The Thieves Guild of the Marvel Universe is at large in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9, folks. They’ve stolen from every big-time superhero who’s worth a damn. Really, it’s likely they’ve stolen from anyone who’s worth a damn at this point. Who’s the only one who can stop them? Spider-Man, of course! Because one of his best friends is one of the greatest thieves in the world.

Writer Nick Spencer continues his wholly unique run on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Equal parts sentimental and witty, Spencer has taken Peter Parker back to his roots as a street-level superhero in the best of ways. Spencer can have some real fun with the storytelling here.

Joining Spencer once again is artist Humberto Ramos. But, for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9, Ramos isn’t alone. Though Ramos handles all the Spidey business, Mary Jane’s got a story of her own. The pages featuring MJ are drawn by guest artist Michele Bandini, who I’m now considering should definitely be a series regular.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 Finally Brings Back Black Cat

It’s been a while since Black Cat showed up in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN in a meaningful way. Sure, she appeared in “Venom Inc.,” but that didn’t really do her justice. Now, at long last, Black Cat is back!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 opens where AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8 concluded. Black Cat meets up with Spider-Man, though not in a particularly pleasant fashion. Though it seems Felicia is back to being a baddie, that’s not the case. As part of the whole “Spider-Man and Peter Parker being separate people” shenanigans, the Spider-Man half apparently tried to hit it off with Black Cat. She was kind of pissed about that, hence the face scratching.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 page 14. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Once that’s all sorted out, Spidey and Black Cat decide to team up to take back what the Thieves Guild stole. Cat fills Pete in on some Thieves Guild lore, and eventually, the two find the Guild’s hideout. Before they can get away with the stolen goods, though, the two are found out by the Guild (no surprise there).

In the meantime, Mary Jane is greeted by a familiar face from the Dan Slott era of Spider-Man: Carlie Cooper. I know she wasn’t a fan favorite, but I never had any real problems with her character. Frankly, I’m more concerned with the context of her return (I’ll explain that more later). But, yeah, Carlie Cooper is back now. Here’s hoping Nick Spencer can work his magic and make her a stronger character than she was before.

This is Mostly MJ’s Story (Which is Good)

While the focus of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 should probably be on Spidey and Cat tracking the Guild, I can’t help but feel like the focus actually belongs to MJ’s story. I’m not really in a mood to do a page count between the two stories, but I’m pretty sure we get more of MJ in this issue than we do of Pete.

I’m totally okay with that. One of my favorite things of J. Michael Straczynski’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN run was that he told such great stories about MJ. We haven’t gotten any good MJ stories in a long time. I’m glad to see Nick Spencer is getting us back to that.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 page 9. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

However, I mentioned some concern before regarding Carlie Cooper’s return. Carlie introduces MJ to a group called the Lookups. It’s basically an anonymous group where people who know superheroes and need to get shit off their chest about them go to talk. It’s full of security measures so no identities slip out and stuff like that.

On the surface, yeah, MJ probably needs something like this. But, nowadays, comic story threads usually all lead to something big that ties back to the main hero in some convoluted way. It used to be you could write a separate thread that was completely removed from the hero, and it would stay that way. Straczynski’s MJ stories focused on MJ, no strings attached. I can’t help but worry that this new thread that Spencer introduced might pull a fast one; like, it turns out this anon group is a ploy to get at Spidey or something. I really just want it to be a good MJ story, where we see her character grow. Please, Nick Spencer, don’t fuck this up.

A Dynamic Artistic Duo

Joining Humberto Ramos for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 is Michele Bandini. Between the two of these artists, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 looks downright awesome. Ramos’ artwork is perfect for the fun-filled pages featuring Spidey and Black Cat, while Bandini’s pages are very subtle and calm, which fit the tone of the MJ story.

I haven’t much more to say regarding Ramos’ style than I’ve already said. His work in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 is solid, and definitely up to par with his usual work. In fact, he doesn’t get much to do here, and he still delivers some excellent pages.

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AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 page 24. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Bandini’s pages, however, are something to take note of. Seriously, I want Bandini to be a series regular. I can easily see myself enjoying his artwork through a full 21-page issue of Spidey.

Bandini’s style reminds me a lot of Stuart Immonen’s work on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Except, Bandini’s pages are actually a bit cleaner. That’s not to say Immonen’s pages are bad. Quite the opposite, in fact. I love Immonen’s style. Bandini’s pages feature cleaner line work, though, and I love the way he draws MJ.

I’d really like to see Bandini get his hands on pages featuring some action. Given Bandini’s previous works, I’m sure he can handle the high-flying antics of Spider-Man. If we could get the artist rotation of Ryan Ottley, Humberto Ramos, and Michele Bandini, I’d be a very happy man. Each of these artists has a unique style that is perfect for Spider-Man.

Make it happen, Marvel!

Up Shit Creek Without A Paddle (Because It Was Stolen… Get it?!)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 concludes on a dire note. Spider-Man and Black Cat are cornered by the Thieves Guild, disastrously outnumbered and seemingly with no real chance for escape. I mean, I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to overcome the odds, but still, they don’t look good at all. Especially since Felicia is still her usual greedy self. She’s got some issues to work out.

In any case, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 is another pleasant addition to Nick Spencer’s Spidey story. Though the Spider-Man antics of this issue aren’t really anything spectacular, there’s some solid storytelling going on here. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 tells a slower story in favor of stronger character moments that point to bigger things down the line, which I appreciate.

Not only that, but it features artwork from two very talented artists. Both Humberto Ramos and Michele Bandini deliver appropriate pages for the story being told. Nothing flashy required, just some simple pages to help tell the story. Of course, that doesn’t mean simple pages can’t be good.

Here’s hoping AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #10 kicks things into high gear. I’m itching for a Spidey and Black Cat vs. the Thieves Guild brawl!

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 by Nick Spencer, Humberto Ramos, and Michele Bandini
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 keeps things interesting by reuniting Spider-Man and Black Cat, and also picking up a new story thread for MJ. Here's hoping all of these stories play out in meaningful ways.
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One Comment

  1. […] artistic duo of Humberto Ramos and Michele Bandini are back for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #10. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 looked great thanks to their combined efforts, and the same can be said for this issue. Though […]

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