REVIEW: Amazing Spider-Man #4 – “Breaking Up is Hard”

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Amazing Spider-Man #4
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciller: Ryan Ottley
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 08/22/18
Rating: T

Amazing Spider-Man

Plot:  Spider-Man starts selling out, so Peter Parker tries to bring down his ego. However Peter fails at this task. Then Doctor Connors explains to Peter some new side effects of the gnome splitter which makes Peter’s new priority reuniting with Spider-Man. Meanwhile, a mysterious voice gives Mendell Stromm more Tri-Sentinels to kill Spider-Man.

Story: Nick Spencer does an amazing job writing Peter Parker and Spider-Man as separate characters. While reading this issue, one can easily notice the extra arrogance in Spidey’s dialogue which helps his more ego-centric actions. Also Spencer shows that Peter Parker’s motivation is being responsible and doing the right thing. This issue shows several examples such as Peter helping someone change a tire and paying for other people’s parking meters (which he didn’t know is illegal). By giving both characters their own identities readers can easily see how these two are two halves of the same whole. Spider-Man gives Peter an outlook for his need to be responsible, and Peter Parker’s motives make Spider-Man a better hero.

As far as villains, Spencer is really taking advantage of Spider-Man’s c-list villains. This issue reveals the person behind the Tri-Sentinel is Mendell Stromm, Norman Osborn’s former business partner. We also get a montage of Spidey taking down lesser known villains such as Looter, Hydro Man, and Cyclone. While this issue doesn’t elevate the status of these villains, it’s a fun treat for longtime fans. Plus for new fans that are curious about these characters, this gives them a great excuse to go through some back issues.

This issue also gave us another teaser for Nick Spencer’s big bad, but it doesn’t give us anything new. The first time we saw this character was Amazing Spider-Man #1 but no name was given. In this issue, this unknown character is just a voice that helps Stromm. While this lack of information helps build suspense, it doesn’t really give readers a reason to stick around when this character makes their big move.

Art: The artwork team knocks this issue out of the park. Ryan Ottley creates bright and dynamic images that are a perfect fit for a superhero comic. Also Laura Martin killed it on the colors. I love how the pallet changes whenever the scene switches from Stromm’s lab to any other location. The darker and grayer choices really help sell the creepiness in his lab. Plus they give the reader a sense of how much Stromm became a recluse. Also the scene where Spider-Man’s Tri-Sentinel has it’s face painted is the perfect metaphor for Spidey’s recently inflated ego.

Verdict: Amazing Spider-Man #4 has its positives and negatives. While it doesn’t give us any new information about the big bad, the current story is still entertaining. Nick Spencer does a terrific job showing how Spider-Man and Peter Parker can be individuals but ultimately they both need each other. Plus this issue has some great appearances from lesser known villains. Overall, Amazing Spider-Man #4 is a good but not perfect issue.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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