Peter Parker has a long list of wacky adventures. His latest escapades in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 are very similar to many of those adventures of old. Writer Nick Spencer and artist Ryan Ottley present us with a more than unusual story in this issue, one that leaves an odd feeling in my gut. It’s not bad, it’s just weird.

Spidey’s had an unhealthy number of clone-related instances, or moments when his powers were lost or went on the fritz. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 plays into those ideas, but twists them around and almost combines them in a very unique way that only a comic book like AMAZING SPIDER-MAN could get away with.

Nick Spencer is telling a very odd tale, one that leaves me feeling palpably perplexed. I can’t tell whether or not it’s good or bad. The writing is good, and it’s still very fun, but overall, something about where this arc is going befuddles me.

What doesn’t leave me dazed and confused is Ryan Ottley’s art, which continues to astound. I’ve done nothing but praise his art these past couple issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, and it doesn’t look like I should stop anytime soon.

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What Is Going On In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3?

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 picks up with another snippet of Peter’s life. For a guy who’s been mostly down on his luck lately, Pete’s not really doing as poorly as he might have you believe. Being with MJ again has really lifted his spirits. It’s great to see the character in such a positive light for a change.

Nick Spencer actually reintroduces the character Norah Winters, who I’m pretty sure was last seen way back during SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN. She and Randy Robertson, if you recall, used to be an item. But, that ended, I assume, back when Norah left the scene. So, as you can imagine, things are fairly awkward between those two. But, nevertheless, Pete, MJ, Randy, and Norah all manage to enjoy a day of bowling together.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 page 6. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

That is, until we hear about an attack on the city by the Tri-Sentinel (which is apparently a thing). Normally, this would be Pete’s cue to suit up. But, not this time around. Apparently, when Pete was trying to distract Taskmaster and Black Ant in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2, he got zapped by the isotope genome accelerator (the machine that made him Spider-Man).

Somehow, the device zapped Pete and split him in two. So, now, there’s Peter Parker, and there’s Spider-Man. They’re separate people. No, I’m not kidding. Peter literally can’t worry about being Spider-Man, because he isn’t Spider-Man.

But, as it turns out, Pete’s lost more than his spider powers. He’s lost his brain power, too. Of course, this all doesn’t sit well with him. Not to mention, the Spider-Man half lost his sense of responsibility. So, now there’s that problem for Peter to deal with.

Do you see now why this arc kind of hurts my head?

It’s Not Bad, It’s Just Weird

Seriously, I don’t know how to feel about AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3. It’s very creative and daring, but the idea leaves me absolutely dumbfounded. Like, in most instances, I would say this is a good thing for Pete. He can finally move on with his life, do the things he wants to, and be his own person. But, much like Peter realizes, this feels wrong.

The circumstances are very odd. It was such a chance occurrence, and it doesn’t at all feel deserved. I’m glad Peter at least understands all this and isn’t completely okay with it. That’s one of the things he retained in the split: his sense of responsibility.

But, judging from the final page of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3, the Spider-Man half has completely lost his moral compass. I’ll leave it at that and let you all think about what that might entail.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 page 10. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Bottom line, Spencer’s first arc with Spidey has turned very weird very quickly. Like I’ve been saying, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. It’s definitely fun and adventurous, to say the least. It’s got a certain flair to it that I can’t help but be attracted to. But, at the same time, it’s so out there and spontaneous that it’s, at times, kind of off-putting.

I’d say, at this point, I’m more enjoying the arc than I’m not. All the weirdness doesn’t detract from the genuine creativity and fun this scenario presents. I’m just hoping Spencer doesn’t derail the whole thing by completely throwing away Pete’s moral compass, or finding some overly cliché method for him and his spider half to remerge.

Ottley and Co. Are On a Roll

Since day one of Ryan Ottley’s stint as the main Spider-Man artist, I’ve given him nothing but my utmost approval. That’s because he’s earned it. He’s just doing that damn good of a job. Ottley’s success can absolutely be shared with inker Cliff Rathburn and colorist Laura Martin. This is a Grade A team, and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 further proves this point.

The team really gets to show off a great diversity in their style in this issue. This comes from the circumstances of the storytelling. As Peter is meeting with Dr. Connors to discuss the matter of the isotope accelerator, we also get glimpses of Spider-Man fighting the Tri-Sentinel. Thus, we simultaneously have more calm, story-driven moments playing out, alongside a hectic, explosive action sequence.

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AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 page 18. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

And, because I can’t say it enough, Ottley makes Spider-Man look super cool! The sharpness of the character design is perfect. There’s a great verticality to the way Ottley draws the character. He’s always moving in a contorted, yet heroic fashion. I love it!

So, mark off another victory for the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 artistic team.

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How Will Peter Get Out of This Mess?

I’m holding out for Pete, I really am. The final revelation of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 is actually very disconcerting. A Spider-Man that doesn’t follow the age-old motto of “great power, great responsibility” is a recipe for absolute disaster.

Frankly, I think the end of this arc is fairly foreseeable. Feel free to argue with me, but it seems obvious that Peter will become whole again at the end of this whole debacle. It just feels like the natural progression of an arc like this. That’s what I’m hoping for, at least. I don’t think Peter Parker nor Spider-Man could last very long as they are. Hopefully, Nick Spencer finds a neat way to clean this whole thing up. As well, I hope to see more fantastic art from the team of Ottley, Rathburn, and Martin in future issues.

So, I’d say AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 is, overall, a good issue. But, don’t be surprised when your brain hurts a little by the end of it. It’s not entirely pleasant, but it sure as hell is fun to read. I’ll leave you all to your own opinions.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 by Nick Spencer, Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, and Laura Martin
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 is... weird, to say the least. It's definitely a good issue. It moves the story forward in a very creative way. I just hope this doesn't all come tumbling down on top of Spencer.
88 %
An Odd Adventure

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