In Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spider-Man #32, on sale October 23, the future is now. Spencer doesn’t give Spidey any time after Absolute Carnage; there’s a new crisis and it threatens tomorrow’s world today. Spencer establishes these dire stakes and leaves us wondering what’s menacing Miguel O’Hara’s home.
Amazing Spider-Man #32
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
As established in Amazing Spider-Man #25, Miguel is back in the present because he needs help. Spencer leaves many the specifics of his situation unanswered; it’s unclear how Miguel wound up in an sinister science facility but the mystery is intentional. But Spencer drops enough hints that draw the reader in without leaving us totally in the dark. The art team complements this narrative secrecy.
Artist Patrick Wilson and colorist Matthew Gleason consistently shroud scenes with shadows. Early on, a group of ominous-looking bad guys stand in a dimly lit room while they discuss their plans for Miguel. “Think of the discoveries, the breakthroughs…think of the patents,” one of them says with an evil smile on his face. The image of these men secretly scheming in a dark room pairs with Spencer’s script to heighten the tension-packed story.
Similarly, the art team augments Kindred’s brief inclusion in the issue. Spidey’s newest villain received some narrative attention in the Absolute Carnage; though he may take a backseat in this story, Spencer and the artists want to make sure the reader remembers Kindred. When Peter Parker first appears, he recaps the challenges he’s faced in recent weeks, including Carnage and the feeling that an unknown danger looms near. Here, the art team shows Kindred surrounded by darkness. As with the group who abducted Miguel, the art team conveys his intimidating nature. In both cases, we’ll just have to wait and see how Spencer develops both respective antagonists. But Spencer swings for the fences with Miguel’s return and kicks the storyline into high gear with a gripping cliffhanger.
“What has yesterday done to tomorrow?” Miguel asks on the last page. With just one line, Spencer subtly echoes real-world questions about the environment and other issues. As with the villains, Spencer plants some seeds; he shows glimpses of a futuristic city’s destruction (with Doctor Doom standing under it), and Miguel bluntly says, “something is very wrong.” Some readers might be turned off this vague storytelling. But Amazing Spider-Man #32 is the first chapter of another mini-event, so Spencer has plenty of time to show his cards and the issue’s strengths make us want to dive deeper into this dangerous problem heading right for Spider-Man.
It may have been nice to have at least one issue where Spidey’s life relatively returned to normal. Packing too many events together can be overwhelming but constantly dealing with disaster is part of the superhero’s lifestyle. So it’s fitting that Peter must head right into another crisis. Amazing Spider-Man #32 doesn’t tell us much about what that threat is but with its compelling real-life connections and more time-travel chaos to follow, it’s a successful start to Spidey’s next adventure.
What’d you think of Amazing Spider-Man #32? Are you glad Spider-Man 2099 is back?