Review: Going Through The Motions With ‘Amazing Spider-Man #41’

by James Ferguson

The most unlikely duo in the Marvel Universe is back as we learn why Kingpin wants Boomerang so bad. Spider-Man has to keep his roommate safe as this quest takes them all over the city on a scavenger hunt.

This is a rather quirky episode of Amazing Spider-Man as writer Nick Spencer adds even more plates to the spinning that has been going on since this series began. I’m sure it’s all building to something, but these aspects play like separate somewhat interesting ideas that are thrown out there and rarely followed up on.
After reading this issue I was thinking about this series as a whole. We’re 41 issues into the marquee Spider-Man title and I don’t know what differentiates this from previous runs on the title. We don’t need big sweeping changes or events in every issue, but this has felt like going through the motions for a little while. I’m still plugged in as Spider-Man is my favorite character, but I’m more excited to read some of the other titles featuring the wall-crawler lately than this one.

In any case, Amazing Spider-Man #41 features some of artist Ryan Ottley’s best work. One thing that does stand out with this title has been the top notch talent that have turned in art for it. Ottley’s characters are expressive in such a way as to amplify every emotion on display. This is especially true for comedic moments where someone is making a stressed or pained face. It also works very well for Kingpin who has a face that contorts into this monstrous expressions.
Inker Cliff Rathburn accentuates the details in Ottley’s linework. Again, Kingpin is a great example of this, with the tons of lines on his face, not to mention the clever use of shadow to make him even more intimidating. Letterer Joe Caramagna uses a font that feels larger than others for Wilson Fisk, adding to the menacing nature of his character.

There’s a stunning double page spread that fills you in on the McGuffin of this arc where Ottley really outdid himself. It gives you an idea of the size and scope of this adventure while also going through a complicated backstory. This is a deep cut for sure so this part is helpful, unlike the rehashing of previous issues that fill up large chunks of this chapter. I know that every comic is someone’s first, but there’s also a recap on the very first page so it feels redundant.
Amazing Spider-Man is traditionally a very brightly colored book. That’s definitely the case here under colorist Nathan Fairbairn, who gives the comic a lively energy. This contrasts well with the shadowy terror lurking in the sewers of the city. It shows that even though Spider-Man swings through the sunny skies above, he’ll occasionally get his hands dirty down in the darkness.

Amazing Spider-Man #41 sets up a quirky buddy comedy starring the web-head and his reformed villain roommate Boomerang. It plays like a fun side adventure, but doesn’t feel like it carries much weight. I’m reserving some judgment though knowing that issue #50 is looming in the distance and all this could be pieces in a larger puzzle I can’t quite see yet.
Amazing Spider-Man #41 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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