Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man has been a surprising change of pace from the Amazing Spider-Man. Writer Chip Zdarsky has doubled down on the fun of the Spider-Man character. Along the way Zdarsky has also brought back Teresa Parker, a rogue SHIELD agent who may or may not be Peter Parker’s long lost sister. Teresa’s presence has forced Peter and his best friend Johnny Storm to figure out who is coming after her. That has all led them to face off against Kingpin and the upgraded Tinkerer. Let’s see how things go with Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #4.
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The Kingpin unleashes Tinkerer, in his new mech armor, on Spider-Man, Human Torch and Teresa Parker. The three are able to combine their abilities to force the Tinkerer out the building into the streets below.
Kingpin tells Human Torch he is sending him a bill for all the damage. Human Torch says next time they meet the bill will be bigger.
Down in the streets Spider-Man does his best to keep people safe from all the destruction Tinkerer is causing. With Human Torch’s help Spider-Man is finally able to stop the Tinkerer.
Over at the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson tries to convince Robbie Robertson to run the story of Spider-Man working with Teresa Parker, a rogue SHIELD agent. Robbie turns the offer down since he can’t risk having the Daily Bugle being associated with Jonah, who has completely damaged his credibility after spending a year pushing New U’s insidious agenda.
On his way out of the Daily Bugle, Betty Brant reveals to Jonah that she got the same picture of Spider-Man and Teresa that Jonah received. They agree to work together on the story.
At his apartment Peter finds out a bunch of news websites running the story of Spider-Man teaming up with Teresa. Teresa freaks out as this puts Peter in a tough spot.
Suddenly FBI Agent Mintz calls Peter for information on Spider-Man and Teresa. Peter plays dumb but “agrees” to speak with Spider-Man and hand over whatever information he finds.
Peter suits up and tells Teresa that he has an idea of where Teresa can hide.
At Madcap’s Comedy Club, Rebecca London finishes her set and sees Spider-Man in the crowd. Before they talk Spider-Man tries to do his own comedy set. Though he starts with a good response he ends up getting booed off the stage.
Spider-Man then talks to Rebecca about helping him hide Teresa at her place. Rebecca rejects Spider-Man’s request as she has no interest in being placed in a dangerous situation.
Spider-Man decides that he and Teresa should go to the Mason’s place. When they get their they find the place destroyed and Vulture holding the Mason hostage. End of issue.
The Good: Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #4 continues to deliver the fun this series has quickly been known for. There is very little time to rest as Chip Zdarsky keeps the story revolved around Teresa Parker moving forward. That sense of momentum helps with keeping the story balanced between the drama and comedy going on from scene to scene.
There is no doubt Zdarsky was born to write a Spider-Man comic book. Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #4 is a great example of that as he does not hold back in having Spider-Man throw out quip after quip. At the same time, he knows how to make it so that Spider-Man’s comedy never reaches the groan inducing point. Spider-Man’s early quips about the Tinkerer’s latest machine is an example of that as Human Torch and Teresa Parker are there to call him out on the lame joke.
His later stand up routine was an interesting addition change of pace. The way that Zdarsky executed this comedic moment it did seem like we may circle back to this. It would not be a bad ongoing sub-plot for this series to have as it will allow Zdarsky to have a venue to go through all the best and worst parts of Spider-Man’s comedy.
Going back to the fight with the Tinkerer, it was nice to see how the fight went from contained in a building to spilling out to the streets. Zdarsky did a great job making Spider-Man to look like a hero as he had to figure out a way to break through Tinkerer’s mech while also saving people from the destruction going on. Having Spider-Man save people, in particular, helped add a sense of danger to it and a reason for why he and Human Torch ended the fight quickly rather than it stretching out for half the issue.
While the end of the Tinkerer fight seemed to mark the end of Kingpin’s involvement in this story arc Zdarsky did set up the character to stay involved in this series. Having Kingpin act calm throughout the fight while mentioning all the damage to his place was a great way to characterize him. It added a sense of danger to his threats to Spider-Man and Human Torch, setting up for an even bigger story between the three.
The opening fight added to how much danger Spider-Man has put himself in to help his supposed sister, Teresa Parker. The early fight along with Agent Mintz coming after her does make put Spider-Man and Teresa in a spot where they are on their own. Given that now it is known to the public that Spider-Man is working with a rogue agent he now is in a position where he can’t use all his Parker Industries resources. That handicap creates an underground nature to the Peter and Teresa’s story and makes you wonder what exactly will happen with Teresa’s story.
Given that danger level it was interesting to see how Zdarski further emphasized Teresa’s story by bringing new love interest, Rebecca Love, into the equation. It was great to see how Rebecca was not up for getting herself involved and turning into another possible damsel in distress for Spider-Man to save. This helped further establish Rebecca as a unique addition to Spider-Man’s supporting cast and makes me hope we see her pop up every once in while, maybe now to interact with Peter Parker.
It’ll also be interesting to see where Zdarski goes with J. Jonah Jameson’s part in Teresa’s story. It was good to see how Zdarski addressed the fact that Jonah has become damaged goods with how he became the face for New U’s promotion and the disaster it led to. This was a good use of continuity to establish how Zdarski is looking to rebuild Jonah from the ground up. Having him team-up with Betty Brant should lead to some intriguing character interactions in the future as their investigation moves forward.
Adam Kubert’s artwork continues to fit the tone of Zdarsky’s story. Throughout Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #4, Kubert is able to get over the comedic aspect of this issue. He also gave the action sequences some strong energy that helped keep the action moving forward. I especially enjoyed the special lighting for the comedy club scene that Jordie Bellaire added to make the scene standout even more.
The Bad: It was very odd that Human Torch just suddenly disappeared from the story after the Tinkerer fight. There was no explanation given to why Johnny wasn’t with Peter and Teresa. There wasn’t even a mention as to how Johnny was busy taking Tinkerer to prison or doing something else. That was a major miss since up to this point Zdarsky has done a lot of work making Johnny into an important character to the story. For Johnny to be just forgotten definitely created a big hole for the rest of Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #4.
As much as Kubert does a great job drawing Spider-Man there were a few details that were lacking in the quiet moments. There were a few details in character faces, particularly with Teresa Parker, that made some of the artwork look flat. There were only in a few instances but they were noticeable when they popped up.
Overall: Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #4 delivered all the fun fans have come to expect from everyone’s favorite Web Slinger. Chip Zdarsky does such a great job balancing the comedy and drama that surrounds Peter Parker’s life in and out of his Spider-Man adventures. Some strong progression in several sub-plots helped make the main story surrounding the mysterious Teresa Parker even more intriguing.