reflection

A thrilling main story, with three action-packed and fun-filled short tales following.
Writing/Story
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Lettering

Review: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #850 – A Spectacular Super-Sized Experience

The Amazing Spider-Man #850, out now from Marvel Comics, is a super-sized anniversary issue comprised of four fantastic stories of everyone’s favorite wall-crawler.

The Amazing Spider-Man #850 Main Story

The main story that comprises most of the issue is a continuation of the current The Amazing Spider-Man run and follows Peter as he helps prevent the Green Goblin from being “cleansed” by the Sin-Eater. Many of Spider-Man’s friends, going by the new name “The Order of the Web,” want Peter to let the Sin-Eater cleanse the Green Goblin, and are out to stop him. Nick Spencer successfully, as always, makes the story riveting on nearly every page, and builds up to an exceptional cliffhanger that leaves fans desperate for the following issue. Another aspect of The Amazing Spiderman #850’s story that Spencer handles remarkably well is the writing of Norman Osborn. The Green Goblin is given several moments to highlight the infamous villain’s maniacal soul, and Spencer does an amazing job of chilling the reader through dialogue.

The Amazing Spider-Man #850 Sin-Eater Transformation

The art of The Amazing Spider-Man #850’s main story was penciled by Ryan Ottley, Humberto Ramos, and Mark Bagley, and was inked by Cliff Rathburn, Victor Olazaba, and John Dell. The artists each worked on one of the three chapters of the story, each having a distinct style. While each chapter featured a different penciler and inker, there were many common links between the three chapters. For one, the action scenes were immaculate throughout the entire issue. There was also always an excellent choice of framing and even some unique framing choices that stood out.

The Amazing Spider-Man #850 features the talent of the colorists Nathan Fairbairn, Edgar Delgado, and David Curiel. Each worked on separate chapters of the main story, and each did a wondrous job at helping the story be visually stunning. Chapter 1 was full of vibrant colors that worked well with the stylized line art, and similar coloring of this returned in Chapter 3. Chapter 2 featured some coloring that seemed slightly bland, but this choice reflected the story’s tone well.

“All You Need”

“All You Need” is a fantastic short tale by Kurt Busiek that encapsulates what Spider-Man is all about very well. Going back to earlier times, Busiek tells Peter’s story while he is a junior in college. The story has every component that makes an enjoyable Spider-Man story: an interesting villain, lots of snappy dialogue, and maybe even a little romance. The story is full of fun and is a wonderful short read.

"All You Need" Story Beginning

The pencils of Chris Bachalo and inks of Tim Townsend provide for some stunning art in “All You Need.” I believe the most notable aspect of their fine work is the expressiveness of character’s faces, and the monsters — despite being slightly silly in concept — were portrayed to be tremendously menacing.

Bachalo was also the colorist for The Amazing Spider-Man #850‘s story “All you Need,” and utilized a light green background to compliment the massive amounts of red in the story. The tale also features a brief flashback to prior events, given no color besides certain objects to highlight their importance. This tactic does a great job of clarifying the scene shown was a flashback, but the choice of going nearly without color for a substantial portion of the entire story was odd.

“Four Shoes”

“Four Shoes is a story unlike most, and will easily leave you deeply curious and confused multiple times. The story of Tradd Moore features Spider-Man falling into a fantasy world, and even with the small number of pages, the story can twist in ways you won’t expect many times.

The Amazing Spider-Man #850 "Four Shoes" Opening

The art of Tradd Moore does an amazing job of complementing the story he put forth and is exceptionally unique. Moore is absolutely not afraid to break the status quo, which is blatantly clear once you see some of his framing choices later in the tale. Moore’s art is truly one-of-a-kind, and reading “Four Shoes” is a pleasant change from the styles Spider-Man is typically drawn in.

Tamra Bonvillain does a tremendous job of coloring the work of Tradd Moore. His bright colors go so well with the strange art style and help establish the fantasy world that Spider-Man enters into. Every page is so densely packed with a wide variety of colors that a first glance at each leaves you with a lingering feeling of awe.

“A Family Affair”

“A Family Affair” is a delightful short tale of Spider-Man encountering one of his oldest foes’ granddaughter. The dialogue of Spider-Man features some of my favorite quips in The Amazing Spider-Man #850, and Saladin Ahmed explores the theme of not always trusting those closest to you in a heartfelt way.

The art of Aaron Kuder is some beautiful semi-realism, and the fight sequence that comprises most of the story is a sight to behold, full of action lines to give the illusion of speed and forms that always seem they are in the midst of the action.

The Amazing Spider-Man #850 "A Family Affair" Witty Dialogue

The colors of “A Family Affair” do an extraordinary job of immersing the audience in the story’s scene. However, there is little variety in the color palette due to the story taking place mostly in one small spot in New York City. The limits of the background hamper the story’s potential, which I believe could have been improved immensely if there was a wider spread of images for the background.

The Amazing Spider-Man Lettering

Each of the stories in The Amazing Spider-Man #850 utilized the talent of VC’s Joe Caramagna for their lettering, and his skill shown throughout the issue very clearly. It did not matter whether the tone of a scene had changed or if the art style was entirely different, Caramagna was able to adapt and bring solid lettering throughout the issue. For example, in “Four Shoes,” Caramagna provided captions similar to those from fantasy comic books set in the Middle Ages. It paired wonderfully with the fantasy world the story was set in.

Conclusion

There is so much to say when discussing The Amazing Spider-Man #850. I could fill page after page of what I thought of each of these stories, and what strategies the writers, artists, colorists, and letterers used to tell such an astonishing story. Every page is an absolute pleasure to look at, and the super-sized issue is filled with so much content, it is sure to leave you satisfied with the book you purchased.

David Weber
David Weber
David Weber is a student at University of Rhode Island. He enjoys spending his time absorbing nearly every form of art, including comics, books, movies, and plays. He can be reached at [email protected]

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A thrilling main story, with three action-packed and fun-filled short tales following.Review: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #850 - A Spectacular Super-Sized Experience