Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer vol. 5: Behind the Scenes

I’m on a quest to read all Spider-Man stories, one collection at a time. Today, I read Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer vol. 5: Behind the Scenes. This arc continues Nick Spencer’s run in Amazing Spider-Man.

Reading Order:
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2018) #24-28

Plot: This TBP includes a collection of small stories that deal with the fallout of “Hunted” while developing new plot points for future stories. Spider-Man rescues the Lizard, after the latter has decided to isolate himself following the events of Hunted. Mary Jane battles Electro (not Max Dillon, the classic Spidey villain, but a new incarnation of the character), and showcases her acting, leadership, and planning skills to defeat this super-powered villain. Following Electro’s capture, she is rescued by a group of villains called the Syndicate. This group, which consists of female supervillains (some original characters and some newer versions of older villains), executes a plan to capture Boomerang, and Spider-Man is caught up in the crosshair as he fights to save his roommate. Elsewhere, the mysterious villain from previous issues reveals himself as Kindred and reveals that he is out to get Peter Parker. Finally, Mary Jane is offered a role in a movie directed by Mysterio.

Review: These small stories showcase Spider-Man and his supporting cast. When Spidey saves the Lizard, he shows his sense of responsibility, willing to be hurt or even killed to save a man who doesn’t want to be saved. This is what makes Spider-Man one of the greatest heroes in Marvel. Mary Jane’s arc shows her development and growth in the series, and this helps promote her to a more self-sustaining character (enough to have her own series). The Syndicate stories were not great. The group is underwhelming at best. It’s best character so far is the White Rabbit, but even she stood out more in the “Hunted” storyline than as a member of the Syndicate. There was no real effort to characterize the supervillains in this team, other than the Beetle. If this is your first introduction to these characters (as it is in my case), then you won’t be able to tell much of their personality or characters. The most developed character, the Beetle, flip flops and switches sides so many times in this story that it’s hard to take her development seriously. One positive aspect of the group is their banter during fights, which makes them entertaining to read. Finally, the reveal of the new villain, Kindred, is packed with more horror and suspense. Within a page of his big reveal, we see him brutally murder a character (the second character he kills so far). The only thing I didn’t like about the reveal was the art. In previous issues, Kindred was drawn as a horrific shadowy figure. In this story (and future ones) he is drawn as a typical Spider-Man villain, complete with lighter colors and more humanizing facial expressions.

Rating: 3 (out of 5). The writing of the Syndicate stories and the art in the Kindred scenes could have been much better. It’s still an action packed volume, and since the stories are shorter, Nick Spencer manages to streamline the dialogue an action in such a way that there are no boring scenes in this collection.

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