Monday, April 20, 2015

Amazing Spider-Man #16 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

With "Spider-Verse" already fading into the past, Slott gives us an old-fashioned Spidey story as we kill some time before "Secret Wars."  It's honestly a nice change of pace.

The plot itself is pretty simple.  Peter is yet again scrambling to right his personal life, this time as a result of the havoc that his prolonged absence during "Spider-Verse" caused.  He assures Aunt May that he and Anna Maria are coming to dinner that weekend (while worry about finding a way to tell her that they're no longer a couple) and tries to put down the Iguana in time to make it to Parker Industries' presentation on building a new Raft.  He arrives not only in time to make the presentation, but also to tease Liz Allan about her chances of getting Alchemax the contract.  It inspires Tiberius and the Molten Man (Alchemax's "reformed" head of security") to hire the Ghost to try to take out Parker permanently, responding to an off-handed comment from Liz about Peter's ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and wishing that he weren't the competition.  Away we go!

Again, this plot feels like something that we could've read in the mid-200s of "Amazing Spider-Man," and I can't thinking of higher praise than that.  Slott also continues to keep his cards close to his chest when it comes to Liz.  Was her comment really off-handed?  Or, did she know exactly what she was doing when making that comment in front of her ex-con step-brother and ethically challenged staff member?  Slott isn't clear, and it's all part of the fun.

My only complaint continues to be Slott's portrayal of the Black Cat as a hardened criminal, as he does in this issue's back-up story.  It also doesn't help that her storyline almost exactly mirrors Catwoman's in "Batman Eternal" at this point, with both of them running their operations from an underground casino.  It's getting hard to keep the two of them straight.

*** (three of five stars)

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