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YMMV / Nick Spencer's Spider-Man

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Boomerang of all people falls into this after his actions in the 7th issue. He's either making an honest attempt to change for the better despite not giving up a few habits and actually wants to make friends with Peter which is supported by him playing cards with LMD's and going out of his way to selflessly protect him a large group of villains at a bar when he could of just left Peter to fend for himself. Or he's trying to win Peter's trust to use him for his hidden plan which is supported by his talk with Kingpin that clearly shows he hasn't changed his ways yet, not to mention the stolen item he took for a museum that is yet to be explained why he stole it.
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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Given the fact that the run for better or worse had to follow up a run that, for all its polarizing elements, defined the 616 Spider-Man's continuity for an entire decade, combined with its author being on very shaky ground after Secret Empire, a lot of people suspected that the run would at best be a mediocre bump in the road, and at worst a complete failure. Many were thus surprised when the run ended up drawing a lot of people who had been alienated during Slott's run in due to its criticism of it and undoing of some of the more infamous decisions, along with a general revitalization and reorginising to the Spider-Man brand.
  • Arc Fatigue: The "Hunted" storyline, although reasonably well-liked for further redeeming Black Cat's characterization and giving focus to the lizard family, is also viewed by many as a fairly simple homage to Kraven's Last Hunt that carries on for far too long.
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  • Ass Pull: No one in the bar with no name including Boomerang not recognizing who Peter was. Not only was he a CEO of a company not too long ago, for a while Spider-Man was his company's mascot and everyone most certainly should've known that instead of thinking he was just some stranger at the bar.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Kraven the Big Bad of the Hunted storyline. Despite his massive built up since the this run started, he's defeated rather quickly by Spider-Man, and ends up giving up after Spider-Man helps him realize the difference between the both of them. He later ends up dying yet again after disguising himself as Spider-Man and getting killed by his son.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • One of the biggest in Spider-Man's recent memory. After one of the most infamous comic book stories ever written and dozens upon dozens of moments of Ship Tease and attempted Ship Sinking, with many attempts at keeping such a thing happening, Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson are officially back together as a couple within the end of the first issue. For bonus points, the dialogue takes extra time to point out why they work so well as a couple, in complete defiance of the past decade of stories.
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    • Though some have a few issues with it, Peter's characterization and new status is overall a definite attempt to get the character back to the core of his values, as many felt that the past decade had tried too hard at reaching a different appeal to the point that Peter no longer felt like the same character, let alone same person, that he had for the entirety of his previous history.
    • Mary Jane gets returned to being much closer to her pre-OMD characterisation as well. Under the pen of Dan Slott and other writers from the past decade, Mary Jane was either diminished, not herself, used as a tool to prop up the new love interests, or written to be unlikable. This run returns her to her characterisation of knowing that life with a superhero as a partner is often difficult and frustrating, but also emphasizing that she is strong enough to handle it, and keeps coming back because she loves Peter above anything else.
    • Black Cat becomes yet another example. The previous decade regressed Felicia to being more overtly amoral like some of her earlier appearances (and that's without including her turn as a crime lord willing to kill) when prior to that she'd become good friends with both Peter and MJ, as well as a significant number of other heroes/heroines. Like MJ above, this run doesn't ignore that but points to her shift in behaviour as a result of the Cosmic Retcon of One More Day. With that event taking away her knowledge of Peter's Secret Identity, Felicia subconsciously knew that she lost something in regards to Peter and that has plagued her ever since, causing her to behave differently to him, especially given how close she knows they were. Peter unmasks himself in front of her at seeing her distress and the two tearfully reconcile as friends.
    • Carlie Cooper makes a return, and in the past two of the biggest complaints about the character were her It's All About Me tendencies, as well as using other characters like Mary Jane to praise her as Peter's love interest. Here, she admits her relationship with Peter falling apart wasn't all his fault and acknowledges her own flaws and shortcomings regarding it, whilst telling Mary Jane how strong-willed she is and giving her blessing towards the two being back together.
    • Peter getting "exposed" as a plagiarist concerning his Doctorate addressed a long-time fan criticism of the Superior Spider-Man run. In that storyline, Doc Ock, while in control of Peter's body, goes back to school to get a PhD and later starts up a new company through his academic success. When Peter eventually got his body back, he never addressed the elephant in the room and just went along with being the CEO of a company he didn't actually put the work in to achieve. The first issue of Spencer's run finally addresses the Elephant in the Room and strips Pete of the PhD, with Pete even internally acknowledging that he had no one to blame but himself for letting the lie drag out for so long.
    • Spidey often relies more on his wits and creative use of his powers like he used to, which seems to address that Slott had been criticized for having Spidey rely too much on brute power to win each fight more than anything else.
    • As an extra 'sorry' for the above-mentioned past mistreatment, the book has also supported the launch of two spin-off titles, Black Cat and The Amazing Mary Jane. Both are following plot-threads set up for them in the main book (Black Cat taking on the Thieve's Guild while Mary Jane is working on a movie she discovers is actually being set up by Mysterio), showing actual support for the two characters to get equal focus and attention.
    • In-general, many side-books tend to be dubiously canon at best during their publication, with the primary Spider-Man book rarely referencing them or developments during. Tom Taylor's Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man book is directly tied-in with Nick Spencer's, with the two regularly referencing each other's developments as soon as they happen, showing things largely concurrently. Aunt May's cancer is referenced in ASM almost right after it was first revealed in FNSM, as was her re-opening the FEAST centre. They even go as far as to reference the previous run's side-book by bringing back Teresa Parker, Peter's separated-at-birth younger sister and former SHIELD agent.
  • Funny Moments:
    • Issue #8 has a powerful guild of thieves stealing items from various heroes. This includes the entire costume collection of the Avengers (which Jarvis calls a "Code Blue Streak"), Tony Stark's entire Iron Man armory, Captain America's shield, Thor's newest hammer (which he bemoans as to why he keeps losing his hammer), Robbie Reyes' car, O5!Cyclops' visor, the Eye of Agamotto and the Punisher's entire armory.
    • Issue 10 has Spidey trying to find a way to signal the heroes to where he and the Black Cat are to get back their gear. He finds an item and snags it. Cut to a gathering of various heroes (and the Punisher) with Tony Stark explaining this super-special science and magical way to track down their gear... only for Kamala to tell them that her cell phone was one of the items stolen and the Marvel equivalent of the "Where's my iPhone?" app just went off. Cue Tony facepalming and Reed Richards looking sheepish.
      • This gets even funnier months later over in Champions (2016) as Sam Alexander, one of the current Novas, is dragged to a Nova Corps base so he can get back his helmet. As it turns out, the helmet was already stolen by the Thieves Guild. And it turns out that, a one-off gag in issue #9 had Spidey wearing the helmet!
      • From the same issue, Spidey quietly cutting into the conversation between Black Cat and the Thieves' Guild because he's bothered by Odessa not pronouncing the hyphen in "Spider-Man".
      Spider-Man: It's just like the tiniest pause in between the words...
    • Issue 11 has Spidey and Jonah arguing over Spidey's supposed friendship with the Kingpin. As they do, you can see Jonah looking behind Spidey as he yells to the world about how much of a creep the Kingpin is and he hates his guts, only to see there's a billboard behind him with the two together with Spidey proclaiming "I (heart) Fisk!".
      Spider-Man: ...that's Photoshop.
    • Even though issue #13 is much more drama-heavy, Spidey still gets in a morbidly-funny line when Frederick Foswell Jr. tries to get Jameson to shoot him.
    • Issue #16 has a montage of Taskmaster and Black Ant capturing more Animal Themed Superbeings, with one panel of Black Ant seizing the Owl in a choke hold while Taskmaster munches on some chips behind him.
    • Issue #23 has Taskmaster and Black Ant talking as Taskmaster is rescuing him after betraying him.
      Black Ant: Tasky! You came back for me! After betraying me!
      Taskmaster: Had to, little buddy! I know you woulda done the same for me!
      Black Ant: Wait—do you mean the betrayal part or the rescue part?
      Taskmaster: Yeah!
    • The story "Team Up" in issue #25 is full of them, mostly courtesy of J. Jonah Jameson. To wit, JJJ "picks the lock" to get into Peter's apartment by crowbarring the door open, drags Peter into a magic-laden adventure on what amounts to a noise complaint, and then there's this exchange:
      Jameson: You're not very good at this team-up thing, are you?
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • There are a few people who are not happy with Peter losing his doctorate and job as science editor because of plagiarism, and having to go back to school again, as people want to see Peter progress in life instead of keeping him a college student forever. Mitigating somewhat is the fact his teacher is Doctor Connors, who's generally a well-liked supporting character, with the twist being that he can control his Lizard transformation now, so there's some potential for something different to be done with it, at least.
    • Inverted though with Mary Jane and him getting back together; the general reaction to this is pretty much "Finally!" Especially since the arc villain seems to be a demon of some sort that makes it apparent the book is going to address One More Day and what that did.
  • Pandering to the Base:
    • The first issue plays with it. A large part of the fandom wants Peter and Mary Jane to be a couple. The comic begins with them having a romantic moment... that turns out to be All Just a Dream. But don't worry, true believers, because they shared a real kiss by the end of the issue!
    • Before The Big Damn Kiss mentioned before, Peter goes on a somewhat lengthy speech where he pretty much sums up a lot of people's issues with Spider-Man's direction since One More Day, even saying that 'nothing's gone right' since he and MJ broke up. It'd almost be a Take That, Scrappy! moment if not directed at a period of time rather than a person.
    • The first issue also saw Pete get stripped of the doctorate that Doc Ock earned during the Superior Spider-Man run, while being offered a second chance to earn the doctorate the "right way" by Curt Connors. This has long since been a sticking point with a lot of fans.
    • Peter's reconciliation with Black Cat. Her turn as the "Queenpin of Crime" was very unpopular, so Peter finally sharing his secret identity with her again and repairing their relationship was a long time coming.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Carlie Cooper, quite possibly the most controversial introduction of the Slott era, who's existence as a Replacement Scrappy for MJ, a Creator's Pet for Slott and Joe Quesada, and suffering major Strangled by the Red String to prop her as Peter's love interest, surprisingly manages this. Thanks to having been out of the picture since the end of Superior Spider-Man, she's able to return with different characterisation, being re-characterised as Mary Jane's somewhat nerdy civilian friend and someone she's able to confide in regarding what its like dating Peter. She also owns up to her flaws as a character and is subject to some Funny Moments when she helps Mary Jane fight Electro.
  • Shocking Swerve: Issue #27 gives us that Randy's secret date is none other than Beetle. Not only was their next to no hints of this. The romance between them comes out of nowhere given the circumstances. It's especially out of character for Randy since he's generally Peter's most responsible roommate.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Peter and MJ's kissing, establishing that, after a decade of Ship Tease and Ship Sinking following the infamous One More Day, they're officially back together.
    • From Hunted, the entire one-shot #18.HU focusing on the Gibbon especially the last scene where he dies in Peter's arms and the narrative captions say, "At least, no one's laughing."
    • As of Issue #25, while Doctor Connors is giving a speech on how the events throughout the Marvel Universe are negatively impacting the future to come, and how continuing ignorance of it could only result in catastrophe, strange phenomenon and storms are occurring over an burning oil rig, which leads to a rift opening up above it and someone falling out of it and crashing onto the rig. The workers on the rig clear off the debris to reveal Miguel O'Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099.
  • Tearjerker:
    • Issue #29 features a familiar scenario: Peter trying to meet up with a love interest but getting sidetracked by his Spider-Man life, but that twists the knife at the end. Mary Jane is flying to the other side of the country for two months to pursue her acting career again, and despite his plans to meet her at the airport he drops everything to help his estranged sister Teresa with a rescue mission that turns out to be All for Nothing. MJ and Peter both admit later that they knew he'd get delayed and miss her, but MJ assures him that he had nothing to worry about. Then she hangs up, and it's revealed Peter was going to propose to her.
      Peter's thoughts: MJ knows. I already know. But we both know. The fact is... there's nothing else I can do. I'll try to do the right thing, and she'll pay the price for it. Rinse, lather, repeat. Nothing else really changes, not for Spider-Man and Mary Jane. [...] I'll dream of the day this goes a different way. I wanted to change the way our story always ends. I even figured out how. I wanted to finally get things right. Set things right. For once... I wanted to surprise you. Maybe some other day.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Peter losing his doctorate and his job as science editor at the Daily Bugle has been criticized as regressing Peter and losing the progress he developed under the tenure of Dan Slott. It's mitigated by the fact that the first issue addresses a major problem with Peter's doctorate, in that he didn't legitimately earn the degree, which was a point of contention amongst many fans, and likewise more than a few predicted this reversal of status-quo and disliked Slott's run for setting up Peter's eventual failure and comedown to start with by giving him unearned success.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: By having Peter lose his doctorate and be fired from his role as the Daily Bugle's science editor, they missed out on actually showing this new role. It was only a recent development towards the end of Slott's run and didn't get much focus (introduced right before Venom Inc, the second-to-last major arc before Slott left), but had a lot of potential they never explored. Besides showing off Peter's growth since being a photographer, it would help to both invoke his science geek nature while still involving his traditional role with the Daily Bugle, combining both career paths into one. Instead, he's back to school... again.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • The entire first issue seems to be a major rebuttal towards Dan Slott's run by stating how stupid it was for Peter to keep everything Otto built in Superior, then proceeding to get him and Mary Jane back together again. The first issue did a lot to garner a lot of positive attention towards the title and Spencer's run. The reunion of Peter and MJ, a fan favorite pair that had been separated for the better part of a decade, set a lot of minds at ease regarding the run. Further developments, such as losing the controversial doctorate and the unpopular position of science editor at the Bugle, and sending Peter back to college where he could earn his degree honestly, feel more true and keeping in line with what Spider-Man is supposed to be.
    • Also seems to be a minor one for Nick Spencer; it was a safe bet that he was possibly the most reviled writer from Marvel thanks to his run on Captain America, which started off by transforming ''Steve Rogers'' of all people into a HYDRA loyalist, which culminated in Secret Empire, an event as controversial as Spidey's own Clone Saga or One More Day, so the announcement he was taking over Spider-Man was somewhat contested. The first few issues though have proven well-received for the aforementioned rebuttal towards Slott's run, being genuinely fun, and for allowing Spencer to handle several characters he's the My Real Daddy of (particularly the Janice Lincoln/Beetle and Fred Myers/Boomerang, the latter of whom is now Peter's roommate). Its generally agreed that Spider-Man is far better suited to his talents than Captain America was.

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