The Art of the Tie-in: Amazing Spider-Man 29

by Drew Baumgartner

Amazing Spider-Man 29

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

It’s easy to vilify crossover events for disrupting your favorite series, but that’s kind of the point, right? An event that boasts “everything changes here” should be disruptive to the universe around it — that’s just making good on that claim. The feeling that the story we were reading has been put on the back burner is definitely frustrating, but it’s exactly what would happen in the event of a Earth-shaking change in the status quo. But there are ways to soften the whiplash effect of event tie-in issues, and Amazing Spider-Man 29 features just about all of them. Actually, it might be to precise to pin it on this one issue — while this is the first to explicitly acknowledge the events of Secret Empire, so much of what happens here spins out of threads writer Dan Slott has been spinning for years. In many ways, it feels less like the event forced a change to the series and more like the changes that were coming all along were given a fresh twist by tying them to Secret Empire.

This issue does cover a lot of the early beats of Secret Empire — the battle with the chitauri swarm in space, the loss of Manhattan to the Darkforce dimension, and the battle for Washington D.C., just to name a few — but the meat of the connection is all thematic. Doc Ock, who famously infiltrated a trusted American institution, is now plotting a hostile takeover of that institution’s resources. It’s Secret Empire on a smaller, spider-centric scale, but those parallels add resonance to the tie-in, and go a long way towards explaining why Otto would shack up with Hydra.

But the most important element for the success of this issue might be how the theme doesn’t change to accommodate Secret Empire. For all of the plot points that this issue covers, it opens with Peter once again struggling to balance his power and responsibilities.

Anna Maria and Peter Parker

Peter Parker’s social status might have changed, the government of the US might have changed, heck, Captain America’s relationship to Hydra might have changed, but Spider-Man will always be preoccupied with the great responsibility his powers give him. No amount of “it all changes here” will ever change that.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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3 comments on “The Art of the Tie-in: Amazing Spider-Man 29

  1. It’s not every comic that has been around for 50+ years that can so seamlessly enter a major character like Anna Maria and have it feel so organic and (now) necessary. Dan Slott has changed Spider-Man comics forever (he may be the second most influential Spidey writer after Stan Lee) (note: I’m saying *may*, not definitely, but it could easily be argued) and while he’s introduced a ton of characters, I know that to me, Anna Maria feels the most entrenched.

    She’s definitely a grounding element to the fantastic parts of Peter’s story.

    • Totally. Peter’s understanding of what his responsibilities are still hasn’t quite caught up to the reality of his new life, but fortunately, Anna Maria is there to give him some much-needed perspective. She’s a truly important character to this series right now. What’s more, she’s not just filling the shoes of some older character; I loved the moment in this where she refuses to call Peter “tiger” — she’s not there to be his cheerleader (or his MJ).

    • I think it would be hard to dethrone Bendis as the second most influential Spiderman writer – the influence Bendis and Bagley’s work on Ultimate Spiderman is honestly amazing, between the effect on the comics, on TV and on, according to early reviews, the films. But Slott certainly comes close.

      His understanding of the fundamentals of Spiderman is second to none, which is why I hate that I don’t like his execution so much. He truly seems to get ‘With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility’, leading him to making things like Superior Spiderman. Hell, is there a better thing to do with Peter than the current Parker Industries stuff? Give Peter Parker true, real world power. The sort of power able to truly make a difference, for better or for worse, and then see how he manages to follow ‘With Great Powrr…’? (It is a shame that they seem to be getting rid of Parker Industries soon, as I think it is the perfect long term status quo)

      From what I’ve seen of Anna Maria, she works so well BECAUSE she, like so much of Slott’s best stuff, is so wondefully rooted in that key theme of Spiderman. She’s there to call him out, to challenge him. To keep Peter constantly thinking about how he is using his power and ensure every moment of Spiderman is asking the most important question. Am I using what I have in the most responsible manner?

      Hope she sticks around, as I’d love to read her in a Spiderman run done by a writer whose execution I prefer over Slott

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