This latest story arc involving Black Cat and the newly introduced Thieves Guild has been interesting thus far. Nick Spencer has continued to deliver on the fun that is expected from a Spider-Man comic book with this story arc. The Spider-Man and Black Cat’s relationship status has been what has drive this story as they are still working out many trust issues. The only thing that has kept this story back has been the Thieves Guild coming across like yet another organization in line with the Hand. If Spencer can overcome that perception this story can get over the hump and reach that next level. Let’s find out if he can do that with Amazing Spider-Man #10.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Humberto Ramos and Michele Bandini
Inkers: Victor Olazaba and Michele Bandini
Colorists: Edgar Delgado and Erick Archiniega
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At the Lookups meeting Jarvis is starting to wrap things up but MJ decides to talk. She reveals that she is in love with a superhero but wasn’t always as cool as it sounds. (Some shade being thrown at Superman and Lois Lane’s relationship?)
At the Thieves Guild hideout Spider-Man asks Black Cat to introduce him to Odessa. Odessa reminds Black Cat they don’t allow guests in their hideout. Black Cat says she already paid her dues in full and says the superhero items the Thieves Guild stole are needed to protect and save lives. Odessa immediately orders the Thieves Guild to kill Spider-Man and Black Cat.
Back at the Lookups meeting MJ talks about how while it was cool to experience certain things with having a superhero boyfriend she would stay up at night worried about him or that one of his villains would come after her. She says they ended up being in an on-again-off-again relationship until they recently lost someone special to them (she is talking about Flash Thompson, who died in Amazing Spider-Man #800). That event made them realize how short life is and that they should be together because they love each other.
MJ talks more about who Peter is, specifically how no matter what events happen to him he still finds a way to keep fighting and being funny. She then talks about herself and how she recently lost her job working with Iron Man and how before she used to be a party girl who loved the spotlight, the opposite of who Peter is. She goes on to say because of this it makes her wonder if Peter would be happier with a superheroine that can defend herself and he doesn’t have to worry about her.
As MJ talks about this Spider-Man and Black Cat fight their way through the Thieves Guild, making quick work of all of them even though they are outnumbered.
A little later MJ helps Jarvis clean up after the Lookups meeting is over. MJ thanks Jarvis. Jarvis thanks MJ for speaking at the meeting. Jarvis then talks about how because of how he treats and cares for the Avengers with kindness that he is worthy of their friendship.
He then says that MJ does not need to worry about having powers because she already is a person with impeccable character and strength. (Jarvis sure is a sweet talker.)
As the fighting at the Thieves Guild continues Odessa tries to talk Black Cat into leaving Spider-Man behind. Black Cat jokes that while she’s tried he always comes crawling back. Odessa says Black Cat’s father would be disappointed in her.
Odessa then has the Thieves Guild start a special chant that causes all the superhero items in the vault to fly around the room. Spider-Man scrambles to find something to help stop this. He then notices something specific and webs it to him.
Elsewhere, Tony Stark and Mr. Fantastic have gathered all the superheroes to talk about how they can get their stolen items back. Ms. Marvel reveals that her backpack was stolen with her phone inside it and that her phone’s location was just pinged on her tablet. Tony and Mr. Fantastic are embarrassed that there items location were found so easily. (For all of the tech in his armor I’m surprised there isn’t a “Find My Iron Man Armor” app.)
Back at the Thieves Guild hideout Spider-Man announces that he has used Ms. Marvel’s phone to reveal their location. Odessa can’t believe it and decides to teleport herself and the Thieves Guild away before the superheroes arrive.
Outside the Thieves Guild hideout some random thieves talk about how the Guild stole all the superhero items and think they should join them. Odessa watches the two guys talk about this with a smile on her face.
Back inside the hideout Spider-Man and Black Cat are blasted from behind by Iron Man, who has the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Champions, X-Men and Defenders with him. Spider-Man and Black Cat tell them all that they aren’t responsible for this.
Later that night Spider-Man and Black Cat talk and reveal they to each other that they are in different relationships. Spider-Man is relieved to hear that Black Cat isn’t a mob boss villain anymore.
Black Cat says she has been in a dark place and she first thought it started when Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man’s body had her arrested. She reveals that it was actually before that, and actually originates from her not remembering who Spider-Man is under the mask.
Spider-Man reveals that something happened in the past that caused everyone in the world to learn his identity so he worked with Doctor Strange to make everyone forget. Black Cat reminds Spider-Man that she is not everyone as they shared something special and now she feels like something is missing.
After some awkward silence Spider-Man stands up and takes off his mask. He says his name is Peter, which causes Black Cat to remember everything about him. They then hug.
A little later Peter tells MJ that he teamed up with Black Cat and says he revealed who he really is under the mask to her. MJ tells Peter that she is not jealous.
In a graveyard the unknown insect-like entity freaks out that Spider-Man revealed his identity to Black Cat. It breaks the glass and says soon the only ones around will be it and Peter. End of issue.
The Good: Nick Spencer ends the “Heist” story arc in strong form with Amazing Spider-Man #10. While there were some obvious problems that kept the story from reaching its full potential they did not deter from what made this an enjoyable read. That is all thanks to the strong character work Spencer did with the three main leads of this story.
The chemistry between Spider-Man and Black Cat was one of the driving forces of Amazing Spider-Man #10. The banter between the two as they easily got on the nerves of Odessa and the Thieves Guild was well done. Spencer knew exactly what made them special was the way they bounce dialogue off each other.
This led to an even stronger ending for Amazing Spider-Man #10 with the two reforging their friendship. Delving right into the core problem of the broken relationship between Spider-Man and Black Cat going back to Peter Parker decided to wipe everyone’s memories of his identity was a great choice. It emphasized how important the relationship they had with one another has always been. Even when they haven’t been a couple Spider-Man and Black Cat have always worked well together because of how well they know each other.
That was something that was taken away from Black Cat by Peter’s decision to wipe everyone’s memories. Black Cat being honest and throwing that in Spider-Man’s face was a true honest moment from her. That honesty really hit a chord and made Peter revealing his identity again to Black Cat a great thing to see happen. It also made the hug that ended this scene be something that as a reader you cheer for.
Staying on Spider-Man and Black Cat, I did enjoy how they ended up resolving the whole stolen superhero items with a simple solution. The fight with the Thieves Guild was already getting repetitive since Spider-Man and Black Cat were obviously not having a tough time fighting Odessa’s army off. At least ending things with a Find My iPhone-like feature in Ms. Marvel’s phone gave us a comedic scene that also involved Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic’s embarrassment.
The other driving force that made Amazing Spider-Man #10 was everything involving Mary Jane Watson taking part in the Lookups meeting. Spencer did a great job writing this as a chance for MJ to be honest about her feelings with Peter. This is something she was clearly keeping on the inside and was afraid to talk openly about with anyone. Seeing MJ in such a vulnerable spot made everything she said come off as much more effective.
By letting herself be open about what she normally hides there was a weight lifted from her shoulders. That weight is something that helped create the on-again-off-again nature of her relationship with Peter. Peter decisions and Spider-Man lifestyle did not help things at all. But at least now that MJ was able to talk openly about it she does not have to constantly feel like she has to hide a part of herself from everyone. It also opens the door to explore the way MJ deals with with balancing her relationship with Peter.
What made these MJ scenes better was that it was also about how she personally feels lost right now professionally. Like many people in their mid-to-late twenties MJ is at a crossroads where she knows she can’t go back to being who she was in her teens and early twenties. And since her job with Tony Stark did not end well she is basically back to starting from zero. While this does not mean the doors are closed for her, MJ does need to figure out what she wants to do with her professional career. This in turn gives Amazing Spider-Man a sub-plot with MJ that fans can get behind while not needing Peter or Spider-Man to be involved.
Humberto Ramos and Michele Bandini provided Amazing Spider-Man #10 with fun, energetic artwork. They kept the story moving forward even with the amount of scenes that involved heavy dialogue sequences. Even with all the dialogue the artwork was vibrant enough to not get lost and help tell the story that Spencer was trying to tell.
The Bad: As enjoyable as Amazing Spider-Man #10 was the development of the Thieves Guild left a lot to be desired. At no point did Spencer make the Thieves Guild come off as a major threat to the Marvel Universe. Outside of Odessa’s intimidating way of talking the Thieves Guild were made up of nameless grunts who were easily taken care of by Spider-Man and Black Cat. The ease in the big fight made the Thieves Guild come across as being less of a threat than the Hand ninjas have become whenever they show up in Daredevil.
As a brand new organization that is not the feeling that the reader should have about the Thieves Guild. Even with Spencer leaving the door open for Odessa and the Thieves Guild to return there was nothing about the presentation that created anticipation for that to happen. Instead the Thieves Guild will be perceived to be nothing more than filler villains the next time they show up.
The ending with the mummy-insect entity did nothing to give Amazing Spider-Man #10 a strong hook ending. Without a name or greater development of its history with Spider-Man, there is nothing about the character to grasp on to. It is just another nameless villain whose only hook is that it is a mysterious character. With Spider-Man having such a fantastic rogues gallery this screen time would be much better used for someone like Chameleon, Mysterio, Tombstone or another villain that readers have a connection to and haven’t been used in a major role before.
Another slightly annoying part of Amazing Spider-Man #10 was the ongoing narrative Spencer has created out of nowhere that the superhero community hates Spider-Man. This is something Spencer has not explained why is happening to Spider-Man. After how serving time as a member of the Avengers and Fantastic Four it has been established that Spider-Man is at least a respected hero. While there are heroes like Iron Man and Wolverine that he does not get along well with it does not explain the hostility Spencer keeps pushing that everyone has with Spider-Man.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #10 is an enjoyable read. There are obvious weaknesses with the plot around the Thieves Guild that kept the “Heist” arc from reaching its full potential. Luckily Nick Spencer was able to do great job providing Spider-Man, Black Cat and Mary Jane Watson such strong character development that some of these weakness can be overlooked. Having Humberto Ramos and Michele Bandini energetic artwork helped strengthen the overall impact of the story.