Nick Spencer has quickly delivered a fun first story arc to the start of his run on Amazing Spider-Man. Splitting Peter Parker and Spider-Man up into two people has given Spencer the chance to explore the concept of “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” motto that is so important to who Spider-Man is. So far this story direction has shown that Spencer understands how to write a compelling Amazing Spider-Man comic. Having Ryan Ottley along for the ride as the artist has helped bring the fun to this first story arc as well. Let’s see if that continues with Amazing Spider-Man #5.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ryan Ottley
Inkers: Cliff Rathburn and Ryan Ottley
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:While walking together Peter is having a hard time with who he wants to be. MJ admits that while she dreamed of a life of just the two of them she has come to accept that Peter is a hero at heart and its why she comes back to him every time.
Sometime later Peter is shown broken and bloodied on the ground.
Earlier that day Peter is thinking about who could help him “borrow” the Isotope Genome Accelerator to put him and Spider-Man back together. After deciding not to call Black Cat he realizes he knows another thief.
At Peter’s apartment Fred Myers (Boomerang) tries to flirt with a woman on the phone but can’t because Peter and Randy are talking loudly in the kitchen. When he goes to shut them up Fred overhears Peter talking about the lack of security around the Isotope Genome Accelerator at ESU. This gives Fred an idea.
A little later Boomerang loads up the Isotope Genome Accelerator he just stole into his van. As soon as he does Peter sneaks into the van and drives off.
Peter finds Spider-Man relaxing on a rooftop and sets up the Isotope Genome Accelerator nearby. Before he can recombine them to be one person the an army of Tri-Sentinels fly overhead.
At his hideout Robot-Master laughs that he is finally going to defeat Spider-Man. As he does so the unknown person who attacked Mysterio suddenly attacks Robot-Master.
Back in the city both Spider-Man and Peter run away from the Tri-Sentinels. One of the Tri-Sentinels hits fires an energy beam. Peter saves Spider-Man by pushing him to the side and takes the brunt of the blast.
A broken Peter wonders why Spider-Man’s spider-sense didn’t warn him. Spider-Man reveals that, though painful, he can turn his spider-sense off. Peter admits that he is happy that he could at least die being a hero. Spider-Man tells Peter he will avenge his death.
Peter wonders if this means Spider-Man learned about what it means to be responsible. Spider-Man says it has not. Hearing this Peter uses his web-shooter to turn on the Isotope Genome Accelerator.
While the Isotope Genome Accelerator works to recombine them Spider-Man tells Peter that he should enjoy himself when they back to being one person again.
Now back as one person Spider-Man quickly calls on the Tri-Sentinel he rewired to work for him, which he renames Spider-Bot, to help him defeat all the Tri-Sentinels.
While Spider-Bot fights all the Tri-Sentinels Spider-Man uses this chance to find Robot-Master. When he does Spider-Man sees that Robot-Master has been killed.
Suddenly some of the Tri-Sentinels show up. For some reason the Tri-Sentinels destroy Robot Master’s hideout with Spider-Man barely escaping the destruction.
Sometime later Peter and MJ are having a nice night in watching a movie.
Somewhere else Garrett Stone from Department of Homeland Security Metahuman and Advance Technology Division interrogates Black Ant and Taskmaster about attempting to steal the Isotope Genome Accelerator. Black Ant and Taskmaster don’t reveal anything, instead they just make fun of SHIELD not being around anymore and the complicated name of Garrett Stone’s division.
Suddenly an explosion destroys a wall. As they escape Taskmaster reveals that the person who hired them was not after Isotope Genome Accelerator but something else.
Elsewhere Kraven tells a scared hunter that he understands what it is to be a predator since he is a hunter as well. End of issue.
The Good: Nick Spencer puts an exclamation point on his first story arc on Amazing Spider-Man while building towards several future stories at the same time. As the conclusion of “Back To Basics” played out Spencer never forgot to deliver a fun story with witty dialogue throughout Amazing Spider-Man #5. Spencer does all that while juggling a number of different supporting characters that all are given the right roles to further develop their position in Amazing Spider-Man.
One of the more satisfying aspects of Amazing Spider-Man #5 is the brisk pace of the entire story. There never felt like a time where Spencer was buying time for something to happen. Every word and thought box had a purpose to drive the story forward. Even when there was the wall of text it did not come off as being too much. Spencer gave us just the right amount of dialogue that felt fitting with what was going on and kept the story focused on a bigger mystery he is developing.
The pacing of Amazing Spider-Man #5 helped get across how quickly Peter Parker had to act to get him back to being a whole person. There was a sense of urgency as there was feeling that the current status quo could not go on much longer. Even if Peter and Spider-Man did enjoy their time apart from one another for a short time, in the long-run these two needed to be one again.
In doing so Spencer was able to show us how resourceful Peter is even without his powers. Peter figuring out that he could trick his roommate, Boomerang, by offhandedly revealing how expensive Isotope Genome Accelerator was a good way to use Peter’s current living situation to his advantage. This scene also worked to put over how Boomerang being Peter’s roommate is a wild card situation for himself. It sets up how Boomerang could be used in different ways by Spencer without having him be the main villain of the story.
Through this plan Spencer was able to put over how Peter was still a hero at heart. Even without having powers Peter knows what the right thing is to do when the situation calls for it. That is exactly what we see happen as Peter selflessly pushes Spider-Man to safety even if it cost him his life when the Tri-Sentinels attacked. This action showed how the heart Peter showed is just as important to the powers of Spider-Man to make the character such a well loved hero.
Making what Peter did standout even more was how Spencer chose to portray Spider-Man. Even with Peter sacrificing himself Spider-Man still didn’t learn the true meaning of responsibility as he continued to act like his aloof self. At the same time, through his last action Spider-Man was able to remind Peter that he should have fun with being a hero at times. Far to often Peter goes all in on being Spider-Man leading him to be much more darker.
Having this experience remind Peter to have fun being Spider-Man made the Spider-Bot’s appearance even more effective. It showed that we are going to get the fun, witty Spider-Man that so many fans are accustomed to seeing. That is an important thing to reestablish given how easy it has been lately for Peter to get down on himself with what has happened to his life after Parker Industries shut down.
Through all of this Spencer did a great job having Mary Jane Watson be the person to ground Peter in all this. MJ admitting that she does not want Peter to throw aside his life as Spider-Man is an important step for them to take in their relationship. Even if it means that they will go through some issues, Spencer made it clear MJ is ready to deal with them together with Peter. Also by having MJ serve as that push to get Peter and Spider-Man back as one further emphasizes how strong this relationship already is.
Though Robot-Master and Tri-Sentinels ended up being throwaway villains, Spencer continues to slowly build intrigue in the new mysterious villain. Having this mysterious figure now go after another villain that targeted Spider-Man makes you wonder what his intentions are. It is not clear if he is acting alone or working with a bigger group. All we know is that this person has creepy motives and it’ll be interesting to find out exactly what they are after his two brief appearances in Amazing Spider-Man.
Taskmaster and Black Ant also added to the fun in Amazing Spider-Man #5. Their dialogue with the guy from the Homeland Security department showed that they are deeper villains than what some readers may think. Adding in how they were actually hired to do a different job than actually stealing the Isotope Genome Accelerator made you wonder what their long-term interests are. Bringing up SHIELD’s destruction does put into question if they are working for a bigger organization.
Ryan Ottley’s artwork was once again what took Spencers story to the next level. His artwork throughout Amazing Spider-Man #5 showed how he has used each issue to adjust his style to fit with Spider-Man’s world. Even in the dialogue heavy scenes Ottley brings a life and energy to every panel that keeps the momentum moving forward. This made the few action scenes we get be even more exciting as Ottley goes all out in packing as much as possible to make a dynamic looking sequence.
The Bad: As enjoyable as Amazing Spider-Man #5 there were a few minor problems that kept the issue from being excellent. One of these problems was the disappointing way Robot-Master and Tri-Sentinel were used as throwaway villains. After five issues to have one of the main villains of the story treated this way made them nothing more than minor annoyances. And with how imposing the Tri-Sentinels are there should’ve been more of a struggle for Spider-Man to fight and evade his way through them to get to Robot-Master. Without that struggle there was no sense that Spider-Man was actually in danger.
The Kraven sub-plot that Spencer has been developing over the course of “Back To Basics” was underwhelming. The slow build to this continued to feel unattached to the main story. It would’ve been much better if these single pages that were dedicated to building up Kraven was instead collected as the opening for the issue Kraven is actually the main villain for. That would at least emphasize that Kraven is threat to look out for. Instead Kraven just looks like he is doing his own thing and that his plot does not actually concern Spider-Man.
The splash page of a beaten up Peter was an odd way to transition from MJ’s talk with him that opened Amazing Spider-Man #5. This scene added nothing to the story as it was a vision of the future that was not needed since we don’t get that moment until much later. It killed the momentum of the opening between Peter and MJ. This also gave everything that lead up to that visual have an unnecessary flashback direction to what happened before Peter got blasted by the Tri-Sentinel
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #5 is a fun end to Nick Spencer’s first story arc on this series. Throughout “Back To Basics” Spencer did a great job exploring why Peter Parker and Spider-Man need each other to be a great hero. That along with how Spencer used this scenario to strengthen Peter and MJ’s relationship and Ryan Ottley’s fantastic artwork made Amazing Spider-Man #5 a very satisfying conclusion.