Amazing Spider-Man #17
Writer: Dan Slott
Penciler: R.B. Silva
Inker: Adriano Di Benedetto
Colorist: Marte Garcia
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Alex Ross
Release Date: 8/31/2016
Plot: As Amazing Spider-Man gets closer to “Dead No More,” we see Miles Warren slowly building his ranks of super powered heroes. Electro’s one time fling, Francine, is brought back to life, seemingly minutes after dying. All this is happening while Prowler investigates New U, a new company Parker Industries is interested in working with. Fights breakout, and its Prowler vs the new Electro! Things don’t end up the way you’d expect though.
Story: I’ve been a fan of the big Spider-events that Dan Slott has written. “Spider-Island” was a lot of fun, while “Spider-Verse” was an interesting way to bring characters together, and even “Ends of the Earth” had it’s moments. Superior Spider-Man is one of the best books Marvel has put out in the past ten years. That said, “Dead No More” seems like all the bad aspects of the 90’s Spider-events rolled into one, and it makes issues like #17 hard to read. We are teased about developments that happen off page, and are given no hints for what to expect. What is Miles plan? Why does he suddenly look like a tourist in Egypt? Even a small tidbit would make me excited. Slott effectively teased upcoming events before without impacting the narrative of Amazing Spider-Man, so why isn’t that happening here?
The best Spider-Man books have always had a good cast surrounding Peter, but this volume of Amazing Spider-Man seems to be taking this a bit too far. Prowler is front and center in this issue, and while I expected Slott to whet our appetite for the upcoming Prowler ongoing, this feels like a back up story that was stretched out. The villain aspects are entertaining, with Slott writing and R.B. Silva’s artwork really gelling. On the flip side, the new Electro feels a bit hollow. Some deeper exploration for her as a character would have been nice. Even a short back up for who Francine was as a person before falling in love with super villains would have been enough for us to understand her.
Art: R.B. Silva replaces Giuseppe Camuncolli this month, and the book is stronger for this. Silva’s smooth, crisp pencils are similar to Stuart Immonen’s, bringing the extraordinary of the superhero world and real life together, and make everything look normal next to each other. The pitifulness on Max Dillon’s face is palpable, and made me feel somewhat bad for the washed up villain. The only downside is how Felicia got the scorch marks on her face. While Max Dillion had story driven reasons, she seems to just acquire them out of thin air. I’m not sure if that as direction by Slott, or a choice by Silva. Adriano Di Benedetto balances Silva’s pencils well with inks. It’s a very dark issue, and the blacks continuously seep into the light world of Peter Park and Spider-Man. Marte Garcia’s colors are stunning, capturing the light on each surface perfectly.
Verdict: While the artwork has vastly improved over the past arc, it’s hard to find any reason to be excited about The Clone Conspiracy, “Dead No More,” or the new status quo for Prowler. Slott has shown he knows how to craft Spider-events, but can he catch lighting in a bottle again? Amazing Spider-Man #17 is a fine enough book, but leaves me tepid about Clone Conspiracy and “Dead No More”