Nick Spencer has entered a new phase to his Amazing Spider-Man run as Peter Parker and everyone around him deal with the fallout from the havoc Harry Osborn caused as Kindred. Harry’s reach as Kindred even went to Spider-Man’s rogues gallery as Wilson Fisk is looking to take his plans to the next level by working with other crime bosses to achieve his goals. With so much going on right now can Peter Parker figure out a way to recover from the events he went through with Kindred? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #61.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: As he thinks off what he went through at the hands of Kindred, Peter Parker realizes things don’t change much as he stops a robbery by Shocker, Hydro-Man, and Speed Demon in his new Spider-Man costume.
We then flashback to Mayor Wilson Fisk meeting with Hammerhead, Madame Masque, Mr. Negative, The Owl, Tombstone, and other crime bosses. Fisk reminds all the crime bosses that since he became Mayor of New York City they’ve all been able to thrive in their “business ventures.” Fisk says now it is time for all the crime bosses to pay the price for his administrations help to him by getting him Boomerang.
Over at Peter Parker’s apartment, while playing video games with Fred Myers (Boomerang) Gog ends up eating the wires to the TV. Seeing Gog reminds Peter how Fred’s latest get rich quick scheme has been to use Gog as an Instagram model with Peter taking the pictures.
Desperate to end his unemployment Peter goes to Norah Winters and gets a job with her Threats And Menaces media organization. During his first day Norah shows Peter the new costume that she wants Peter to convince Spider-Man to wear.
Back in the present while wearing his new Spider-Man suit, Peter feels how the costume is making him stronger and increased his Spider-Senses’ sense of awareness.
Flashing back to when he was first shown the costume Norah reveals that on top of the power upgrade for Spider-Man that the suit has cameras installed so they can give viewers an immersive experience of what it is to be Spider-Man. Peter isn’t sure about turning Spider-Man into a thrill ride. J. Jonah Jameson appears and says that this new costume is a chance to show Spider-Man in a better light and promises that it won’t compromise Spider-Man’s secrets.
Back in the present, while he is fighting Speed Demon, Shocker, and Hydro-Man, Spider-Man keeps getting told by Jameson over a communicator to do his quips so the audience experiencing the fight hear them. Jameson continues to backseat superhero to get Spider-Man to do things on audience polls during the fight.
Spider-Man eventually wraps up the fight and is told to give a specific line. When he doesn’t want to the line ends up appearing over him so people can take pictures to further increase people’s enjoyment of experiencing Spider-Man’s fight through VR units and other screens.
The next day, at The Daily Bugle, Robbie Robertson calls Jameson’s stunt with Spider-Man silly. Robbie tells Glory Grant and the other journalist to focus on actual investigative reporting such as the expose on Tombstone. Glory says that they have discovered that Janice Lincoln (Tombstone’s daughter) is the new Beetle and has formed a super villain team called the Syndicate. Robbie greenlights Glory’s story angle.
Robbie then goes to meet with his son Randy Robertson. Randy says he needs to reschedule lunch with his dad. Robbie wonders what is keeping his son busy.
Flashing back to Fisk’s meeting with the crime bosses Silvermane says their work to capture Boomerang doesn’t come free. Fisk promises whoever brings him Boomerang that they will receive a “Get Out of Jail Free” card from him. Tombstone is up for the job but reminds Fisk that Spider-Man has been hanging out with Boomerang lately. Fisk says he has that angle taken care off as he knows how to exploit a weakness in Spider-Man.
Back in the present, Shocker reveals to Spider-Man that he, Hydro-Man, and Speed Demon were just a distraction.
Over at a park Boomerang is shown flirting with some girls while spending time outside with Gog. Bullseye is shown on nearby rooftop with a sniper gun point right at Gog. Gog suddenly notices something is wrong. End of issue.
The Good: Amazing Spider-Man #61 in a way acts as a fresh start for Peter Parker as he tries to pick himself up from how far Kindred caused him to fall. In that respect Nick Spencer is able to hit some strong character beats for what is next for Peter Parker. Though it is in the more classic Spider-Man elements when it comes to Peter’s character that don’t complete connect that hold back what Spencer is intending to do with this new story arc.
The self-awareness from Peter Parker throughout Amazing Spider-Man #61 was refreshing to see in the aftermath of the events with Kindred. Bringing up how things seem to going back to the same old-same old shows that Peter knows that things can’t stay the same as before. Even as he continues to fight his classic Spider-Man rogues like normal the ramifications of what Kindred did still loom over Peter’s head. Keeping that in mind for Peter’s character is key in making what we saw go down during “Last Remains” have actual consequences.
At the same time, it is good to see Peter finally getting off his butt and trying to get out of his unemployed rut that he’s been on since Spencer started his run on Amazing Spider-Man. Events such as Last Remains, Absolute Carnage, and Hunted have kept Peter busy as Spider-Man. But even then we have seen Spencer beat us over the head in the non-event stories how Peter has taken many steps back in his life.
Now at the very least we do see Peter showing signs he is done with his personal life being just constant steps back. Even if it is getting back to his photography work at Norah Winters and J. Jonah Jameson’s Threats And Menace media organization it is at least something. Having this focus on Peter having a life outside his apartment and non-Spider-Man adventures is honestly refreshing.
This is also an opportunity for both Norah Winters and J. Jonah Jameson to be more part of Amazing Spider-Man. Both characters have had sporadic appearances in Spencer’s run thus far. But now with Peter working for them again we can see more development from the Threats And Menace media organization through Norah and Jonah. We already see how they are going all in on a TMZ approach to delivering news with an entertainment slant.
The addition of Robbie Robertson’s perspective of what Jonah and Norah are doing with Threats And Meance’s use of Spider-Man added to this part of the story. Spencer does a great job having Robbie call out how what Jonah and Norah are doing is not adding anything of substance to helping New York City. Following that up with Glory Grant bringing up her angle on the Tombstone story involving the new Beetle, who happens to be Tombstone’s daughter, was a great way to show how The Daily Bugle is taking what is going seriously. Having this difference between The Daily Bugle and Threats And Menace established will work in the favor of the story Spencer is telling with the crime bosses of New York.
Speaking of, having Wilson Fisk return to his full Kingpin persona has been great to see. Up until now we’ve seen in both Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil how careful Fisk has been about maintaining his governmental power as Mayor of New York City. But given recent events involving the Lifeline Tablet and Hell’s Kitchen becoming a warzone Fisk can no longer play things as just the Mayor of NYC. Fisk is going back into his Kingpin persona and making it clear he is in charge. Seeing this side of Fisk makes him come across as much more dangerous as he is setting the sights of all the major crime bosses on Boomerang.
The meeting also works to bring back classic Spider-Man villains in Silvermane and Tombstone back into play in major ways. These are characters who haven’t had prominent stories told with them involved. With Fisk’s new proposal of what getting him Boomerang, Spencer is opening up the opportunity to tell more stories involving all these crime bosses. Adding in how Robbie Robertson is having Glory Grant and the other Daily Bugle journalist chase this crime boss story further elevates the developments in this new story.
To get over what a new Spider-Man costume can do there aren’t many better artists that you can find to put it over than Patrick Gleason. Gleason does a fantastic job showcasing how Spider-Man is indeed more powerful thanks to his new costume. The overall design may not be for everyone but in terms of how it is shown in motion Gleason accomplishes making it look good. Gleason also captures the sinister tone of the meeting Wilson Fisk has with all of the crime bosses. The entire vibe makes every crime boss that Fisk meets with have a sense of importance that has been missing from those in the room for a long time now.
The Bad: While the design will definitely be a 50-50 thing whether fans like the new Spider-Man costume that is not what was close to most concerning about it. The design is what it is and we’ve seen Peter Parker rock a lot of different Spider-Man costumes over the decades. The more problematic aspect for this new costume is the fact that Spencer doesn’t even try to make it seem like it is the new look moving forward. The new costume be something that Norah and Jonah provide to Peter immediately gives the vibe it is only going to be around for a few issues.
Which goes against having Amazing Spider-Man #61 being a fresh start in the wake of the Last Remains arc. Even if the costume was always meant to be temporary it is Spencer’s job to not make it seem that way. There should’ve been more to how the costume was presented to at least give the perception it is the new Spider-Man costume moving forward.
The connection to Threats And Menace also makes Peter look even less like a superhero. Spider-Man just comes across as nothing more than a propaganda tool. Which coming off the events of Last Remains and the character development in Amazing Spider-Man #60 does feel like a step backwards. This is something that could’ve simply been solved if Peter himself decided to create a new Spider-Man costume after his monologue to MJ in the previous issue. That would’ve helped give a sense of importance to what this change means for what is next in this phase of Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man.
The way this costume was presented on top of how we are seeing Gog and Boomerang come back into play also unnecessarily makes you question if the poor job Peter is doing to hide his identity as Spider-Man. There are way to many things with how we do see Peter out in the open with Gog and Fisk knowing that Gog is Spider-Man’s weakness that breaks the illusion. It is a reminder of how this aspect of having Boomerang hanging out with both Peter and Spider-Man that has not worked completely well for bigger story arcs in this series.
Overall: Though the presentation for how Peter Parker gets his new costume in Amazing Spider-Man #61 is not a home run everything around this change worked well. Nick Spencer does a good job in how he focuses what it means for Wilson Fisk to return to being the Kingpin of Crime. How that impacts Peter Parker and Spider-Man’s world creates enough things to be invested in to want to come back for more from this series.
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