by Drew Baumgartner
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.
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?