The battle for the Lifeline Tablet has been developed over the course of Nick Spencer’s entire run on Amazing Spider-Man up to this point. Now after all the build we are finally getting the payoff with Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom. This one-shot will conclude the “King’s Ransom” arc with Spider-Man searching for Boomerang, who is searching for the final piece of the Lifeline Tablet while being hunted by Wilson Fisk hired hitmen and gangsters. With everything around the Lifeline Tablet coming to a big conclusion let’s see what happens with Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom #1.
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artists: Roge Antonio, Carlos Gomez, and Ze Carlos
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: With Jessica Jones, Wolverine, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Spider-Woman all voicing their hate for Boomerang, Spider-Man goes over all the events that have happened with Wilson Fisk and the Lifeline Tablet. That includes where all of the major crime bosses will be meeting at this very moment to meet up with Wilson Fisk to help transport the Lifeline Tablet.
This still isn’t enough to convince Jessica Jones, Wolverine, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Spider-Woman, as they all question how often Spider-Man makes excuses for the problems and mistakes in his life. Realizing what is going on Spider-Man apologizes for being a bad friend. They tell Spider-Man to just remember he isn’t alone and they always have his back. Luke Cage then leads everyone to fight the crime bosses while yelling out “Avengers Assemble” to make the New Avengers reunion official.
While the New Avengers fight the crime bosses and their gangs Spider-Man heads underground to find Boomerang.
Elsewhere, at a theater J. Jonah Jameson announces how successful the partnership between Threats & Menaces and Spider-Man has been for TNM to a gather media. After announcing print is dead Jameson unveils the latest addition to TNM’s livestreaming game: The Pro-Spider Slayers.
Back at the battle with the crime bosses regular people use an app to control the Pro-Spider Slayers to help New Avengers. This only gets chaotic as the people piloting the Pro-Spider Slayers end up turning on one another, treating it like a game, causing damage all around the city.
Underground Spider-Man finally finds Boomerang, who is frustrated that he keeps failing to fix things he screwed up. Spider-Man tells Boomerang he is not alone and he can help him.
Shocker, Hydro-Man, and Speed Demon suddenly show up and start fighting with Spider-Man and Boomerang. Spider-Man and Boomerang are able to work together to take out Shocker, Hydro-Man, and Speed Demon.
Afterwards Spider-Man reveals he already had a plan to get Wilson Fisk’s parts of the Lifeline Tablet.
We then see Black Cat has stolen Wilson Fisk’s parts of the Lifeline Tablet, having used all the fighting to do so without being noticed.
Black Cat then quickly finds Spider-Man and hands over the Lifeline Tablet. She then reminds Spider-Man of their rendezvous point and takes off.
Spider-Man and Boomerang then find the final piece of the Lifeline Tablet. When they complete the Lifeline Tablet the guardian spirit appears and says one of them must pass a test to show they are a true hero. Boomerang steps up to take the test but is stopped by Spider-Man, who webs him up.
As Spider-Man goes to take the test Jameson calls in to tell him this is the shot to show the public Spider-Man is a hero. Realizing he is just repeating the mistake involving his own greed for money that got Uncle Ben killed Spider-Man thanks Jameson for his help but he has to do things his own way. Spider-Man then shuts off the TNM Spider-Man suit, cutting off Jameson’s livestream feed to him, and goes back to his classic red and blue suit. This act shows the Lifeline Tablet guardian that Spider-Man has passed his test.
Before he can celebrate Spider-Man is knocked out by Shocker, Hydro-Man, and Speed Demon. Boomerang then joins the three villains by taking the completed Lifeline Tablet and leaving Spider-Man unconscious.
Later, Peter Parker wakes up in his apartment with Black Cat watching over him. Black Cat gives Peter the letter that Boomerang left to him. In the letter Boomerang reveals that after the archivist was killed by Wilson Fisk he purposely became Peter’s roommate to become close with Spider-Man as the Lifeline Tablet when activated would kill anyone who wasn’t a true hero. Boomerang goes on to say he did all this to get his villain life back to normal.
We then see at the Bar With No Name that Boomerang is being celebrated by all the gather villains for his plan for the Lifeline Tablet working out.
Back at Peter’s apartment the New Avengers show up and tell Peter what ended up happening with the Lifeline Tablet.
Over at Wilson Fisk’s home we find out that after meeting with Kindred that Fisk’s plan to resurrect his wife, Vanessa Fisk, changed to reviving his son, Richard Fisk, instead. Fisk then uses the Lifeline Tablet to revive Richard Fisk, who returns as The Rose. End of issue.
The Good: Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom #1 ended in a way that sums up this entire story arc that Nick Spencer has been building out since the start of his run on this series. There are a lot of strong character moments involving Spider-Man and his interactions with other heroes and villains. Unfortunately there choices made that make the payoff we get for certain characters and plotlines fall completely flat.
On the positive side Spencer does a great job in making the New Avengers reunion a meaningful one. Spencer breaks the fourth wall a bit with the conversation Spider-Man has with Jessica Jones, Wolverine, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Spider-Woman. It is all done in a way that ends up working as it is the reality check that Peter Parker has been long overdue in having.
As much as Peter keeps thinking himself as a solo hero as Spider-Man he has a lot of friends in the hero community he can turn to for help but doesn’t. And the reason he doesn’t is because he constantly feels that the weight of the world has to only be his shoulders and no one else. But as we saw with the “Last Remains” arc and now “King’s Ransom” there are people in his life that Peter can rely on so it is not always on Spider-Man. This hopefully is Spencer opening the door to expand on who Peter is as Spider-Man and we actually see growth for the character within the hero community in the Marvel Universe.
Having this conversation with the New Avengers take place at the beginning of the issue set-up why Peter as Spider-Man would realize all the selfish mistakes he has been making. Partially because of J. Jonah Jameson’s influence but mostly on his own decision making, we saw Peter start becoming more of a selfish hero. Having the conversation he had with his New Avengers teammates opened Peter’s eyes to see that he was becoming the person who did not stop the thief that ended up killing Uncle Ben. This self-reflection made how Peter’s decision to become the Spider-Man who is just a hero looking to save people a strong moment when dealing with the trial of the Lifeline Tablet.
Spider-Man’s true hero moment was complimented well by what turned out to be Boomerang’s own villain turn when all was said and done with Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom #1. Like Spider-Man, we as the reader have grown to know more about who Boomerang is as Fred Myers. Learning that was all done to have Spider-Man drop his guard so that Fred could reclaim his life as a villain was a great curveball in the narrative Spencer has crafted around Boomerang. Even though Fred showed he was conflicted by going through with this decision the fact remains Boomerang is back to being a full-time villain. How that ends up leading to other stories that Boomerang will be involved in the future will have a greater personal stake to it because of what happened in this issue.
Wilson Fisk ultimately getting what he wanted was also the only outcome that there could’ve been given Boomerang’s ultimate heel turn. To Spencer’s credit, we actually saw the story with Kindred play a role that made sense into what became Fisk’s final decision of resurrecting his son, Richard Fisk, instead of his wife, Vanessa Fisk, as expected. The reasoning was there and now there is another major crime boss that can act in a Kingpin sort of role while Wilson Fisk continues to be Mayor of New York City. Which creates more long-term stories to be told in both Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil.
The artwork done by Roge Antonio, Carlos Gomez, and Ze Carlos was solid throughout Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom #1. They all worked together to match each other’s style so you don’t really notice when a shift in artist is done from page to page. Alex Sinclair as the colorist deserves a lot of credit for keeping the style cohesive. The coloring help make it all look as though there was one artist working on this comic book.
The Bad: Everything involving J. Jonah Jameson and Threats & Menace livestream stunt completely fell flat. As expected, the entire thing with Spider-Man’s new costume was nothing more than a gimmick for this story. There was nothing special about this and almost makes the entire new costume look like a joke. It added absolutely nothing other that fluff to this story that didn’t need it. You could easily take this whole sub-plot with Spider-Man and Threats & Menace’s partnership and nothing would’ve changed in the story. The only thing this entire part of “King’s Ransom” did was make you hope that it is the last we see of J. Jonah Jameson in Amazing Spider-Man because his character has just becoming exhausting to constantly see get screen time.
Even more disappointing was Gog’s role in this story. For all the build up around the connection that Spencer made between Gog and the Lifeline Tablet in previous story arcs that it did not come into play with the conclusion of “King’s Ransom.” There was this solid character build around Gog playing a key part in this big story. But instead of having him involved in the resolution Gog was just treated as a nothing more than a plot device to track down Boomerang. Once that was done Gog completely disappeared. By doing this Spencer makes the previous stories involving Gog and the Lifeline Tablet just look like a waste of time.
Spencer also needs to figure out a better way to develop the plotlines around Kindred. We constantly saw Norman Osborn and Kindred’s story be part of this story. While Kindred was somewhat addressed with Fisk’s story it was all done in flashback form. Given that the last time we saw Norman Osborn in Amazing Spider-Man #65 he was recruiting one of the Ravencroft inmates to not follow up on that in some way was noticeable. It is just another example of how Spencer constantly tries to juggle one to many sub-plots in his Amazing Spider-Man stories that he has to drop certain plot beats for page count reasons in hopes the reader forgets until it is addressed later on.
Overall: When it comes to the resolutions for Spider-Man, Boomerang, and Wilson Fisk arcs we get in Nick Spencer is very successful in the story he presents in Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom #1. There is a lot accomplished that creates even greater potential for future stories down the line. Unfortunately there are choices made with other characters that are just frustrating. Spencer really needs to find a Striking a better balance with how many plotlines are juggled in one story. If not the frustrating parts of his work on Amazing Spider-Man will overshadow the fun and engaging aspects of this run.
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