Amazing Spider-Man: Armed and Dangerous

Writer / Artist
Amazing Spider-Man: Armed and Dangerous
Amazing Spider-Man Armed and Dangerous review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 978-1-302-94739-2
  • Volume No.: 7
  • Release date: 2023
  • UPC: 9781302947392
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Any Spider-Man collection with ‘arm’ or derivations in the title stands a fair chance of Doctor Octopus putting in an appearance, and the cover confirms it. Following on from the short in Dead Language Part Two the Doc is back, but aware he’s been back dozens of times before, Zeb Wells is clever about the return. It was set up in New Sinister when Doc’s arms were seen acting independently of him and actually helping Spider-Man. Needless to say, Doc’s not happy.

Ed McGuinness draws a great Doctor Octopus, despite a tubby, middle-aged guy being well away from his usual action preferences. He gives him some great expressions, while Wells provides the ineffably smug dialogue reinforcing the arrogance always contributing to Doc’s downfall. Amid that, there are some great scenes for J. Jonah Jameson, his character well defined by McGuinness.

Norman Osborn plays a large part here, but his modified personality has become annoying. Fair enough, the change originally made for a viable supporting character needed to stabilise Peter Parker’s life, but he’s become too whiny and self-reflective. At this point the inevitable return to malevolence and the Green Goblin would be welcome. For a while it seems as if that might happen during Armed and Dangerous, which toys with personalities, but that’s a false hope.

Four chapters is extending things a little too far, but Wells isn’t short of ideas to ensure Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus isn’t just repeating past battles, so the entertainment level is high.

The final chapter returns to a plot that seemed to have been forgotten. Randy Robertson is intending to marry Tombstone’s daughter Janice. In the real world most weddings go without a hitch, the few problems something that can be laughed off, but this is the Marvel universe, so it’s not one of those. Wells provides indications about that at the start, with Tombstone coercing his crooked lackeys to attend. Emilio Laiso draws the contrasting energies of the stag do and hen party, leaving John Romita Jr to handle the wedding itself. Trouble might be predictable, but the form of it is novel.

The primary content is followed by a selection of short stories, which encompass a variety of styles and are all readable, most featuring either set-ups for what’s to come, catching up on the supporting cast or in Spider-Woman and Spider Boy’s case plugging a new series. All the art is good, but Alba Glez on Celeste Bronfman’s Mary Jane story is too flowery, distracting from the emotional impact. On the face of it MJ as an ongoing superhero doesn’t seem a great idea as she’s always been Spider-Man’s anchor to the real world, but that will depend on future treatment. Wells handles Spider-Man’s conversation with the now revived Ms. Marvel, which serves the dual purposes of catching up and explaining what seemed slightly clumsy writing on the character earlier in the series. He’s also the writer on the final teaser leading into Spider-Man’s First Hunt.