After just two issues Nick Spencer has clearly found his home as the writer of Amazing Spider-Man. There is a sense of comfort and understanding that was not there during his Avengers and Captain America run. It’s a good thing that coming into Amazing Spider-Man he got time to develop his voice in this corner of the Marvel Universe with his time on Superior Foes of Spider-Man. That experience has led to a lot of good integration of different Spider-Man villains into the early part of Spencer’s run thus far. Now to continue his role it looks like Spencer is setting up a Spider-Man vs Peter Parker story arc as we saw both characters have an unexpected meeting. Let’s see how this development turns out with Amazing Spider-Man #3.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colorist: Laura Martin
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Africa some hunters celebrate killing an elephant. While taking selfies someone kills one of the hunters with a knife.
At a bowling alley just as Randy throws a strike and Peter and MJ are flirting Norah Winters shows up. After Peter briefly catching up with her Norah and Randy start arguing about their past relationship. MJ wonders why Peter invited Norah.
Peter says that since Randy is single and MJ wanted to go on a double date that he invited Norah, who just got back into town, to kill two birds with one stone.
Norah suddenly gets a news alert. The four of them view the news on an attack in the city. MJ pulls Peter aside and asks if he is going to deal with it. Peter says he actually doesn’t have to do anything.
Somewhere in New York City the Tri-Sentinel attacks the everyone on the streets. Spider-Man shows up and starts fighting the Tri-Sentinel.
During the fight Peter flashes back to the fight with Taskmaster and Black Ant. During the villains appearance Peter accidently turned on Dr. Connors’ Isotope Genome Accelerator when he was pushed against it by Taskmaster. The device somehow ended up splitting Peter and Spider-Man apart.
After the fight with the two villains Spider-Man takes Peter somewhere far away. After testing out that they are the same they realize Spider-Man has the powers and Peter is just himself. Spider-Man says this is a chance for both of them to live their own lives. Peter isn’t sure that is a good idea but Spider-Man swings away before Peter can convince his other self to find a way to merge together again.
Over the next few days Spider-Man fights Vulture while Peter gets used to life without powers and seeing how Spider-Man operates. Peter continues on to say this time has allowed him to build a better relationship with MJ, dedicate time to school and possibly score a job with the company Norah is working with.
Back in the present while Spider-Man continues fighting the Tri-Sentinel Peter gets a text from Dr. Connors to meet him.
Peter goes to ESU and finds Dr. Connors in his lab. Dr. Connors wonders if Peter will accept his offer. Peter says he still wants to think about it. Dr. Connors says Peter only has a week due to a new quarter starting then.
Dr. Connors then shows Peter video of a mouse, Horatio, who can run a maze perfectly and he used the Isotope Genome Accelerator on to find out the devices capabilities. Dr. Connors reveals that the device ended up creating another Horatio. Dr. Connors goes on to show how both Horatios are only able to each do certain things that the original Horatio could do all by himself. Through this experiment he discovered that the Isotope Genome Accelerator divided Horatio’s traits into two equal parts.
Peter wonders what Dr. Connors will do next. Dr. Connors says he is going to put a hold on testing it on humans since it could cause a person be split between their sense of responsibility and power. Peter realizes exactly what happened to him when the Isotope Genome Accelerator blasted him earlier.
At the same Spider-Man is able to open part of the Tri-Sentinel up and get inside its head. Spider-Man quickly rewires the Tri-Sentinel and causes to collapse on a building. Spider-Man pops out of the Tri-Sentinel’s head and celebrates without caring for how much damage to the city he caused. End of issue.
The Good: With how many Spider-Man stories that have been told over time it has been fun to see how Nick Spencer has delivered a story that feels fresh. That is exactly what the story in Amazing Spider-Man #3 turns out to be as Spencer nails how to make the idea of Peter Parker and Spider-Man splitting into two bodies new, even though it is a story told many times. The fresh take makes some of the weaknesses of Amazing Spider-Man #3 even more disappointing as they keep the issue from being spectacular.
As with the first two issues Nick Spencer showed that he has a strong understanding of who Peter Parker is with his work on Amazing Spider-Man #3. Throughout this issue we saw how Spencer used splitting Peter and Spider-Man up to display the balancing act between the two sides of the character. Even though Peter and Spider-Man had more time for their own goals they need each other to be truly balanced.
What helped push this part of the story forward was how Spencer did set up the story in Amazing Spider-Man #3 to show that they are more efficient with their time separated. Peter’s life in particular was shown to be better as he was finally able to dedicate time to strengthen his relationship with MJ, repairing things with Aunt May and spending time with his school work. This is something that has always been tough for Peter since he has had to sacrifice part of his personal life and it was a good chance to see what it was like if he could just be Peter Parker all the time.
Peter being allowed to focus on his personal life made his scenes with MJ stronger. There was a relax nature to how Peter talked with MJ as he was not distracted with being Spider-Man. This gave Spencer the chance to show how much fun Peter and MJ’s relationship is when they can just banter back and forth with each other.
The opening scene of Amazing Spider-Man #3 was also a good showing for Randy Robertson. As one of the key Spider-Man supporting characters that he is using, Spencer is doing a good job so far developing Peter and Randy’s friendship. Even with Norah at the bowling date Spencer did not try to create an unnecessary wedge between Peter and Randy. Instead he just used this as an opportunity to deliver fun dialogue between Peter and Randy. Things like this help get over how strong their friendship is, strengthening Randy’s position in the supporting cast.
Adding to how Peter’s personal life is becoming the highlight of the beginning of Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man run is the integration of Dr. Connors. As a person who knows all about having his career damaged by another part of him, in Dr. Connors’ case the Lizard, it feels right that he is reaching out to Peter to help repair his reputation. Dr. Connors pushing Peter to become his assistant in his experiments is a good opportunity for us to see Peter continue to develop as a scientist. If Spencer does have Peter take this opportunity it’ll be a good way to naturally build his credibility back after how the failure of Parker Industries and his plagiarism scandal ruined his reputation.
Dr. Connors scene also helped give the Spider-Man part of this story more depth than just having Peter figure things out on his own. It once again put into perspective that while Spider-Man is can be an effective crime fighter he needs the Peter side of him to balance him out. Because, while Spider-Man was shown to be stronger on his own with how he took out Vulture and Tri-Sentinel, it is clear that without Peter’s morality Spider-Man can be unhinged. This creates a much better story for the Spider-Man side of Spencer’s run as this split could damage Spider-Man’s reputation if Peter does not make them one again.
Bringing in the Tri-Sentinel was a fun call back to the villains first appearance being in Amazing Spider-Man #329. Even though the Sentinels are an X-Men villain the Tri-Sentinel is a lesser known Spider-Man villain. Seeing Spencer bring the Tri-Sentinel back was a nice surprise as it allowed us to see how Spider-Man not having his morality could cause greater collateral damage. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of the Tri-Sentinel being used in Spencer’s run.
Ryan Ottley once again delivered fantastic artwork in Amazing Spider-Man #3. Ottley is perfectly at home in Spider-Man’s world. He does a great job making all of Spider-Man’s movements flow naturally in the middle of the big fight with the Tri-Sentinel. His work on the dialogue heavy scenes were just as strong as he elevated everything with how he matched Peter and the supporting casts facial reaction to the words spoken.
The Bad: Though Amazing Spider-Man #3 was a fun read there were a few things that kept the issue back from being a complete success. One of those is the reintroduction of Norah Winters. Since being introduced during the Brand New Day era Norah has not brought much to the table. Here reintroduction in Amazing Spider-Man #3 further showed this as she was never portrayed in a positive light. Even in the “job” offer she gives Peter sounded so shady that it was tough to like her.
The problem with Norah’s reintroduction should’ve easily been fixed by using a different Spider-Man supporting cast member we haven’t seen in a while. Characters like Carlie Cooper, Glory Grant and Debra Whitman would’ve been a better fit in this opportunity. And it would’ve been one thing if Norah at least brought positive news by just being friendly with Peter and MJ. Instead Spencer just set her story up to possibly put Peter in a bad spot just because he is jobless with her “shady” job offer.
The opening page of Amazing Spider-Man #3 also did nothing to add to the story. While it is understandable that Spencer wants to build multiple stories having one page dedicated to a story that is disconnected to everything else going on in the story is not fun. All this one page does is give Amazing Spider-Man #3 a slow start since we have no idea what Spencer is looking to do with this sub-plot. Also by only having one page in the last two issues dedicated to this sub-plot make it feel like it is moving a snail-like pace. If Spencer continues to do this he’ll be in danger of losing fan interest before the payoff even happens.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #3 continued the strong start Nick Spencer is having for his run on this series. Spencer took the time to deliver a character driven story with Peter Parker at the center. Adding in some Spider-Man action sequences, which were wonderfully drawn by Ryan Ottley, helped keep the story moving forward. If it weren’t for a few problems with certain story beats Amazing Spider-Man #3 would’ve been close to perfect.