Amazing Spider-Man (2018-) #24
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ryan Ottley
After the epic and emotional events of “Hunted”, Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley set the stage for year two of this run on Amazing Spider-Man. This issue, Mysterio takes center stage, spouting his problems to a prison psychologist. Most significantly, we get our most substantial (and terrifying) appearance yet from the mysterious centipede-like villain. He’s been lurking in the background for a year, and Spencer seems ready to provide some answers in the near-future.
Peter takes a backseat this issue, but the scenes with him and MJ build on his experiences in “Hunted” while reinforcing her status as a grounding force in his life. As a result of Kraven poisoning him, he has been having dark visions of MJ’s death. While he doesn’t have much to do in this issue, Spencer plays perfectly on his anxieties and sense of responsibility to the people in his life. Getting Peter and MJ back together has been a highlight of this run so far, and with the emotional pull she has on the story, Spencer continues to show why Peter is lucky to have her, and how it would devastate him if he lost her.
The meat of this story is Mysterio, and Spencer captures his voice perfectly. He sits in dread of the mysterious villain, and the issue has a great sense of building tension. One of my favourite things about this run is how much it draws on established Spider-Man lore. This story not only calls back to previous Spider-Man stories, it references Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada’s work on the Daredevil story “Guardian Devil”. Ol’ hornhead appeared in #1 of this run, and I forgot how well Ryan Ottley draws him.
Speaking of Ottley, it’s always a pleasure to have him on art. His pencils are dynamic and emotive, and his design work on the mysterious villain is impeccable. I was skeptical of the choice to show Mysterio’s face through his bowl, but my doubts were unfounded. Ottley does some great expressive work. This is a very sinister, foreboding issue. The inks by Mark Morales and Cliff Rathburn help accentuate that with sharp lines and dramatic shadows. Likewise, the colours from Nathan Fairbairn are vivid and help cement the tonal shift as the story moves into horror territory.
There’s a great sense of character and pacing in this issue. It is primarily table-setting for the next big arc and consequently doesn’t do a lot to further the ongoing storyline. However, it serves as a nice breather between big story-arcs and effectively sets up Mr. Centipede (I’m leaving his actual name as a surprise) as a legitimate threat. Spencer has big plans for this guy, and the conspiracy theories are set alight by some choice comments he makes. Whatever his true identity is, he’s someone who knows Peter well, and the reveal will be a rough one for our hero.
Amazing Spider-Man (2018-) #24
A well-executed set-up for the next big arc of Amazing Spider-Man, #24 cements a terrifying villain and plays on the anxieties of its titular hero. Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley continue to be a dream creative team for this book.