Amazing Spider-Man’s latest major storyline, “King’s Ransom,” has placed Spider-Man at the center of a gang war created by Mayor Wilson Fisk’s desire to obtain the Lifeline Tablet. This has also led to a unlikely alliance between Robbie Robertson and Tombstone after Madame Masque kidnapped their kids. And that is not even bringing up how Mayor Fisk also seems to have plans involving Kindred as he’s brought in Mordo to interrogate the villain formerly known as Harry Osborn. What will occur next in “King’s Ransom”? Let’s find out with Amazing Spider-Man #65.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Federico Vicentini and Federico Sabbatini
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At Ravencroft, Norman Osborn stops Baron Mordo and Wilson Fisk from continuing to torture Kindred (Harry Osborn) during their interrogation. Norman gets Fisk to back off by threatening to tap into his Green Goblin persona. Fisk warns Norman that he has one day to produce results as they agreed on.
Once alone Norman checks on Kindred. Kindred says he still does not trust Norman to have his best intentions in mind.
Over at a pier Tombstone and Robbie Robertson go to where Mirage told them Madame Masque and Crime Master are holding their kids. They don’t wait for Spider-Man and enter the warehouse.
There they are immediately surrounded by Madame Masque’s forces, who were hidden by Mirage. When Robbie mentions Spider-Man is on his way Madame Masque is already aware of this as they are able to track him on the Threats & Menaces “Find Your Hero” app, which shows Spider-Man is still miles away from reaching them.
Tombstone then reveals he called in his own back-up as he has hired The Syndicate (Lady Octopus, Scorpia, Trapstr, Electro, and White Rabbit). The Syndicate then bust into the warehouse and fight off Madame Masque and Crime Master’s gang.
All the fighting gives Robbie and Tombstone the opening to free Randy Robertson and Janice Lincoln (The Beetle). While doing so Randy says he accepts Randy and Janice’s relationship if that is what they want, something Tombstone sees through as some reverse psychology being done by Randy.
Spider-Man suddenly shows up just in time to stop Crime Master from shooting Robbie. Spider-Man then teams up with The Syndicate to fight off Madame Masque, Crime Master, and their gangs.
As the fighting goes on Beetle takes on Madame Masque one-on-one. Beetle uses her rage over being ignored and rejected by Madame Masque to defeat her. At the same time Spider-Man defeats Crime Master.
Later, outside the warehouse Robbie warns Spider-Man to watch out for whatever J. Jonah Jameson has planned next.
Randy and Janice then announce to their dads that they are planning on moving in together.
Back at Ravencroft Norman Osborn convinces a guard to act like he hasn’t seen anything Norman is about to do. After the guard leaves Norman opens a cell and offers the patient inside a chance to help them and their neighbor.
Over at Mary Jane Watson’s apartment Peter talks with MJ about not knowing where Fred Myers (Boomerang) is at. MJ suggests having Gog pick up Fred’s scent. Peter agrees and Gog immediately picks up on Fred’s scent.
As Spider-Man follows Gog through the city it is shown that Boomerang has been tracked down by Bullseye with Mr. Negative, Hammerhead, and other gang leaders also ready to strike on Fisk’s command. Knowing this Spider-Man calls on Wolverine, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Spider-Woman, Iron Fist, and Hawkeye for some back-up. End of issue.
The Good: With multiple of storylines going on in “King’s Ransom” Amazing Spider-Man #65 begins wrapping up these threads up. In particular, we see the story revolving Randy Robertson and Janice Lincoln, aka The Beetle, get some resolution for now. Given that they were brought to the forefront of “King’s Ransom” it was for the best that Amazing Spider-Man #65 was largely dedicated to wrapping up this part of the greater story going on.
What made Amazing Spider-Man #65 work as well as it did was the fact that Nick Spencer went action heavy for this particular storyline within “King’s Ransom.” As I said in previous reviews, the biggest problem with the whole drama around Randy Robertson and Janice Lincoln’s Romeo and Juliet-style relationship was not working because of the lack of prior development. Switching things up to focus on fast-paced action was for the best as it was Janice’s life as The Beetle that was the most interesting part of this whole storyline.
Bringing in The Syndicate into all of this also helped to further establish this group who hasn’t seen much of a spotlight since being introduced. Especially as Spencer is building up to the next big story that looks to be involving a large portion of Spider-Man’s Rogues Gallery showcasing how dangerous The Syndicate are was needed. Even if they mostly fought Madame Masque grunts we at least got to see Lady Octopus, The Beetle, Scorpia, Trapstr, Electro, and White Rabbit in action. That goes a long way in giving them some credibility with the reader so they aren’t just seen as knock offs of other Spider-Man villains.
Spencer also did a good job through all of this making sure to keep up the rivalry between Robbie Robertson and Tombstone going. Even though circumstances called for them to work together you could still tell that they do not like each other. That is all done through the dialogue as the tone Spencer hits with Robbie and Tombstone’s words shows that they will likely go back to being hated rivals after saving their kids. Which is a good sub-plot for this series to have as Tombstone is a villain that has potential to be built back-up to be a major threat down the line in this series.
Though I’m still not a fan of how Peter received his new costume I’m glad that Spencer is showing us how there are many problems with J. Jonah Jameson partnering with Spider-Man. While Spider-Man is still going along with wearing the costume we see that even if it has given him a power boost it has many drawbacks. The biggest one being the tracker in the suit creating even more opportunities for villains to take advantage of Threats & Menace setting it up so people know where Spider-Man is. Showing that through Madame Masque using this to her advantage was a good way to build up a reason for why the costume isn’t a long-term thing. Hopefully this leads to Peter being smarter about how he does things as Spider-Man.
Speaking of, we do see Peter acting smarter as Spider-Man by the simple act of calling back-up to fight all the gangs and mercenaries Mayor Wilson Fisk has targeting him and Boomerang. Bringing in Wolverine, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Spider-Woman, Iron Fist, and Hawkeye immediately elevates the story to be an even bigger deal. This shows that what is currently going on with Mayor Fisk’s plans is something that the superhero community all have to unite against.
This also helps in building up the plans Mayor Fisk has involving Norman Osborn and Kindred/Harry Osborn take on an even greater importance. We once again are shown how Mayor Fisk sees Kindred as just another resource he can use to achieve his goals just like how he is employing the crime lords.
It also made how Norman jumped in to stop being passive and tap back into his Green Goblin persona even more eyebrow raising. Even though Norman continues to act like a concern father we are seeing cracks in what kind of father Norman wants to be for Harry after his “cleansing.” Having these hints with the interaction with Mayor Fisk and the Ravencroft guard puts into question what are the ultimate goals Norman has in mind with everything he is doing.
Federico Vicentini and Federico Sabbatini did a very good job matching their styles so you don’t notice when the shift in art duties happened. They both have an animated art style that works for how action heavy Amazing Spider-Man #65. Every character pops off the screen even when panels and pages are filled with Spider-Man and The Syndicate fight Madame Masque’s gang.
The Bad: For as much as Amazing Spider-Man #65 gets right Spencer still drops the ball with getting over the relationship between Randy Robertson and Janice Lincoln. There still has been very little development to this whole relation to get you to buy into it. Even here you just see how foolish Randy and Janice are for continuing this relationship. It would’ve been a different story if Spencer had been dropping small developments for Randy and Janice over the course of his run but because he decided to rush it he ended up failing both characters.
The light banter that was supposed to be comedic in Amazing Spider-Man #65 also fell flat whenever Spencer attempted this. Lines like the Beetle calling out Madame Masque for not accepting her LinkedIn requested came across as something someone would say in the late 2000s not in 2021. Spencer has been better than this in past Amazing Spider-Man issues when it comes to quips and it just didn’t click in this issue.
Overall: Amazing Spider-Man #65 is a fun action-heavy comic book. The artwork by Federico Vicentini and Federico Sabbatini carry this issue. While the relationship between Randy Robertson and Janice Lincoln falls flat, the developments with Mayor Fisk help keep you interested in how Nick Spencer plans to wrap up the “King’s Ransom” storyline.
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