After all the complaining that I’ve done about how Peter’s life has been handled since his return to Amazing Spider-Man, Slott opens Amazing Spider-Man #7 with a fun scene that does so much to address and mitigate some of my concerns about the characterizations in the book. The wonderful dialogue between Peter and Anna Maria, as they seek to define their working relationship returns from Amazing Spider-Man #2 as Anna Maria finally forces Peter to face not only his growing list of responsibilities but also the actions of Doctor Octopus.
Readers haven’t seen Peter come to terms fully with all the actions of Otto during his time as the “superior” Spider-Man, but the conversation here is a good first step. Peter does not deserve to face trial or ostracization from the super-hero community for Otto’s actions, but the book should at least address Peter’s realization that Otto was more successful in some aspects of super-heroics. Perhaps, what occurs here is the first step in a long path towards Peter’s maturation as a hero. Anna Maria does good here to call him out on how it is also egotistical to assume that as a hero he needs to be responsible for everything that happens in New York City.
Amazing Spider-Man #7 also features what seems to be the first half of a rather inconsequential team-up with Marvel’s other darling title, Ms. Marvel. The story doesn’t do a lot to introduce who Ms. Marvel is and what her universe is like, but fans of the character will find themselves right at home in her voice and characterization. The team-up should be a lot of fun because the Ms. Marvel title is perhaps the Marvel book that feels the most alike Amazing Spider-Man, particularly in how its character’s world is depicted.
Slott’s writing is incredibly self-aware and he uses the superhero obsessed Ms. Marvel as his metatextual delivery method. The final full-page reveal of the team-up title is a ton of fun, as is the beginning of this battle, and it left me longing for more. I’m not sure I particularly care about the Kree or the terrigenesis cocoons but fun writing and characterization can make me care about just about anything. Also, who was the mono-spectacled henchman helping perpetrate the crime and what is his history with Spider-Man?
The backup story, entitled “Web of Fear,” does a decent job of filling out the “Edge of Spider-Verse” storyline by focusing on Billy Braddock, the Captain Britain of Earth-833, who also happens to be the Spider-Man of that universe. Billy has sensed something wrong with the omniverse and has begun searching for the intrusions. What follows is a systematic reveal of the Inquistors slowly murdering several different versions of Spider-Man, with a reveal that might upset older Spider-Man fans. Honestly, I found the sequence with Morlun and the “Amazing Friends” to be humorous, particularly in his commentary on how “sweet” and like a “child’s confection” the universe was; each reader’s mileage may vary.
That said, I have to admit how disturbing it has been to see these Inquisitors just indiscriminately killing off many beloved Spider-Man characters, even though readers might not have seen them for decades. The Inquisitors approach these deaths as if they are a cute game and this makes the events even more macabre and ironically detached. The Spider-UK sequences don’t really amount to much beyond several fun surprises and cameos. Billy’s voice reads awkwardly and his reactions often border on the melodramatic. Perhaps a quieter, more solemn approach would have had a more impactful emotional register on me.
The real star of this issue is penciller Guiseppe Camuncoli. Camuncoli’s work only continues to improve, issue after issue, and this might prove to be one of his best yet. There is so much more character in how he draws people and superhero battles than from when he first burst onto the scene. Camuncoli has toned down his overuse of vertical panels and has opened up his layout variations quite a bit. The result is several stunning pages, packed full of details, which rival the work being done by Humberto Ramos. The way that Ms. Marvel contorts her body and how it is accentuated by the page layouts is always fun and worthy of intense scrutiny. Amazing Spider-Man #7 is a fine piece of work from him and it makes me more than excited to see how he continues to improve.