The past several issues of Amazing Spider-Man have teased the introduction of a mysterious new character that tied in to the origin of their titular hero. Amazing Spider-Man #4 abruptly takes the series’ focus away from Peter’s ongoing conflict with Black Cat and Electro and focuses on who this new character is. The switch isn’t handled with the most grace, but at least the issue checks in on the main story to acknowledge its existence.
Dan Slott did his best to mitigate the damage done by changing stories so abruptly to fit in with the Original Sin storyline. He slowly released small details about the circumstances that created this new character, revealed to be Cindy Moon (the recipient of a second bite from Peter’s radioactive spider), and her current circumstances. It was a smart decision and made the Original Sin takeover feel less abrupt and more inline with what has been occurring in this series.
However, the result of that reveal being teased out over several issues is that the reveal in this issue, which should be one of the biggest moments in Spider-Man history, feels like a retread and not as momentous and shocking as it might have been. This is also a result of how immediate and sudden the information is given to the reader and to Spider-Man. Normally this information would have been teased for months before Peter found out something as shocking as this and here it was revealed in the span of a page or two. To say that the information that there was another person bit by the radioactive spider feels a bit rushed would be an understatement.
This is one of those odd circumstances where I felt like there was too much happening in the issue, or too big of a reveal for the pages given to it, and not enough happening at the same time. Most of the information that we receive about Cindy is a retread of information the reader has learned in previous issues. However, for Peter all of this information is necessary and new. The best stories often occur when the audience is in the mindset of the protagonist and is learning new details alongside them, here we are made to hear them again and watch how Peter reacts.
Cindy’s characterization is interesting as well but is hard to get ahold of. We learn that she’s incredibly fast and has enhanced spider-senses but her emotional state whiplashes quickly between the elation she feels towards her newfound freedom and a violent anger towards Peter and his actions. Peter has always been the reckless type, often jumping into danger before thinking it through, but some of his actions here verge on being incredibly infantile and moronic. For someone who has been killed by Morlun in the past and is running a major company, Peter handles these situations with very little thought for the implications. All of this is despite the information he needs being easily available to him; if only he would have exercised more patience.
In the post Superior era of Spider-Man books I would have thought that Peter would have at least learned to exercise some caution and attention to detail when facing these questionable situations. It gets hard to care about a hero’s success when he continues to make such bone-headed decisions, even if he is a loveable fool, especially if the audience remains several steps ahead of him.
Ramos’s art is as strong as ever here, though there seems to have been some minor details lost in the inking process, and he even gets to design a new character and costume. Cindy’s Silk persona is not the most interesting from a design standpoint, she’s just another skimpily-dressed woman with huge breasts, but perhaps this is just a first step to defining her look in the future. Either way, the book’s action remains dynamic and easy to read, a feature of most of Ramos’s modern Spider-Man books.
Amazing Spider-Man #4 is still an interesting read with a shocking cliff-hanger, despite being a mandatory tie-in to the Original Sin storyline. What’s unfortunate about it is that it had the potential of revealing an incredibly shocking detail about Spider-Man’s past and instead just feels like another bump in the road of Spider-Man’s life. There are many reasons this might be but I wonder if Spider-Man’s life has just been too full of shocks that I’ve grown a bit numb to them. I have to admit that at this point I just look forward to seeing him punish some greedy criminals in the face all while struggling to exist as Peter Parker.