Review: Amazing Spider-Man # 3: A Ruse. A Ploy!
Somewhere along the way, Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott decided that he wanted to make Black Cat into a villainess again. So he had the Superior Spider-Man beat her up and essentially destroy the life she had built to make Black Cat turn against Spider-Man.
I don’t have a problem with Black Cat going bad again because this is comics. The status quo will always revert back to normal. What I take issue with is the one dimensional way that Slott is characterizing Black Cat. Felicia Hardy comes off as an angry imitation of Catwoman who doesn’t have the same personality that she used to have.
For that reason alone, I’m not convinced that Slott’s take on Black Cat in Amazing Spider-Man # 3 is a worthwhile direction for her. I have to give Slott credit for the very funny way that Spider-Man gets Black Cat to temporarily leave him alone. But one of the more lighthearted Spider-Man characters feels greatly diminished in her current incarnation. Even Electro barely seems like a shell of himself as Slott forces a new status quo on Max Dillon that brings him more in line with the movie version.
Alternately, Spider-Man/Peter Parker and his supporting cast are the most interesting aspects of this book. I loved Peter’s attempts to make his new employees view him as a “fun boss,” but his efforts only lead them to believe that he’s crazy or bipolar. Anna Maria is also a lot of fun as Peter’s silent partner in his Spider-Man activities and the only hope of making the late Doctor Octopus’ final project work.
Like Black Cat, Peter’s ex-girlfriend, Mary Jane also gets the short end here. While Peter is teaming up with MJ’s new firefighter boyfriend, Ollie; MJ is once again on the sidelines as the worried girlfriend. Slott has previously done some great things with MJ, particularly during Spider-Island and parts of Goblin Nation. But it seems like he’s not really interested in doing anything meaningful with MJ at the moment; which makes her presence unnecessary and jarring.
In the slowly building set-up to Spider-Verse, we learn a little bit more about Silk, including her real name, some details about her family and her connection to a character from J. Michael Straczynski’s Amazing Spider-Man run. I think I know why Silk has been in voluntary exile now. If she leaves, she’ll probably set off the events of Spider-Verse.
Humberto Ramos has a pretty solid issue on the art side, although his weird proportions still pop up throughout the issue. The only time that Ramos really blew it with the art is a hideous page in which J. Jonah Jameson gets a new direction. That page was just ugly to look at and I don’t like this direction for Jameson at all. He was so perfect as the Mayor of New York that it feels like a mistake to once again turn him into a media presence. That’s not a step forward, it’s a step back.
I really want to like Amazing Spider-Man # 3 more than I do, but I think that Slott hasn’t quite found his post-Superior Spider-Man rhythm yet.