Global jet-setter Peter Parker has expanded far beyond Forest Hills, Queens, but he’s discovered that new vistas mean all new problems. And some of them feature old enemies… Your Major Spoilers review of Amazing Spider-Man #7 awaits!
Previously in Amazing Spider-Man: “The Amazing Spider-Man’s ‘Friendly Neighborhood’ has gotten a whole lot bigger! Peter Parker’s company, Parker Industries, is changing the world with cutting-edge technology and has offices all over the world, including Shanghai, China. There, Peter Parker learned that an old foe named Mister Negative has resurfaced in Shanghai and commanded his gang – The Inner Demons – to push a new, highly addictive drug through the streets of Shanghai. Called ‘Shade,’ the drug alters people’s behavior by lowering their inhibitions and making them susceptible to suggestion. What’s worse, two of Spidey’s old friends, Cloak and Dagger, were flipped by Mister Negative and made into his lieutenants!”
IN THE THICK OF IT
We open with the shocking revelation that Mister Negative has used his corruptive powers to take over the mind of Peter Parker, using his business contacts and inventive genius to help in his newest evil drug-running scheme. What Mr. N doesn’t realize, is that his powers only work on any given person once, and he already corrupted Pete (in his Spider-Man identity) a couple of years ago during the mess that was Dark Reign, and that Peter is only playing possum to get the inside intel that he can use to shut Mister Negative down. The use of continuity in this issue is very well-done, tying back even as far as the 70s run on Spider-Man, with an interesting use of the new global Spidey paradigm. (His worries about whether his clever battlefield quips work in another language are quite amusing.) Using a spider-tracer, he manages to confront Cloak and Dagger, but the trans-reversed duo nearly get the better of him, while Mister Negative actually convinces his alter ego, Martin Li, to play along in Negative’s search for vengeance. All the while, his supporting cast is acting up, with Harry Osborn shirking his duties for family, his lieutenants at Parker Industries’ various offices overwhelmed by duties that should be his, and someone preparing to betray him to the evil crime lord Scorpio, whose Zodiac is keeping SHIELD and Spidey’s allies busy around the world.
There is frankly a TON of plot stuff going on here, and that does create a barrier for entry for me, as I last picked up this book with issue #4. All in all, though, Slott’s story does a good job of pulling me in, and even with all the moving parts, I have to say this issue makes for an enjoyable adventure. Guest-artist Matteo Buffagni’s work resembles regular penciler Camuncoli’s (intentionally or not) to the point where everything feels perfectly consistent, and this issue’s cover, while garish, isn’t quite as jarringly off as previous issues in this volume have been. With heroes acting as villains, villains doing things for moral reasons and no clear idea of who is on what side, it’s classic Marvel Bronze-age style soap opera stuff, perfectly suited to Spider-Man’s stories. Best of all, the use of Peter Parker as international corporate jetsetter still works, proving once and for all that he doesn’t have to be a broke, abused loser in order to make good Spider-Man stories. Hopefully, Marvel will keep this in mind and not stick him back in Aunt May’s basement if and when Slott ever leaves this book…
THE BOTTOM LINE: A LOT GOING ON HERE
This issue features a lot of dialogue and character interaction, but most of it works well to advance the ongoing plot, and there are only one or two places where the back-and-forth slows things down too much. As part two of an ongoing arc, the sheer amount of continuity is understandable, and handled well, but still feels a little but daunting for me as a reader returning to the fold. All in all, Amazing Spider-Man #7 is a solid issue, a good second chapter in an arc that has a lot of potential, featuring some nice art, cool visual touches and logical use of the decades of Spider-stories to its advantage, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.