The Amazing Spider-Man Annual (#2, 2021) – Karla Pacheco, Jed MacKay

3 out of 5

This is a good riff on the Infinite Destinies formula – an Infinity Stone has caused someone to have powers beyond their control, being Star (Ripley Ryan) with reality-warping abilities in this case – and hits some really solid jokes that swerve nicely between Ryan’s ADD snark, Peter Parker’s quips, and artist Eleonora Carlini’s ability to land those jokes with elastic art and timing. At the same time, the issue is very humor based, rapid fire, and it’s almost too fast – there’s a sense of a struggle in communication, both in scripting, to maintain a smooth story rhythm while also maintaining the ratio of yuks, and Carlini’s work, keeping in sync with that pacing; as we get deeper into the book, it almost feels like we’re a couple steps behind, with the jokes moving one beat ahead of the plot, and the plot one beat ahead of its accompanying visuals.

I found the visualized effect of Star’s abilities – a red haze – to not be the clearest cue (it feels “outside” of the art), and while letterer Joe Caramagna handles the rapid-fire dialogue well, Star’s font style when telling people what to do also didn’t feel right to me. I realize that’s 100% opinion, but Marvel has this default text for “mystic” speak, just in different colors, and I’d almost rather a more defined font than the color swap. Like, Star’s suit has red, so her text is red; but I don’t know if that’s actually the best choice for the desired effect.

But overall, this was a well-balanced issue – Pacheco makes sure there is actually a story driving the book – it’s not just an excuse to be goofy – and the overload of jokes is juggled between Star and Spider-Man correctly; they play off of each other’s styles effectively.

The Fury backup from Jed MacKay and Juan Ferreyra is also a good addition. It’s fairly static – Fury is strapped to a chair and being tortured by a shadowy figure – but the duo milk a lot of energy out of that, and Jed makes sure to drop some hints that move the story forward.