Review: ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #65’s Buddy Comedy Falls Flat
by James Ferguson
The unlikely duo of Robbie Robertson and Tombstone find common ground as fathers. Meanwhile, Spider-Man teams up with the Syndicate to help save the day as yet another storyline looms in the distance for this crowded series.
Randy Robertson and his girlfriend, Janice Lincoln have been captured by Madame Masque and Crime-Master. The two lovebirds could be saved by Spider-Man or, their fathers, Robbie Robertson and Tombstone, two sworn enemies. Meanwhile, the Kingpin is pulling strings to get his hands on the Lifeline Tablet through Hell or high water.
A big chunk of Amazing Spider-Man #65 deals with the unlikely pairing of Robbie and Tombstone. These two have tons of history and bad blood between them, but through this wacky endeavor, they learn that they’re not all that different from one another. This is a tired trope that we’ve seen play out a million times in other stories and it’s just as tired and stale here. It’s like a cheesy buddy comedy and it falls pretty flat. After the great way this has been handled up until now, it’s a major downturn.
This issue features the welcome return of the Syndicate, the all-female villain team led by Janice (aka Beetle). This group was a breath of fresh air when it was first introduced and I’m glad to see these folks pop up again. It makes sense as we’re leading towards the Sinister War, the next big storyline in this series. I hope they play a part in it.
Amazing Spider-Man #65 is filled with unexpected team-ups, not just between Robbie and Tombstone, but with Spidey and the Syndicate, and Kingpin and Baron Mordo. Writer Nick Spencer features some interesting clashes of personalities in this chapter. I’m most lost with the Kingpin angle, especially with how Norman Osborn fits into the mix. The once powerful Green Goblin has been humbled here and just kind of complains a lot. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Artist Federico Vicentini delivers some great action in this issue, aided by Federico Sabbatini. The pencils are sharp with angular forms that really accentuate the fight scenes. Some of the characters can look a little awkward or lanky at times, but the action is what shines through. You get the feeling of intensity that comes with a big battle like this.
Letterer Joe Caramagna keeps the dialogue moving through this fight sequence, amplifying each blow with some choice sound effects along the way. I really love how Spider-Man’s new suit shoots webs with a “Thwep” instead of the traditional “Thwip.” It’s a nice touch.
The opening and closing sequences with the Kingpin and Norman Osborn look a little off, with a slightly different style. If I had to guess, these were the sections handled by Sabbatini. The characters don’t really jive with the rest of the book. This works out though as they are completely separate from the rest of the story. Colorist Alex Sinclair differentiates these pages further with some dark and brooding tones as compared to the bright, yet gritty shades used for the rest of the book.
In the scheme of things, this whole kidnapping story feels like a distraction from the Lifeline Tablet story which feels like a distraction from the Kindred story. This has been my problem with Amazing Spider-Man lately. There are quite a few great ideas introduced, but none of them get any closure so we’re bouncing from one to the next without wrapping anything up. As we stare down Sinister War next, it looks like we’re in for more of the same.
Amazing Spider-Man #65 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.