Peter Parker has returned from Secret Wars a new man as he has become the new Tony Stark of the Marvel Universe. With his business ventures growing he has also taken his Spider-Man adventures global. This new approach to writing Spider-Man has given Dan Slott new avenues to explore who Peter Parker is in and out of Spider-Man mask. So far this approach has had its good and bad but I am still open to what Slott has in store for us next. What will be the latest development in rich Peter Parker’s life? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #3.
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: Cam Smith
Colorist: Marte Gracia
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Gemini warns Scorpio about the dangers of receiving his horoscope. Scorpio doesn’t care and orders Gemini to tell him his horoscope. Gemini says that Scorpio will be rewarded if he takes a risk but SHIELD will win if he does nothing. Scorpio assembles Aries and Taurus along with some, what he calls, canon fodder Red Shirts to take a big risk.
In New York City J. Jonah Jameson is on TV happily announcing the return of Peter Parker to the city. As Peter walks out his car Jameson tells everyone that he has been like a father to Peter and is proud of what he has become. Jameson hugs Peter while complimenting him on getting Spider-Man on a leash. Peter corrects Jameson by saying Spider-Man is his bodyguard.
Peter says that he is not in New York to talk about Spider-Man. He then announces to everyone in the crowd that the Baxter Building has been transformed into Parker Industries New York headquarters.
Elsewhere, Johnny Storm sees the announcement at a local bar and angrily flames on and flies to meet Peter.
Human Torch angrily flies through a window and straight into the same plexiglass cage that Spider-Man was trapped in when he first snuck into the then Baxter Building. Spider-Man makes fun of Human Torch, which only angers Torch more. Human Torch quickly burns through the plexiglass and almost yells out Spider-Man’s real name. Reacting quickly, Spider-Man punches Human Torch through a wall and into Clayton Cole’s lab. Clayton wonders if he should help but thinks again since he promised Peter he wouldn’t suit up.
Spider-Man tells Human Torch to cool it on yelling his secret identity out loud. Human Torch says that Spider-Man almost took of his head with that punch. Spider-Man stops the fight to answer a call from SHIELD but sees that it is low priority. Human Torch says that is good and they return to their fight.
On the Helicarrier, Mockingbird tells Nick Fury that Spider-Man isn’t answering her call. Nick tells Mockingbird to try calling Spider-Man again as he’ll need all hands on deck in SHIELD’s attack on Zodiac. Just as Nick says this Scorpio leads Zodiac straight to the Helicarrier.
The Helicarrier’s systems are turned off which causes it to crash into the sea below. Zodiac proceeds to attack everyone on board the Helicarrier. As they fight off Zodiac Mockingbird ask Nick if he ever heard about his dad’s brother (Jake Fury also known as Scorpio, leader of Zodiac). Nick says his dad told him and that the family reunion can wait.
Back at Parker Industries HQ, Spider-Man surrenders and tells Human Torch he just wants to talk this out. Johnny turns of his flames and Spider-Man says he’ll give him a tour of the place.
The pair’s first stop is the head office where Harry Osborn is actually occupying. Johnny wonders what Norman Osborn’s kid is doing. Harry says that he runs things in New York when Peter is not around. Johnny wonders why that is. Spider-Man says that it is good for business. Harry then says that he is also Peter’s best friend. Johnny is confused by this but before he can pry into this best friend thing Spider-Man leads Johnny away.
Spider-Man then leads Johnny to the vehicle bay where he has everything from a Spider-Copter to Spider-Cycle. Johnny sees a new Spider-Mobile and angrily attacks Spider-Man for building another one without him.
The fight once again leads into Clayton’s lab. A frustrated Clayton decides to take out his Clash gear to stop the fight.
Back on the East China Sea Zodiac has quickly overwhelmed SHIELD. Scorpio enters the Helicarrier and breaks out Leo from SHIELD’s imprisonment. Scorpio shoots Leo and turns him into ash, stating that this is a message to Leo for failing his mission.
Scorpio goes back outside and orders the rest of Zodiac to go to Pisces ships as their victory is now preordained.
Back at Parker Industries HQ, Clayton blasts Human Torch with his sonic blast. Spider-Man uses this as a chance to duck out and change into his regular clothes.
Peter orders Clayton to stand down and that they will talk about Clayton using his Clash gear again later. Peter then tells Human Torch he wants to show him something.
A short while later, Peter shows Johnny the Fantastic Four statue he had commissioned from Alicia Masters and placed in front of the lobby. Peter tells Johnny that everyone from Alchemax to Hammer tried to buy the Baxter Building, something he couldn’t let happen. Peter says he is only holding onto the building until the Fantastic Four return. Johnny says that until then he is happy the building is staying in the family.
In one of the building’s restaurants Johnny wonders why he gave Clash and Norman’s kid jobs at Parker Industries. Peter says he is big on second chances, with Harry interjecting about third and fourth chances. Johnny then wonders if Harry knows Peter’s secret. Peter he doesn’t and that Johnny is one of only 26 people who actually know his secret. Mockingbird calls all of a sudden, with Peter telling Johnny she is another one of the 26.
Mockingbird tells Peter that Zodiac used the stolen data to shut off all the Parker-tech in the Helicarrier. She then says that SHIELD is going forward with a global strike and they want his help. Peter says he is in and Johnny says he’ll join them as well.
Harry comes over with some non-alcoholic drinks. Harry tells Johnny that he is trying to be a better person and that Peter sees that. Johnny says he can tell Peter sees Harry as family.
In the African Nation of Nadua the president of country says that Peter Parker has taken control out of his hands by providing his people free power. The president states he can’t do anything about it since his men are no match for Parker Industries since they make weapons for SHIELD. He continues to say that is why he brought Norman Osborn aboard. Norman happily says his weapons can help them fight back. End of issue.
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #3 is a great example as to why this new rich, successful Peter is working. While it may be odd to see Peter with money Dan Slott presents it in a way that makes you believe that it is the next step the character should take. This not only speaks to how well Slott is currently writing this series but also his long term vision for the franchise as he has been steering Spider-Man towards this direction for a long time now.
The inclusion of Human Torch in Amazing Spider-Man #3 helped to show us how Peter hasn’t changed as much as you would think he would. Johnny’s anger was a good way to voice the reader’s own anger when we all first heard about this version of Peter. It all felt quick and out of nowhere just like how Johnny got the news of Peter buying the Baxter Building while at a bar. At the same time, Slott made sure to use this time to show us how Peter still cares about those close to him with the reason he gave of why he bought the Baxter Building.
The opening of Peter and Johnny’s interaction was also a good call back to Spider-Man’s introduction to the Fantastic Four. It was a good flip the script moment that Slott used to further show us the lighthearted version of Spider-Man still exist. Writing a witty Spider-Man has always been one of Slott’s strength during his run and I’m glad this new status quo has not changed that.
Johnny forcing Peter to punch him in so that his big secret is not made public was also a good way to re-emphasize the split between Peter Parker and Spider-Man in the public eye. Having Jameson also reminding us that in the public people see Spider-Man as Peter’s bodyguard gives Peter a good reason as to why Spider-Man appears everywhere he is. This makes the 26 people that Peter says know his secret an important number and a reason why Peter almost knocked Johnny’s head off when his secret was almost revealed.
This dual identity that Peter continues to have was also nicely highlighted with the multiple tours he gave Johnny. Seeing people like Harry Osborn and Clayton Cole around show us how important it is to Peter to have his personal and hero life separate. There was different level of respect paid to Peter than Spider-Man, specifically in the scenes involving Clayton. The inclusion of Harry running the New York headquarters is also a good way to keep Harry around as a supporting character without him feeling like an outsider in Peter’s world.
On the Spider-Man side of things, Slott made good use of raising the threat level that Zodiac pose to both SHIELD and Parker Industries. Slott is doing a good job so far in making a non-classic Spider-Man villain feel like a Spider-Man threat. And it was nice to see that with all the changes going on in the Marvel Universe Slott still remembered the original Nick Fury in the brief mention of Scorpio being Jake Fure, the current Nick Fury Jr.’s uncle. This fact makes the Zodiac attack feel even more personal and a reason why Fury Jr. may be even more aggressive with stopping Zodiac.
I also like how much of connection Spider-Man has to SHIELD with Parker Industries now powering much of SHIELD’s technology. This additional connection adds to the fact that Peter has become the new Tony Stark in terms of how he is trying to help everyone. It helps make the move of Peter going global make more sense in context as both his company and SHIELD are making him do so. It also gives Peter a reason to go after Zodiac as he has to figure out how they are hacking his company’s software.
With Peter going global it was great to see Norman Osborn doing the same thing in his own way. Slott did a good job instantly reintroducing Norman as an antagonist to not only Spider-Man but to Peter Parker. After spending so much time battling the entire Marvel Universe I like that Slott is taking the time to reintroduce Norman’s character as Spider-Man’s main antagonist. It is a natural place for Norman to be in. With his latest business deal placing him against Peter’s new venture I am excited to see how it all plays out, especially with Doc Ock also doing his own thing.
Giuseppe Camuncoli also does a good job with how he has made this latest volume of Amazing Spider-Man his own. He has been drawing Spider-Man for a while in other books and it great to see how far he has come. He does a very good job in delivering on the global aesthetic that Slott is going for with this version of Spider-Man. Camuncoli makes sure to deliver on making everything from the Parker Industries new HQ reveal to Zodiac’s attack on SHIELD look like it is a big deal just like Slott intends it to be.
The Bad: The only complaint I have for this issue is Clayton Cole. While it is cool to see how Peter is going out of his way to help people Clayton is one of those supporting characters that hasn’t been given much to do. I would like to see more from the character in terms of contribution to the story. I’m sure Slott has plans for him but as of right now he is just around to be around.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #3 continues the strong momentum this latest volume this Marvel flagship title has built since the first issue. While I was not the biggest fan of the rich Peter Parker concept when I first heard it Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli have convinced me to buy in. Slott has delivered on keeping Peter Parker grounded even with all his success. The use of Johnny Storm in this issue was a good way to drive that point home. With Zodiac attacking SHIELD and Norman Osborn lurking in the shadows there are also plenty of things to be excited for in the coming months for Amazing Spider-Man. Knowing that has me even more excited for what is come from the minds of Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli.