Written by Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Jacob Chabot, James Asmus, Hannah Blumenreich, Cale Atkinson
Art by Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger, Marte Gracia, Joe Caramagna, Todd Nauck, Rachelle Rosenberg, Travis Lanham, Ray-Anthony Height, Walden Wong, Jim Campbell, Cory Petit, Tana Ford, Andres Mossa, Hannah Blumenreich, Jordan Gibson, Jordie Bellaire, Clayton Cowles, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Jason Keith
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 15, 2017

Ten bucks is an awful lot of cash to dump on one comic. By comparison, I could make two decent (quantity, if not quality) meals out of that same amount of money at an international burger chain. And still have change. But ten bucks in exchange for Amazing Spider-Man #25? Well, in that case, you would get stories from such notable comic book creators as: Dan Slott, Stuart Immonen, Christos Gage, Todd Nauck, Jacob Chabot, Ray-Anthony Height, James Asmus, Tana Ford, Hannah Blumenreich, Cale Atkinson, and Giuseppe Camuncoli among others.

Amazing Spider-Man #25 has a handful of stories, ranging from Spider-Man adopting a stray to Otto Octavius taking the next step in his superior career. The two tales that bookend the comic, however, are the ones that will clearly have more significant impact: the aforementioned next step from Octavius will have direct repercussions in the Secret Empire series (and/or spinoffs) while the lead story opens “The Osborn Identity” as Peter Parker embarks on a quest to find Norman Osborn. Again. For the bajillionth time.

There are no Goblins proper in the lead tale, but the forty pages of story do introduce Stuart Immonen as the new regular penciler of Amazing Spider-Man. That announcement and the artwork in the first forty pages (did I mention that we get forty pages of Immonen artwork inked by Wade von Grawbadger and colored by Marte Gracia?) are worth a sizeable portion of the ten-dollar price tag.

Slott and Immonen give readers an espionage-laced, superheroic action thriller that opens in Delvadia as Spider-Man, Mockingbird, Tarantula (a new one, apparently on the side of angels), and Devil Spider are on the tail of El Facoquero (“The Warthog”). Convinced El Facoquero is a cover for Norman Osborn, Spider-Man shifts to more serious and obsessed, which is noteworthy, given his extensive history with Osborn. The entourage does slow the tale down a bit, as Slott has to give Spidey an out to lose his crew and continue on, but it gives Immonen a vast array of situations and characters to dazzle readers with.

Employing significant crosshatching as a primary shading and contouring choice, Immonen really shines. His choice makes the art both more gestural and more detailed, with layers of shading for Gracia to color into. A lot of the fighting takes place underground and in darkened spaces, which immediately tones down the color range, but Gracia finds ways to add stunning brilliance to the adventure, through the cool, inviting blue of a swimming pool, the heat of an explosion, and the glow of the lenses on Spider-Man’s mask. Letterer Joe Caramagna adds the visual frosting to the tale with varied caption boxes that identify Mockingbird and Spidey before we even see them, classic-looking sound effects, like THWAK and BRRAT and shaded balloons for this issue’s mystery guest. The lead story in Amazing Spider-Man #25 is simply gorgeous. The tale itself isn’t brimming with hope, but it is quite clear Slott is enthused to be working with Immonen. I hope the arc continues to be worthy of Immonen’s talent.

The other tale in the book that really stood out to me is Hannah Blumenreich’s “Mutts Ado About Nothing” wherein Spider-Man meets a dog named Sandwich. Clean, sharp, and classic in its structure, this story is entirely comprised of rectangular panels, with gutters and clear storytelling that relies on character position as much as action. Blumenreich’s Peter Parker is reminiscent of Tom Holland without being overt, and her character acting is wonderful. Worth noting, Amazing Spider-Man #25 also includes another tale about animals and their well-being.

Overall, Amazing Spider-Man #25 is a nice package, but it falls short of the Alexander Hamilton required to purchase it. This feels much more like an annual used to than an issue of a regular series. If it were mine to price, I’d’ve probably paid $6. Maybe $7 for an extra-sized issue that follows way too closely to a recently completed event. It definitely served the purpose of getting my attention for Immonen’s arrival on the title. I’ll at least be looking at the series so long as he’s around.

The Verdict: 8.0/10


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