Amazing Spider-Man has been a rollercoaster ride as Nick Spencer has been dealing with a world post-Kindred making his full presence known. Even before then this has been a series that has been incredibly up and down. Now that Spencer is moving on from Kindred, for now, and exploring the growing gang war that Mayor Wilson Fisk is driving we are on a whole new road for Amazing Spider-Man’s future. That includes Peter Parker finding a new job and teaming up with Boomerang, his roommate, to stop Fisk from getting the Lifeline Tablet. Let’s see how things go next with Amazing Spider-Man #63.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Federico Vicentini
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Story Rating: 2 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At Ravencroft, Norman Osborn talks to Kindred trying to talk directly to Harry Osborn that he wants his son back and to return to how things were when Harry was a kid.
Inside New York City Hall, Mayor Wilson Fisk watches Norman’s sad attempt to talk to Harry while talking to himself that Ravencroft belongs to Fisk.
Fisk then request Baron Mordo to use his magic powers to make Kindred talk in exchange for the Lifeline Tablet since Kindred’s powers can give Fisk what he really wants.
Elsewhere Spider-Man and Boomerang fight Hammerhead’s gang as they search for the remaining fragments of the Lifeline Tablet. Boomerang eventually finds the Lifeline Tablet fragment but just as he does he is sent flying from an explosion. The Owl and his gang suddenly show up to take the fragment from Spider-Man and Boomerang.
Over at Peter Parker’s apartment complex Tombstone is in complete shock over seeing his daughter (Janice Lincoln, also the current Beetle) making out with Randy Robertson. He tells his gang that they have to leave.
Over at the Daily Bugle, Robbie Robertson tells Glory Grant to hold on to the picture of Randy and Janice making out until he says to publish it. Robbie then goes to confront Randy as both he and Tombstone think back to their history together.
Back on the streets Spider-Man uses his new suits power boast to create a way to escape Hammerhead and The Owl’s gangs with the Lifeline Tablet fragment in their possession.
After splitting up from Boomerang, Spider-Man runs into some fans that want to take pictures with him. J. Jonah Jameson appears and tells Spider-Man to smile for the cameras. As Spider-Man takes these pictures with fans Peter Parker reflects on how Norah Winter and Jameson’s help with the Threats & Menaces livestreams his new suit does has gotten his side of the story out to the public.
Over at Peter’s apartment, Robbie confronts Randy about being in a relationship with Janice Lincoln, something Randy kept from him. Randy wonders how his dad got the picture. Robbie reveals the Daily Bugle has been investigating Beetle. Randy tries to say that Janice is changing but Robbie finds that hard to believe and tells his son to stop trying to think he can save everyone.
Over at Tombstone’s mansion Tombstone freaks out at his daughter about dating Randy. Janice uses her Beetle powers to escape from her dad’s temper tantrum.
Later Peter has some pizza with Randy to talk about what happened with Robbie. While talking Peter reveals Spider-Man told him about Randy’s relationship with Beetle. Randy says that Janice is trying to use nonviolent means as Beetle and thinks he can help her turn to the good side. Peter suggests Randy have a real talk with Janice about their relationship.
At the same time, Janice talks with Lorina Dodson (White Rabbit), Francine Frye (Electro), Carolyn Trainer (Lady Octopus), Elaine Coll (Scorpia), and Trapstr about her relationship with Randy. Janice reveals that she met Randy when she went to kill Boomerang and only found Randy, which is when they were immediately attracted to one another. Lorina think she should break up with Randy because he is just going to try to change her. Seeing Janice is hesitant about that the Syndicate tell her to set ground rules with Randy.
Later, Janice tells Randy that she doesn’t care what their parents or friends think about their relationship. Randy then reveals he talked with his dad about Janice trying to reform. Janice can’t believe Randy would talk to his dad about her and they start arguing.
Suddenly Crime Master’s crew break into the apartment and start fighting Janice.
Elsewhere Fred Myers (Boomerang) talks with Peter about how they are one piece away from completing the Lifeline tablet. Fred tells Peter that this whole thing is his chance to be a hero.
Back at the apartment Madame Masque appears and knocks Janice out. Peter and Fred suddenly show up to see what is going on. Madame Masque then orders her crew to fire at Peter and Fred. The laser shots from Madame Masque’s crew cause an explosion in the apartment. End of issue.
The Good: There is a saying that that sometimes simple is better. That is certainly what can be applied to how Amazing Spider-Man #63 tries to tackle a dozen different storylines all at once. By trying to make sure every story he is developing stays in focus Nick Spencer creates a comic book that just lacks focus.
The one thing I’ll give Spencer credit for in this story is how he is developing Mayor Wilson Fisk as someone who is in control of everything going on. He is the direct cause of everything that we see happen in Amazing Spider-Man #63. This keeps up the overall theme around Fisk’s current status as Mayor of New York City something that he is using to become even more powerful as his Kingpin persona continues to be shown. It makes him into a major threat that will be the center of a big event in the Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil comics.
Federico Vicentini artwork was solid throughout Amazing Spider-Man #63. The artwork was obviously at its best with its action as Vicentini got over how chaotic things are in the battle for the fragments of the Lifeline Tablet. Vicentini also did well in showing how conflicted Janice Lincoln and Randy Robertson are in their relationship especially when they open up to their respective inner circle.
The Bad: The first thing that comes to mind after reading Amazing Spider-Man #63 is how bloated the content in this comic book is. Nick Spencer throws just about every single storyline he has started over the course of his run on Amazing Spider-Man in this one issue. While we could commend Spencer for having stories for a wide variety of characters going on not named Peter Parker and Spider-Man when it is all presented in this way it is just a mess. It gets to the point that Spencer is just showing his own hubris as a writer that he has to show off instead of telling a strong focused story.
The best example of this is how rushed the entire story around Randy Robertson and Janice Lincoln, aka Beetle, was shown to be. Spencer attempts to try to make this a big payoff to this relationship that was first revealed in Amazing Spider-Man #27. But everything about Randy and Janice’s relationship in Amazing Spider-Man #63 is just a smokescreen to trick you into believing it has been developed since introduced. In reality Spencer has spent no time at all on developing Randy and Janice’s relationship. There hasn’t been dates or even them together in the background in prior issues to show some progression. Even as Peter’s roommate Randy has been almost non-existent in Spencer’s run. We are basically told everything about their relationship in this issue, almost 40 issues later.
This is all just poor storytelling on Spencer’s part because rather than having us believe in this relationship all Amazing Spider-Man #63 shows us is how doomed it was from the beginning. There is no believability in this ever being anything more than Spencer just trying to add another dramatic beat to this series. From a character standpoint, it makes both Randy and Janice look weak and foolish because of how quickly things broke down in their relationship.
Spencer’s lack of development for them is only further highlighted through the conversations Randy has with Peter Parker and Janice has with her Syndicate teammates. Its almost fourth wall breaking as it is pointed out exactly how Randy and Janice view their roles in each other’s lives.
This also ends up hurting how we are revisiting the history between Robbie Robertson and Tombstone. Because of the rush nature of Randy and Janice’s relationship it turns the whole war between Robbie and Tombstone into a cheap soap opera. Which is a waste of how Spencer just started to build this rivalry back up as we saw Robbie as an investigative journalist, compared to J. Jonah Jameson tabloid hunting, looking into Tombstone and the brewing gang war. All that work is done away with by how compromised Robbie now is for a storyline relationship that had zero development.
Things aren’t made any better by how Spencer just can’t take a break from the whole Kindred sub-plot. We just came off a dozen or more issues centered around Kindred. This new arc involving the Lifeline Tablet should’ve been a break from all that for now. But instead Spencer just recycles more dialogue with Norman Osborn and Wilson Fisk from past issues that doe not progress the ongoing Kindred storyline.
The addition of Baron Mordo also doesn’t have the same punch it would have since it was at the beginning of this issue. Baron Mordo’s involvement should’ve been a cliffhanger ending to the end of this arc or in the fallout issue to “Last Remains.” Being placed were it was just does not hold the same weight it should’ve.
Peter Parker also oddly felt out of place throughout Amazing Spider-Man #63. Especially with how in the previous issue Spencer established how focus Peter was going to be on gathering the Lifeline Tablet fragments there wasn’t much of a reason to have him out of costume. It would’ve been more effective to show him only as Spider-Man, especially in his interactions with Boomerang, to get over the sense of urgency in this story. Especially since we literally see Spider-Man in the middle of a gang war it was odd that all the fighting just stops because Peter is out of costume.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #63 is one of the worsts, if not the worst, issues that Nick Spencer has written in his run on this series. The fact that underdeveloped storylines became such a major focus in this issue makes it seem like Spencer just threw everything he could into part one of “King’s Ransom” without caring what it would mean for the characters long-term. Spencer just had way too many things going on that made everything come across as rushed and chaotic for no reason.
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