Spectacular Spider-Man #20 Review

Reviewer: Paul Sebert
Story Title: “Changes” – Part 4

Written by: Paul Jenkins
Penciled by: Humberto Ramos
Inked by: Juan Viasco
Colored by: Studio F.
Lettered by: Virtual Calligraphy
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Dear Lord what happened to this book?”¦

Paul Jenkins run has had it’s highs and lows but”¦ cripes in the span of two arcs Spectacular Spider-Man has gone from being my favorite Spider-Man book to reading like a rather uneven, unnecessary spin-off.

To be fair, this title’s unevenness can be attributed to Humberto Ramos’s absence earlier this year but well”¦ after a slow start and an intriguing buildup featuring a tortured Peter Parker struggling a losing battle against a change that threatens to take away his humanity, it alas feels like Paul Jenkins took the month off for this issue.

Which is a pity because watching Peter Parke’s transformation into a giant Man-Spider in the past two issues was truly turning this arc around after it’s Marvel Team-Up-esque start. Call me crazy, but honestly no one”¦ No one draws a tortured Peter Parker better than Ramos.

Anyway, in this issue, in addition to Captain America, we also get Iron Man and the X-Men making blink-and-you-missed-it cameos as the serum The Queen used to transform Spider-Man has some really nasty side-effects. To make the long story short things are resolved when we see Spider-Man crawling out of the ass of a giant spider. (Never thought I’d have to use that sentence.) Peter defuses the Queen’s bomb, The Queen dies, and, oh, Peter gets a pair of movie-style organic web-shooters to play with for awhile. Everything feels rushed, Peter & Cap’s reaction to the villainess’s death fails to ring true, and everything is wrapped up all too neatly. In short, about the only good things going for this issue are Ramos’s always off-kilter art, and Pete’s reaction to his new power is kind of fun.

Oh, and I guess it’s almost worth picking up just so you can see the surreal, sanity destroying sight of Peter Parker crawling out of a giant Spide’s ass. Almost!