Amazing Spider-Man is back and picking up right where it left off with the “True Companions” storyline. In this storyline we have seen Spider-Man protect Boomerang as Mayor Wilson Fisk is after him due to a conflict around the Lifeline Tablet. Things got a lot more complicated with the appearance of a newly returned Gog, who got his full origin story explored in the last issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Now with all these things in play can Spider-Man figure out how to save the day and not let the Lifeline Tablet fall into the wrong hands? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #43.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ryan Ottley
Inkers: Cliff Rathburn and Ryan Ottley
Colorists: Nathan Fairbairn and Dee Cunniffe
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After seeing Gog’s origin again we see Spider-Man ask Boomerang if he has any idea on how to deal with the kaiju-size Gog. Boomerang says they run and he does just that as he runs off with the Lifeline Tablet. Gog sees this and attempts to grab Boomerang. Boomerang is able to get to the surface by using his jet boots.
Gog chases after Boomerang by breaking through the streets. Spider-Man is quickly to go to the surface and immediately saves everyone that could’ve been hit by the debris Gog caused.
Mayor Wilson Fisk shows up with his special SWAT team and orders them to take down Spider-Man, Gog and Boomerang. Gog is unable to dodge all the gun fire and shows that he is suffering from being shot so much. Spider-Man recognizes this and immediately uses his webs to destroy the helicopters and tanks to stop Mayor Fisk’s forces to stop firing.
Once things calm down Gog goes back into rage mode and punches Spider-Man into a wall. Boomerang throws one of his boomerangs that get Gog to turn back to normal and play fetch. Seeing this Spider-Man tells Boomerang to throw one of his sleeperangs inside a nearby moving truck.
Gog chases the sleeperang and shrinks to a smaller size so it can grab what it thinks is a toy. Once inside the moving truck the sleeperang activates and puts Gog to sleep.
Sometime later Peter, along with his lab partner Jaime, are able to create an inhibitor collar so Gog doesn’t get out of control with his use of Pym Particles. Gog then ends up living with Peter, Randy Roberson and Fred Myers (Boomerang).
Feeling like as happy as he was with his original owner Gog is very happy with his new living situation. Peter also feels good having Gog in his life. End of issue.
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #43 is such a weird issue. It does do a good job of continuing the Gog character arc that the previous issue set-up. But in the process of concluding that arc Nick Spencer completely forgets about the reason this whole adventure took place. Those two things end up conflicting with each other to bring down the impact of the “True Companion” story arc.
While I was not the biggest fan of how the Gog origin story took over this story arc Spencer at least commits to paying off why that took place in Amazing Spider-Man #42. For that I got to give Spencer points as he does use the origin story he gave Gog to get you to care about the character. And with how minor of a Marvel character that Gog is Spencer added depth to the character that was not there before. When you see Gog breaking down when he is being attacked or playing fetch you do feel invested in his character.
Having that investment in what was going to happen to Gog made Spider-Man’s quick thinking come across much better. We saw how Spider-Man can be very aware of the situation he is in and understand what others are feeling with the way he figured out Gog was not doing it to be a bad guy. Understanding that the situation was getting out of control Spider-Man was able to figure out how to best handle the situation and causing the least amount of damage.
In the process Spencer put on display Spider-Man’s instinct to save as many people he can. We see that with how Spider-Man works as fast as he can to ensure everyone on the streets are not hit by the debris from Gog created while out of control. That along with his solution to calm Gog down made this a great showing for Spider-Man.
From all of this it’ll be interesting to see how Spencer utilizes Gog in the future. While he establishes Gog as being a pet there is clearly a bond that has quickly formed between Peter Parker and Gog. How that friendship is developed and used in future storylines could make fans look back at this “True Companions” arc much more fondly.
Ryan Ottley artwork throughout Amazing Spider-Man #43 was phenomenal yet again. Not enough can be said about Ottley’s amazing artwork that is just at home drawing Amazing Spider-Man. He nails how the character flows when saving people and fighting. Ottley specifically nails how expressive Peter can be as Spider-Man even though the mask covers his entire face. You get a good idea that Peter is coming up with the best possible way to save the day through how Ottley draws the character. That all adds an extra layer of credibility to what is going on in Spencer’s dialogue.
The Bad: As much as the Gog storyline shines in Amazing Spider-Man #43, Spencer did that by minimizing the storyline around the Lifeline Tablet. That is incredibly disappointing because this whole storyline around the Lifeline Tablet was Spencer’s chance to actually develop Boomerang to be more than a comedic character. There was a true chance to add depth to the character, especially since the plotline around the Lifeline Tablet involved Mayor Wilson Fisk.
In switching gears to setting Gog up as part of Spider-Man’s supporting cast member Spencer threw all that potential away. The only thing that even addresses the story around the Lifeline Tablet is the fact that we see Boomerang carrying it. Outside of that visual you would be excused for forgetting that the Lifeline Tablet was the reason this entire storyline took place.
The inclusion of Mayor Wilson Fisk just compounded the problem Spencer created for himself. Mayor Fisk and his special SWAT team were treated as nothing more than a wall Spider-Man, Gog, and Boomerang simply had to jump over. There was no sense of Mayor Fisk being a true antagonist. That is made worse by how we don’t actually see how Spider-Man deals with being surrounded by Mayor Fisk’s forces after calming Gog down. It just showed that Spencer had to rush this ending so that the “True Companions” story arc ended by the final page of Amazing Spider-Man #43.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #43 was a mixed bag of an ending for this “True Companions” story arc. On one hand Nick Spencer created a touching conclusion to the storyline around Gog’s character. But on the other hand, Spencer completely dropped the ball with the Boomerang and Lifeline Tablet storyline. Because of that Amazing Spider-Man #43 ended up coming across as half-complete when all was said and done.
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