a laugh-out-loud situation you can’t help but love.
This allows Peter to hilariously indulge in his worst habits and gain insightful perspective of his world. This issue might make you want Peter to quit heroics altogether and slum it with bad guys. Peter and Fred have a fun dynamic and this issue is a great example of what makes them engaging. The amazing flaws of Spider-Man are on full display and depending on how the rest of this story goes down, he’ll be a better character for it, which speaks to the power this team has.
The character-driven journey this creative team is taking Spider-Man on has constant highs, and the excitement for each issue builds more and more. Definitely pick this one up, if you are not already.
Verdict: 5 out of 5
When he doesn’t have his head in the clouds, Jose keeps his head down studying and reading books, both graphic and novel. When he’s not reading, you can see him writing his own sci-fi adventures, photographing life in Los Angeles, catching up on television he’s missed, or watching the latest MCU film. He’s happy to live in the now.