Peter’s Double Vision Is Cured With Some Soul-Searching In Amazing Spider-Man #5

by James Ferguson

Peter Parker faces his toughest obstacle yet: Spider-Man. The two halves of his personality have been split apart into two separate people. Peter has been fretting about responsibility and doing the right thing, but has no super powers to do anything about it. Meanwhile, Spider-Man is swinging all around town, stopping crime with no care as to the collateral damage.

While the end of this story arc in Amazing Spider-Man #5 is a foregone conclusion, it takes some interesting and eye-opening twists and turns to get there. We all know that these two sides will eventually come back together, especially after Dr. Curt Connors pointed out that the rats that went through the same thing died.
Writer Nick Spencer pulls in some great perspective on Spider-Man as a character. Here you have Peter Parker essentially looking in a mirror that’s talking back to him, providing a unique look at his own life. It’s easy for him to get wrapped up in the never-ending problems of his life as a super hero, but maybe he doesn’t have to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.  There’s enough room for Peter to enjoy his civilian life while still protecting the city. That’s a valuable lesson that he’s ignored for ages.

This revelation happens in a huge burst of energy. You practically have to shield your eyes from Laura Martin’s colors. This washes out everything in a big ball of light.  It also hides some of the creepier portions of the melding as it’s a little unsettling to see two people merge together like this. I love how Martin’s colors pop on every page of Amazing Spider-Man. Even in the darker scenes, there’s a real sense of life, like anything can and will happen.
During a particularly gut-punching scene, Peter is lamenting to Spider-Man as he’s possibly on his death bed. Letterer Joe Caramagna underscores these words with some shaky word balloons and a smaller font.  This is followed by a statement from the web-crawler that tries to be funny but ultimately hits hard enough to make any longtime fan gasp.

Spencer brought back Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane in a big way with this new series. I’m so glad that it’s returned because it helps ground Peter. He will always have one foot in reality with MJ. The two of them make such a great couple because they not only complement one another, but they make each other better. Peter isn’t facing the world alone with her by his side.  She’s one of the few people that know his secret identity and can help provide guidance or even just a sounding board when things get tough.
This is seen not just in the dialogue, but in Ryan Ottley’s artwork as well. Peter is at ease when he’s with MJ. It’s like the stress of his super hero life melts away when he’s with her. Mary Jane has this look she gives him when she has to cut through his BS that’s pitch perfect.

Of course, Ottley excels at not just these personal moments, but in the action scenes as well.  There’s a literal army of giant robots in this issue and it’s absolutely incredible. Ottley goes from zero to sixty in about 1 and a half panels. Spider-Man is in the middle of it all, webbing left and right to try to stop this chaos that he’s gotten himself into.
This arc has been a great jumping on point for Amazing Spider-Man. It’s given a nice refresher to the character and his crazy life while propelling him forward into a new status quo. Nick Spencer is dropping all kinds of hints and sneak peeks into what the near future will hold for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and it’s some pretty awesome stuff. This is a comic that’s full of adventure, humor, and jaw-dropping artwork.
Amazing Spider-Man #5 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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