It’s easy to picture Marvel’s latest Amazing Spider-Man relaunch turning out poorly. Writer Dan Slott was a near-impossible act to follow, given the huge mark he left on the franchise. Yet over the course of this opening storyline, Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley have managed to make the series their own even as they continue very naturally from where Slott left off. The result is a comic that manages to bring Spidey back to basics even as it continues to push him forward and challenge him in unexpected ways.
Issue #5 caps off the series first major story arc, with Peter Parker and Spider-Man still occupying separate bodies and a fleet of Tri-Sentinels putting New York in danger. It’s a great premise that really speaks to the unique blend of high-concept storytelling and goofball humor the creators are going for here. The Tri-Sentinel threat gives this issue ample scope and drama, but Spencer’s script rarely wavers from its focus on the Peter/Spidey dynamic. What happens when the two halves of his life become physically separated? And can Peter impart that lesson about power and responsibility to a Spider-Man who has no memory of Uncle Ben? It’s a fascinating dilemma that proves Spencer has no trouble thinking outside the box.