The Amazing Spider-Man #41
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciler: Ryan Ottley
Inker: Cliff Rathburn
Colorist: Nathan Fairbairn
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artists: Ryan Ottley & Nathan Fairbairn
Variant Cover Artists: Ryan Brown
Fred Myers, AKA Boomerang, is in far more trouble than Peter, or anyone else has realized. The Kingpin is after something as valuable as it is powerful, and only Fred holds the secret (albeit unwillingly) to finding it. With no other choice, Spidey suits up to help Boomerang track down this sought-after artifact, all while trying to stay alive, and one step ahead of Mayor Fisk. However, their trail unfortunately leads them deep underground, right where all of the Vermin clones are hiding. Can Spidey and Boomerang work together in order to defeat them and find the artifact? Also, what exactly is this thing that Fisk is after?
If I’m gonna be completely and constructively honest, Amazing Spider-Man has been somewhat lacking for the past few months. It feels like after Hunted and the two issues following it last summer, Spencer and co. have been writing in circles in order to put off the main story with Kindred as much as possible. While there have been some scenes involving Kindred putting their plot into motion, as well as confirmation that they and Peter will come face to face in Amazing Spider-Man #44 before Sins Rising, it isn’t a whole lot to tide us over as an audience, and unfortunately, the stories told in between haven’t been all that to write home about. 2099 was convoluted and unnecessary, Breaking News was fun but a repetition of what we’ve seen before, and unfortunately, it’s looking like True Companions will be the same way. It doesn’t mean it or the previous stories were bad at all, but they’re definitely lacking in intrigue and character development.
To start off with positives, the art is unsurprisingly stellar once again. Ottley continues to shine as this title’s main penciler, with Rathburn and Fairbairn constantly bringing their A-game as inker and colorist respectively. Once again, this story and this issue revolves around the growing unlikely friendship between Peter and Fred, but most importantly, between their super alter-egos. Watching the two of them banter is definitely a lot of fun, and the growing development between them is genuinely something special. Also, the truth about what Fred is truly hiding from both Spidey and Fisk is definitely compelling, and illustrates just how far he’s come from petty supervillain, to an unlikely superhero. I’ll definitely never get tired of seeing him and Spidey interact and fight together, and I’m very happy that he’s become a regular character in this title.
Beyond all of that, however, the story just simply fails to grab me, not only because of wanting to see Kindred again, but because of the lack of danger and stakes. We’re told how whatever it is that Fred is hiding cannot be found by Fisk at all, but we never truly feel like either him or Spidey are in any imminent danger. Since Fisk and Fred have interacted in close contact on far more than one occasion since the start of this run, the stakes don’t feel as important as they should be, and it just feels like a hugely missed opportunity. Also, all of this just feels like more filler in order to space out the hugely important issues and stories for this run, and honestly, there’s only so much of it I can take. To me, filler has to offer something interesting, fun, and/or compelling in order to grab my attention and tide me over before we get back to the main story, and to be honest, I think that’s where Spencer is struggling the most as a writer. It’s good and enjoyable stuff, but nothing I’ll truly look back on later in the run with fondness.
Overall, this was an enjoyable issue, but I’m at a point where I’m just ready for anything to progress the main story. I definitely hope the next two issues change my perception and actually grab my interest, but I’m not sure it’ll be the case unless something enormously Earth-shattering happens. This run has almost started two years ago, and throughout its second year, it’s definitely started to slow down and run out of fuel. However, I’m looking forward to the main story development that happens next, and I can only hope Spencer and co. can pull it off.