REVIEW: Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man #4

There have been plenty of glorious Spider-Man stories told throughout the decades. Many of them have required a deeper understanding of the mythology and what has happened in the years since a radioactive spider first bit Peter Parker. Fortunately, writer Zeb Wells, artist John Romita Jr., inker Scott Hanna, colorist Marcio Menyz, and letterer Joe Caramagna continue to resist the urge to overcomplicate matters in The Amazing Spider-Man #4.

The issue teases the reader by starting with Black Cat visiting Mary Jane Watson to find out if she has heard from Peter. After a few pages, it finally drops us in the middle of the drama where the last issue left off. Spider-Man appears all but done for as Tombstone's goons prepare to finish him off. However, it's clear that the itsy-bitsy spider will find a way to survive and climb up the waterspout again. Without delving into spoilers, the rest of the issue becomes a race against time, as the Web-Head needs to stop Tombstone's gang from starting a massacre in the city while also protecting Robbie Robertson from the villain.

The series is just getting started, but Wells proves that he is penning one of the most exciting Amazing Spider-Man runs in a long time. He isn't trying to create new characters or reinvent the canon too drastically, but he's playing with the toys that were already in the sandbox. What he does particularly well, though, is to capture the essence of what makes Spidey tick. The stress and anxiety Spidey feels as he races to save everyone is palpable. Yet even though the hero is nervous and worried that he might not make it, he doesn't stop fighting, taking down everyone because he believes there's a chance he can make it. That determination has always been what makes Spider-Man such an endearing character.

Continuing their excellent work from the first three issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, Romita Jr., Hanna and Menyz bring a classic sheen and approach to the series. Since this issue is all about the action, the team relies on each other to make the story click into gear. Fortunately, everyone brings their part and works like a well-oiled machine to present a thrilling action sequence that is as emblematic of the hero's legacy as Wells' writing.

Romita Jr. lays down the blueprint for frenetic action in his trademark style, while Hanna reinforces the plan and Menyz livens up the mood with the right color palette. As a letterer, Caramagna has the dream job of making all these action scenes come to life with various energetic sound effects. Every punch, crack, slam, and thwip hits home, as Spider-Man fights his way through the story.

The Amazing Spider-Man #4 strengthens the case for this story being one of the best ongoing Marvel series of the year. There's a natural excitement as fans eagerly anticipate the next step in this spectacular adventure. The entire creative team has crafted an instant classic. Believe the hype about this book.