We're four issues into Dan Slott, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Cam Smith's new "Amazing Spider-Man" series, and it continues to move from one strength to the next in its fourth installment. What makes it work so well is how the book balances Spider-Man's rogues gallery, his business venture, his personal life and his allegiance with S.H.I.E.L.D. In true Parker fashion, it's rapidly turning into more trouble than he would have otherwise expected as the different areas of his life collide.
Slott continues to give us a competent, top-of-his-game Peter Parker who can still have family issues rising up to disrupt his life. It makes sense for Peter to choose Aunt May and her work on the solar project in Nadua over S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attack on the Zodiac, and it connects well with everything we've seen from the character over the past 50 years. It's a wonderfully devious ploy on the part of Scorpio, even as he himself doesn't understand why the timing of his attack would prove to be so detrimental to Spider-Man's target. Along those lines, it's also good to see that Slott doesn't put all of his villain eggs in a single basket. As Spider-Man's other foes rise up and the Zodiac gains power, the book stays lively and reminders readers that just because one obstacle is in your path doesn't mean the other ones are just going to fade away or wait their turn.
It's also important that there are real consequences. In the past, Peter's job was on the line when he'd leap off to be a superhero. Now that he is the head of his own corporation, it would be easy to throw that to the side. Instead, Slott shows that each decision does have ripples, from his alliance with S.H.I.E.L.D. to future relief work in the third world. Add in an old enemy's devious scheme to use the War Goblins to quietly dismantle some of the good Peter's Uncle Ben Foundation has done, and everything comes together beautifully.
Speaking of beautiful, Camuncoli and Smith continue to draw some great comics in "Amazing Spider-Man" #4. Some moments are simple but effective, like how well they draw Nick Fury standing in the center of a holographic globe. It's an old chestnut but it looks fantastic here, with everyone and everything perfectly positioned. I also really appreciate that people like May and Jay look old without coming across like withered corpses, too; these are healthy, active senior citizens and Camuncoli and Smith understand how to bring that to life. Even something as simple as a winged super-hero swooping in has a real punch thanks to the art; it feels very streamlined and natural, but also worthy of the reader's attention. Marte Gracia brings it that much more to life with his colors, too. The scene with Scorpio and Gemini wouldn't have been half as grabbing if it wasn't for the luminescent starscape overhead, with the bands of the Milky Way stretching through the night.
"Amazing Spider-Man" #4 is another great installment in a fun series. It's nice to see the character handled with respect and inventiveness; hopefully, this new direction for Spider-Man will last a long time. Spider-Man is in great hands with Slott, Camuncoli and Smith.