AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5: Spencer & Ottley Becoming Marvel’s Top Duo

Writing/Script
Pencils/Inks
Coloring
Lettering
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Spencer & Ottley are quickly becoming Marvel’s top pairing. Amazing Spider-Man #5 does so much without overexerting itself. This series should drag people back to superhero comics that have moved on from the genre.

ASM 5 cvr

***SPOILERS LIE AHEAD***

 

Spencer’s sense of humor that we saw during his Superior Foes Of Spider-Man and Astonishing Ant-Man blends perfectly into Peter’s roommate situation. There’s probably no better writer for injecting personality into lower-level supervillains than Spencer.

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Boomerang may not be among the all-time great rogues in Spidey’s gallery, but thanks to Spencer he’s being further solidified as a Spider-Man supporting character in general. The prominence of Boomerang’s comedic relief takes a lot of weight off of Spider-Man’s shoulders for comedy bits.

The emphasis on Peter Parker’s supporting cast is a major element to what makes this run so special already. Early in the Ditko/Lee run that started it all, the more the characters around Spidey were fleshed out, the more the book started to stand in a league of it’s own. Nick Spencer recognizes what makes this title special and hits all the right notes without retreading.

Another great hallmark of Spider-Man comics, and all great comic books really, is an effective mystery villain operating in the shadows! “Who did that to Stromm?! Why did he say those words?” It’s hard not to hear these questions at the end of the issue in Stan Lee’s 1960s voice as he teased readers to come back next issue.

It’s impressive how much Spencer & Ottley are able to milk out of the two Peters. Their every interaction is great, especially the farther from each other they become. Pete’s sacrifice to save Spidey and the deterioration of what makes him Spider-Man is a hilarious scene. It zigs when most others would have zagged, and plays out flawlessly. Peter-Man forever!

Spider-Man separated from Peter Parker ends up being funnier than Deadpool has been in a very long time. Having his untimely and corny jokes get on Pete’s nerves was a nice touch. As was the line “I can feel myself trying to be funny again” once the two merge back together.

There’s a lot to love about the finale of Amazing Spider-Man #5 once the tale of two Peters concludes. Taskmaster and Black Ant’s interrogation scene is a memorably hilarious moment. They’re getting the proper Spencer villain treatment as well.

Those short jungle pages we’ve seen over the past few issues turn out to be Kraven The Hunter’s glorious return to the pages of Amazing Spider-Man. His tease and reveal generate plenty of excitement.

Spencer & Ottley aren’t lingering too long on anybody, moving a lot of pieces around at once. They’re dealing out the right amount of screen-time and nobody is wearing out their welcome. It’s the punk rock philosophy applied to comic books. These appearances are well-crafted two minute punk songs that we want more of.

Ryan Ottley has settled into the world of Spider-Man so nicely. You can see plenty of Invincible in his characters, but mostly this is what Spidey and his supporting cast were meant to look like and there’s no turning back.

The little things that Ottley is capable of doing with minimal pencils at times is astounding. He can deliver a detailed high-concept design that’s fully functional as well as perfectly cartoon a character’s mood shift with a single line.

Spider-Man fans should be reveling in the fact that he’s ours now and the new standard for drawing our favorite wall-crawler. We are truly blessed in this new era.

The only thing that bugged me in this entire issue was Peter having Felicia Hardy’s avatar in his phone contacts be her as Black Cat. That’s a pretty ignorant use of somebody’s secret identity–or is that not a secret? Who cares, this is a great comic book.

Colorist Laura Martin is a splendid compliment to every strength that Ottley has. She does wonderful things with character’s hair and costumes, providing a brilliant contrast to Ottley’s more minimalist panels. Veteran letterer Joe Caramagna keeps the energy light and the ship afloat. This is a spectacular creative team from top to bottom.

Amazing Spider-Man #5 is another home run for Marvel’s new darlings. Spencer & Ottley should be celebrated and appreciated by every Spider-Man fan reading comics. There hasn’t been this great of a jumping-on point for Spidey comics in over a decade.

Brandon J. Griffin - Comic Book Critichttps://twitter.com/griffunk
New Jersey scum who worships comic books like religious literature. Yell at me on Twitter @griffunk

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