Nick Spencer’s Amazing Spider-Man run continues to be a rollercoaster ride of quality. When it reaches its max height we are getting some of the best Spider-Man characterization the series has had. But then there are the lows that end up calming your excitement and thinking of how maybe not everything is a good as it appears. That said I am along for the ride of what Spencer has planned next as there is enough here in how he is exploring both Spider-Man and Peter Parker’s worlds that I’m way to invested in now. Let’s see what is next with Amazing Spider-Man #64.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Federico Vicentini
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
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: Under Ravencroft, Norman Osborn discovers that Mayor Wilson Fisk is having Baron Mordo torturing Kindred (Harry Osborn) to get him to talk. Mayor Fisk is quick to remind Norman that he is the one in charge.
Over at Peter Parker’s apartment, Tombstone (Lonnie Lincoln) and Robbie Robertson find the place destroyed after an explosion set off in Randy Robertson’s room. As they both get on each others cases Spider-Man shows up to get them to focus on finding out what Crime Master and Madame Masque did to their kids (Randy Robertson and Janice Lincoln).
Flashing back to a few hours earlier, Fred Myers (Boomerang) is knocked out by Madame Masque’s gang. Peter gets Fred to safety and then changes into his new Spider-Man costume. As the fighting goes on Spider-Man gets caught in an energy net by Madame Masque. Madame Masque then convinces Crime Master that they should take Randy and Janice hostage while leaving explosives behind to kill Spider-Man.
After the villains leave Spider-Man is able to escape the energy net he was caught in and leave the apartment before the explosions are set off.
In the present, Robbie and Tombstone agree to work with Spider-Man.
Elsewhere, Randy and Janice quickly get on Madame Masque’s nerves while being hostages. Crime Master calms her down as they stay focused on the prize Kingpin (Wilson Fisk) is offering for gaining the Lifeline Tablet. Crime Master then reveals they are now planning to use the fact Janice is Tombstone’s daughter to enrage the crime boss to cause greater violence he and Madame Masque won’t be blamed for, while gaining Tombstone’s territory in the process. Janice and Randy believe that their fathers will be able to find them.
At the Bar With No Name, Randy and Tombstone shake Mirage (Desmond Charne) down for information on where Crime Master and Madame Masque are. After initially not wanting to give up any information Mirage reveals what he knows when Tombstone hangs him off a rooftop by his leg.
Elsewhere, Spider-Man goes to where he left Fred after the explosion at their apartment. He can’t find Fred but does discover a letter. In the letter Fred thanks Peter for his friendship. Fred then reveals he had a vision of where the last piece of the Lifeline Tablet is and asks Peter and Spider-Man not to follow him as he wants to do this alone.
Fred as Boomerang is then shown somewhere else in the city going to where he believes the last fragment of the Lifeline Tablet is at.
Over at a gravesite Doctor Octopus is shown digging up a grave and discovering the casket he dug out was empty.
As that happens Kindred is heard speaking how soon they will all be together as he is inviting the final guests.
Doctor Octopus reveals that for months he has been searching to fill the gaps of his memories and all of that has led him to a dead end. Kindred then talks to Doctor Octopus to let him know that he’ll keep their end of their agreement and that the doctor should calm down. Kindred then has one his demonic centipedes enter Doctor Octopus’ ear. This causes Doctor Octopus to get knocked out while Kindred says, “This is all a necessary part of the process.” End of issue.
The Good: One thing that you cannot say there isn’t enough of in Amazing Spider-Man #64 is how many storylines are going on at the same time. This issue is stuffed with multiple things going on as Spencer is juggling multiple character arcs at the same time. That at times does make this comic book come across as bloated but it is never boring.
At this point we know what Nick Spencer’s goal with Amazing Spider-Man is as he is speeding through the latest phase of his Kindred story. Amazing Spider-Man #64 makes that clear with we open and close with Harry Osborn’s inner monologue as Kindred. In the middle of all of that we get more developments from the ongoing gang war that Mayor Wilson Fisk has created in his goal to obtain the Lifeline Tablet.
With so much going on one thing that Spencer did a good job with managing was how every villain believes they are in control of what is going on. Kindred, Wilson Fisk, Crime Master, Madame Masque, and Tombstone all believe themselves to be the ones in charge. Even when things aren’t necessarily going off as planned these villains have a strict belief in their power. This made how each one was taking advantage of the offer made by Wilson Fisk that much more intriguing as Crime Master and Madame Masque were banking on Tombstone’s anger clouding his judgement.
Because of this even the rushed aspects relationship between Janice Lincoln and Randy Robertson is improved by what happens in Amazing Spider-Man #64. That is thanks to how Spencer uses Spider-Man to get both Robbie Robertson and Tombstone to reach an agreement to work together to find their kids. It was a strong moment for Spider-Man that showed some leadership in the face of a crisis that he was able to get two intense rivals to agree to work together. In doing so Spencer created a greater sense of urgency to the story that was conveyed well with how Tombstone used.
Though he wasn’t a big part of this issue Spencer integrated Fred Myers story well with what happened in Amazing Spider-Man #64. The urgency that was held by other characters made Fred’s decision as Boomerang work as his character arc comes full circle. We see through his letter how finally his friendship with Peter and Spider-Man has made him realize he needs to take more responsibility for what is going on. The decision to do this makes Boomerang an even bigger wild card in this whole hunt for the Lifeline Tablet now that he is not working with Spider-Man for it.
With all of this going on the most interesting aspect of Amazing Spider-Man #64 is how Wilson Fisk is asserting his power. In both Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil we continue to see how Fisk is no longer waiting for things to happen. Now it is all about action with Fisk. And that means being much more hands on with dealing with Kindred as he makes it clear with Norman Osborn that he won’t wait for the Osborns to figure out their family issues. Its all a good continuation of the greater arc that is developing around Fisk’s current run as Mayor of New York City across various Marvel comics.
The inclusion of Doctor Octopus in the epilogue for this issue was an intriguing surprise next step in the greater narrative around Kindred. After being trapped for a few issues it is clear that the Baron Mordo interrogation actually was the kickstarter for the next phase in Kindred’s plans. Having Doctor Octopus be part of these plans made the latest developments with Kindred much more interesting. It creates more questions for what Kindred’s endgame is and if we are now getting to that point with all the developments that take place.
Federico Vicentini artwork got across the sense of urgency that was had by all the characters that appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #64. Even when we were in the middle of a flashback you felt that the story was moving forward thanks to Vicentini’s artwork. The way he drew every character made the dialogue work even better as he got across all the emotions each character went through, from intense anger to frustration.
The Bad: The one aspect of “King’s Ransom” that is still not working is the relationship between Janice Lincoln, aka The Beetle, and Randy Robertson. Nick Spencer dropped the ball in making you invested in this relationship before things turned out the way they did in this storyline between them. The entire relationship continues to just come across as rushed even though Spencer had plenty of time to develop Janice and Randy’s connection as a sub-plot in past Amazing Spider-Man issues. It’s unfortunate but all falls on Spencer just forgetting about this relationship until now. Because of that the story involving the Lincoln and Roberston families does not reach its full potential.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #64 was a vast improvement over the first chapter of the “King’s Ransom” story arc. The sense of urgency from Spider-Man, Robbie Robertson, Wilson Fisk, and others made you invested in the latest developments around the war for power and control of New York City underground. The surprising development in the greater Kindred plotline added to the success of this issue.
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