“Amazing Spider-Man” wraps up its corporate espionage storyline in rather abrupt fashion to make way for the upcoming changes warranted by “Secret Wars.” It’s an unsatisfying conclusion, as both stories in the book feel rushed. Dan Slott and Christos Gage do their best to leave things on a logical story break, with Parker Industries in ruins and a staff that no longer trusts its CEO. The backup, more of a B plot happening alongside the Ghost story, positions Felicia Hardy as a New York Underboss, her demeanor even more vicious than ever.
Throughout the story of Peter finally going Big Time and becoming a major player in the science game, Slott has explored what readers have come to know as the old Parker Luck: that the worst things will always happen to the intrepid hero of the book, no matter how altruistic his motives. With the lower level jobs he has always sought out, this could be interpreted as the case, but the writer is showing readers that the lovable webhead may not be the victim of luck and that his choices are what land him behind the 8 ball. The supervillain rehabilitation prison, which Parker insisted his company chase, has proven disastrous and possibly the tipping point for the collapse of his dream. The project was, in theory, a good idea but so shortsighted and mired in the other half of Peter’s life that it was bound to blow up. As Ghost brings the walls down around the company, Pete’s only recourse is to get everyone out of the way as his secret life as Spider-Man — a path he chose to pull into his work life — destroys what others have helped him build. Slott and Gage give the individuals of Parker Industries a chance to be their own heroes; Ana Maria once again proves not only how capable she is in any situation but how much of an amazing addition she has been to this series. Again, though, they are forced into this situation by Peter’s shortsightedness, abandoning projects that would have farther reach and have more impact on the greater good. His Spider Gadgets helped save the day but would have been moot had he made the choice to affect a greater good, attacking the root of the problems of the world instead of the symptoms of those problems.
The issue consists of mostly yelling and high stakes escape, Ramos turning in bombastic action scenes with his typical manga-influenced design. Characters are angular and malleable; the lithe ones who are prone to action, particularly Ghost, are well-served by his work. The artist has added a cartoonish freshness to the series since jumping in way back during the “Big Time” storyline. The second story with Black Cat is mostly posturing but allows the artist to render the unhinged Hardy with confidence and sexiness as she destroys her previous life to build a new one.
There’s enough to like in the issue, but most everything here is mired in the ongoing plots of the book. It wraps them up but readers may find themselves feeling a little empty-handed at the end, with the knowledge that this is the last issue of “Amazing Spider-Man” for several months. Slott moves forward with “Renew Your Vows” and artist Adam Kubert next month, which will most likely not involve anything addressed in this book, which makes the ending feel even more hollow. This is mostly a completionist’s issue.