Reading Spider-Man, pt. 2: Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer

I’m on a quest to read all Spider-Man stories, one collection at a time. After reading Ultimate Spider-Man (USM) from start to finish, I have decided to continue with Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer. This run is part of Amazing Spider-Man (ASM), the original series that began in 1963. I chose this run because I wanted to read modern Spider-Man comics, and Nick Spencer’s run is about as new as it gets.

Why Start Here?

If you want to read Amazing Spider-Man, the original and longest-running Spider-Man title, you may want to start at issue #1 from 1963. However, I thought that after reading a modern Spider-Man series like USM, it may be best to ease into the original series with a modern run. Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer covers the fifth volume of ASM, starting with a new #1 issue published in 2018. This series was relaunched with the intention of returning Spider-Man to his basics. This meant going back to college, losing his job (so now he is broke), and operating as an individual superhero instead of a member of a team like the Avengers.

How to Read ASM by Nick Spencer

While ASM by Nick Spencer is intended for new readers, there are many references to external series. To follow the storyline, it’s important to read all tie-in issues (they are labeled with a number accompanied by two letters, like #16.HU) as well as three other series: Absolute Carnage, Amazing Mary Jane, and Sinister War. Remember to subscribe to Marvel Unlimited to read the issues digitally.

If you want to read the run from start to finish, start with Free Comic Book Day 2018 (Amazing Spider-Man/Guardians of the Galaxy) #1. This issue is the introduction to Nick Spencer’s Spider-Man, and lays down the status quo for the series. Then, read Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #1-74 with the following exceptions:

  • Read Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #16.HU after #16
  • Read Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #18.HU after #18
  • Read Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #19.HU after #19
  • Read Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #20.HU after #20
  • Read Absolute Carnage (see below) after #29
  • Read Red Goblin: Red Death #1 after #31
  • Read Amazing Mary Jane (see below) after #36
  • Read Amazing Spider-Man: Sins Rising Prelude #1 after #43
  • Read Amazing Spider-Man: The Sins of Norman Osborn #1 after #48
  • Read Free Comic Book Day 2020 (Spider-Man/Venom) #1 after #49
  • Read Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #50.LR after #50
  • Read Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #51.LR after #51
  • Read Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #52.LR after #52
  • Read Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #53.LR after #53
  • Read Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #54.LR after #54
  • Read Giant Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom #1 after #66
  • Read Giant Size Amazing Spider-Man: Chameleon Conspiracy #1 after #69
  • Read Sinister War #1 after #70
  • Read Sinister War #2 after #71
  • Read Sinister War #3 after #72
  • Read Sinister War #4 after #73

Absolute Carnage

This series is not related to ASM by Nick Spencer. Unfortunately, a key development in Nick Spencer’s run occurs in the tie-in issues to Absolute Carnage. I tried reading through it but had no context for what was going on, therefore, I had to read Absolute Carnage to understand the events of issues #30 and #31. Here are the issues to read:

  • Free Comic Book Day 2019 (Spider-Man/Venom) #1
  • Absolute Carnage #1-5

Amazing Mary Jane

This series is also not related to ASM by Nick Spencer, but it picks up on a cliffhanger that was first introduced in Nick Spencer’s run. Without spoiling too much, Mary Jane leaves New York for California for two months, and Amazing Mary Jane details the events of those two months. Reading this series will be important to understand Mary Jane’s actions after she returns to New York. Here are the issues to read:

  • Amazing Mary Jane #1-5

There is a sixth Amazing Mary Jane issue, but it is not considered canon, so it’s not necessary to read it.


In this series, Spider-Man and Boomerang are roommates.

3 (out of 5)

This is the first modern Spider-Man series I have read in over a decade. I was eager to see how Marvel presented Spider-Man to a new audience, especially after his appearances in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming. This run was the start of a new Spider-Man volume, so it would start with a #1 issue aimed at new readers.

Unfortunately, I had more questions after reading the run than I had before. I appreciate that Nick Spencer pays homage to previous classical Spider-Man storylines, but at times it seems that the series relied too much on previously published material. The arcs that I enjoyed the most were the ones that referenced stories that I was already familiar with. On the other hand, new material was fun, but sometimes failed to deliver the thrill and suspense it promised.

Nick Spencer’s run in Amazing Spider-Man was more lighthearted than Ultimate Spider-Man, so it was refreshing to read. But its storylines, particularly after issue #24 dropped in quality. At times it seemed that Spencer was rushed to complete his run and had to fit in a quick resolution in issues 70-74. This is a run that I may not want to read fully again, although some arcs, like “Hunted” are worth the read.

Bonus: How to Read Collected Editions

Most of the run can be read in individual trade paperbacks, with the exception of the Last Remains and Sinister War sagas, which come divided into two trade paperbacks each. Below is a list showing how I read the series:

  • Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer vol. 1 to vol. 15 collect issues #1-74 including all tie-in issues (except for #50.LR-54.LR and the Sinister War series).
  • Absolute Carnage collects all Absolute Carnage issues listed above.
  • Amazing Mary Jane: Down in Flames, Up in Smoke collects Amazing Mary Jane #1-5
  • Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer: Last Remains Companion collects the tie-in issues #50.LR-54.LR
  • Sinister War collects Sinister War #1-4

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