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Amazing Spider-Man #4

by  in Comic Reviews Comment
Amazing Spider-Man #4

Now that the Marvel Universe is deep into the throes of the “Original Sin” event, one of the most hyped reveals has finally come to light in Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos’ “Amazing Spider-Man” #4: Peter wasn’t the only person bitten by that radioactive spider. When the Watcher’s Eye releases all its secrets, Peter makes a mad dash across New York City only to discover Silk — his fellow spider-infected super — in one of Ezekiel Sims’ old facilities. For all of the buildup around Silk, her debut is lackluster at best, falling into tired cliche by the end of the issue.

Although only half the issue focuses on Silk, her existence is certainly the focal point of the story. So far as her character development goes, Slott and Ramos seem to be almost at odds. Slott pens her as almost childlike with a quick temper, boundless enthusiasm, and an apparent ignorance of how much time has passed; Ramos, on the other hand, plays heavily to the male gaze, dressing her in Daisy Dukes and a tank top that’s entirely too small while providing gratuitous cleavage shots. Likewise, her costume — while awesome in theory — is needlessly revealing, falling into that outdated leotard-inspired look. Of course, outfits of this variety can be appropriate depending on the character, but here Ramos slaps it on a character that seems too youthful and inexperienced. Further, his posturing — including an out-of-place sexy hairflip and full-lipped pout — and point of view make for some uncomfortable reading experiences; I found myself turning pages quickly to spare myself the judgment of over-the-shoulder readers.

However, by the end of the issue, Slott too falls into a tired trope particular to Spider-Man. Per comic book tradition, the book ends with a cliffhanger: a fierce liplock between Spidey and Silk. Though this could go a few ways, its viable outcomes range from a Web-inspired connection to a deadly trick. Either way, the kiss in and of itself isn’t all that shocking or revolutionary. In fact, considering Peter’s history with women, it’s pretty typical and — thereby — disappointing. Where Slott had the potential to take their relationship in unexpected new direction, this revelation simply falls flat. There is, of course, plenty of time to develop this further but the outlook doesn’t look promising with the way Slott leaves it.

Fortunately, the issue isn’t a total bust. Slott pushes other plotlines forward, including developments with anti-Electro tech and a great twist with Black Cat and Sajani. Similarly, he deftly lays the seeds of the upcoming “Spider-Verse” event in a clear but unobtrusive way that ties organically into the story at hand. Additionally, Peter’s brief reunion with the Avengers is fun and engages the reader with snappy dialogue that just sounds so Spider-Man. What’s more, Ramos — with aid from inker Victor Olazaba — creates some wonderful sweeping shots of the battle. Though there is a lot going on in these panels, the figures are distinct from one another and the action is comprehensive. He includes one rather impressive full-page spread of Spider-Man’s original sin that has a lovely, web-like layout that fits into the shape of a web that extends out around his huddled form. Colorist Edgar Delgado steps in here in a big way, making Spider-Man pop out against a sepia-toned background.

As left, Dan Slott and Humerto Ramos’ “Amazing Spider-Man” #4 has a whole lot of wasted potential with a character that simply does not live up to her hype. Although the issue certainly has its strong points, its much talked-about reveal of Silk strikes a sour note through its poor execution. Hopefully, there isn’t anywhere to go but up from here!