Peter Parker has been swinging around the world in the pages of “Amazing Spider-Man,” but those looking to see him back in his own friendly neighborhood need look no further than “Amazing Spider-Man & Silk: The Spider(Fly) Effect” #1. Writer Robbie Thompson keeps Spidey and his fellow spider-hero Silk grounded in Queens, and it really is his old neighborhood, as Thompson’s story finds the pair time travelling back a few decades. The title is a clever nod to the time-bending story “The Butterfly Effect,” and the characters affirm as much, although Thompson’s story is largely a slugfest. Pencilled and inked by Todd Nauck over Geoffo’s layouts, Nauck’s art carries Thompson’s story, albeit with several lapses. However, there’s not all that much to carry, as it’s largely split between a stretched out play-fight between Silk and Spidey and a labored encounter with old-school Hydra goons.
Thompson conjures up a barely-plausible reason for the two webslingers to duke it out: Silk seeks to establish a plausible alibi as a villain while serving as a mole within the Black Cat’s organization. Yet, their scripted skirmish takes place far away from watchful eyes; in fact, there isn’t a witness is in sight. A pretend fight in a crowded city street — rather than the deserted rooftops above it — would go a lot further towards establishing that notion. Even then, the sequence seems like nothing more than a contrived excuse for the pair to gives readers an obligatory fight scene, as the confrontation is abruptly halted so the main story can commence. As laid out by the art team, its execution is rather fragile and low-key, and not convincing at all as what’s supposed to appear like a bona-fide superhero battle.
Things get a little more interesting when the time travel aspect of the story kicks in, but that unfortunately leads off with shamefully obvious usage of photostats — six instances in three pages, in fact. It’s an unwelcome distraction that detracts from Thompson’s story just as it gets a little more interesting, and it’s a shortcut that borders on sloppiness. What’s more, there are instances where the art just doesn’t seem to speak to Thompson’s script; a Hydra goon’s slogan is interrupted when he takes a face full of web fluid, which is usually a funny gag, except here said goon is safely protected behind the faceplate of the mechanized weapon he pilots. This is the kind of fundamental lapse that should have readily been screened out by the comic’s editors.
Artistic lapses aside, Thompson’s script is weakened by near constant usage of anemic and inane dialogue. Spidey and Silk’s banter is competent at best, but also frequently agonizing and repeatedly comes back to the characters’ own ironic acknowledgement of just how bad some of their lines are. Self-deprecating remarks don’t give Thompson’s dialogue a pass, though, as he seems to struggle with ways to fill the pages with words.
Sadly, the highlight of the issue is W. Scott Forbes’ cleanly delineated cover, which refreshingly puts Silk in the forefront despite Spidey’s top billing. Thompson does provide a fun (if expected) cliffhanger at the other end of the issue, which gives the future of this miniseries some hope. As it stands now, though, “Amazing Spider-Man & Silk: The Spider(Fly) Effect” #1 isn’t really worth the read.