Relationship troubles lead to an all-out gang war with Spider-Man stuck in the middle. The supporting cast takes center stage in this issue as a few plot threads look closer to wrapping up than ever before.
The modern day Romeo & Juliet romance between Janice Lincoln (aka, The Beetle / Tombstone’s daughter) and Randy Robertson (aka Robbie Robertson’s son and Peter Parker’s roommate) leads to all kinds of clashes and explosions as the two sides try to pull these lovebirds apart. Unsurprisingly, Spider-Man is stuck in the middle trying to keep everyone safe, but that’s easier said than done. Meanwhile, Peter’s other roommate, Boomerang, sets out on his own to find the last piece of the tablet and keep it out of the Kingpin’s hands. Also, there’s some magic stuff with Baron Mordo getting at Kindred, but we don’t know where that’s going yet.
The vast majority of Amazing Spider-Man #64 deals with the fallout from Janice and Randy’s relationship. Everyone else around them has an opinion on this and some of them are willing to come to blows about it. The most unlikely outcome is a team-up between Robbie and Tombstone as they look for their kids, despite their years of animosity. There’s a buddy cop feel to this segment as they search for answers. Their tactics are pretty different, but their end goal is the same.
Although he’s armed with a new, flashy suit, Spider-Man still gets taken down by Madame Masque and the Crimemaster. To be fair, Janice and Randy were hostages and he didn’t want them to get hurt. This leads to a great action sequence illustrated by artist Federico Vicentini. I love how the panel layout gets more chaotic when the fight breaks out with some angular shapes and varied direction.
Vicentini’s pencils are sharp, which is fitting for the fighting style of the web-head. He has the agility of a spider, so that puts him in some crazy positions as he takes on a few goons. There are some occasional issues with anatomy, with hands or feet looking too large or too small, but if you read this as the fast-paced story it is, you breeze by that.
Colorist Alex Sinclair strikes a great balance between the grit of these street level criminals and the bright lights of the city. This issue is set entirely in the evening, so everything is lit artificially, from street signs and even the moon. Spider-Man’s new suit has this electric glow to the emblem and the eyes that really pops.
Although writer Nick Spencer keeps the focus on this relationship, there are a few elements weaved into Amazing Spider-Man #64 to move some other threads forward, most notably the quest for the magic tablet and Kindred. These serve as the opening and closing segments of the issue and work to wrap the central action of the book. It looks like at long last a few of these are really coming together. I know I’ve said that before, but I feel more optimistic about it now.
One interesting thing to come out of these threads is the redemption of Boomerang. He’s always been a jerk, but Spencer’s run has humanized him a bit, especially in the past few issues. This chapter marks the completion of his face turn with a truly noble act. Letterer Joe Caramaga provides a look into the character’s mind with a letter left for Spidey, written in script. These caption boxes look like pieces torn off of paper as the wall-crawler takes a moment to read through it.
Perhaps the biggest item to come out of Amazing Spider-Man #64 is the epilogue featuring the return of Doctor Octopus. As revealed this past week, this leads to Sinister War, a clash of Spidey’s villains. While this sounds interesting, I really want a few of these other elements tied up first. We need some closure on this stuff before we dive into more. I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of this title.