Excelsior! This week in the Marvel Rundown, it’s yet another milestone for the Amazing Spider-Man.

This review has some light spoilers, but not anything the cover and solicits haven’t told you. If you’re looking for the final verdict, scroll on down below. And stick around for a review of Union Jack the Ripper: Blood Hunt #1.

What did you think of this week’s batch of fresh Marvel Comics, True Believers? The Beat wants to hear from you! Give us a shout-out, here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat, and let us know what you’re thinking.

The cover to Amazing Spider-Man #50 (2024). Drawn by Ed McGuinness. It features Spider-Man battling the Green Goblin.
Amazing Spider-Man #50

The Amazing Spider-Man #50

Writer: Zeb Wells
Penciler: Ed McGuinness
Inker: Mark Farmer
Colorist: Marcio Menyz with Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Here it is, the beginning of the end for the tenuous friendship between Peter Parker and the reformed Norman Osborn. Osborn’s journey, and his attempts to make things right with Peter, has been one of the most compelling aspects of writer Zeb Wells’ time on Spider-Man. Though Peter has been reluctant to believe it, the book has gone through great pains to clarify that the magical reversal was genuine. But like Peter, we know that it couldn’t really last, which granted a hint of tragedy to all of the human moments between the two.  Following the events of “Spidey’s First Hunt,” when Osborn seemingly re-absorbed the Goblin’s evil to save Peter, it was only a matter of time until Peter’s worst fears came to pass.

On the whole, it’s a compelling first issue to what could be one of the most consequential arcs to the Zeb Wells era of Amazing Spider-Man. This fall-out was the inevitable tragedy of the run, and Wells deserves a lot of credit for making us care about the reformed and innocent Norman enough to lament his loss. You genuinely feel for Osborn when he collapses to his knees to explain that becoming the Goblin was a sacrificial choice to save Peter. It is helped by the fact that this is the first issue in some time where we’ve gotten real insight into Peter’s interior life.

Norman Osborn and Peter Parker from Amazing Spider-Man #50 by Zeb Wells and Ed McGuinness

The hurt from the betrayal is made physical by the stunningly drawn battle between these blood-enemies. I am a fan of artist Ed McGuinness, but his barrel-chested, cartoonish superhero style has never meshed well with the acrobatic Spider-Man. Here, though, McGuinness nails the action in part because it calls for a pure meat-and-potatoes brawl, stripped of Spidey’s usual flash and humor. As striking and dynamic as the action is, McGuinness’s work shines with his frightening depiction of the Green Goblin, a squat and cackling figment of Peter’s nightmares. He leverages his penchant for broader facial features to present a wide-eyed Goblin mask that is contorted into inhuman laughter and pinpoint irises that capture the manic energy of the character. McGuinnes’s work is embellished with moody, heavy lines from inker Mark Farmer and great, dramatic coloring from Marcio Menyz and Erick Arciniega. The bombastic letters by VC’s Joe Caramagna sell the anger and adds additional gravitas to the knock-down, drag-out fight. 

There are some of the typical problems that have plagued this era of Spider-Man, however. Clunky exposition and revelations that were not set up in prior issues, confusing editors’ notes, and a tonal inconsistency that inevitably took me out of the drama. The ten-dollar issue is padded out with the usual bonus stories at the end, most of which are not particularly notable. Cartoonist Lee Gatlin’s story is the highlight, with his playful, sketchy storybook style offering pure delight. But most are forgettable. These overblown non-milestone celebrations, filled with one-off inventory stories, stopped feeling special or worth the inflated price long ago. 

This is a solid issue, certainly the best collaboration between Wells and McGuinness. But the inflated price and track record this book has for falling apart at the end of a story without resolving the emotional arcs makes it hard to recommend rushing out to pick this one up off the stands. Let’s revisit this story in a future Rundown to see if it’s sticks the landing.


Norman Osborn from Amazing Spider-Man #50 by Zeb Wells and Ed McGuinness

Rapid Rundown!

  • Union Jack The Ripper: Blood Hunt #1
    • Big crossover events are meant to shake the universe’s proverbial leaves, so we can see which low hanging fruit hit the ground through the inevitable tie-in pipeline. Often, tie-ins are cloying and effervescent by nature– trial runs for new creative teams to experiment on the company’s budget with as low stakes as possible. At worst, tie-ins are offensive and unnecessary reminders of how capitalism affects the direct market. At best, tie-ins unearth an uncut gem of a creative team that are a run away from striking gold. Most of the time, tie-ins are fun, inoffensive, and find an interesting tale to be told in the playspace of the event. For Blood Hunt, the sky is black and vampires are everywhere; what perfect fodder for superheroes to dip into horror fiction for a season. Full stop: this Union Jack tie-in not only instantly nails the “Marvel heroes in a horror/disaster film,” but also establishes a proof of concept for Marvel’s next big creative team– and it ain’t just two creators this time! While Cavan Scott‘s script feels like a time capsule of 2000s era British indie comics, pairing Kev Walker‘s pencils with the heavy handed inks of Craig Yeung and Belardino Brabo gives the Sundeath Marvel world a sinister, but not unfamiliar tone. There’s literally so much black ink on the page, the silhouettes and hatching are required to work in concert to prevent layouts from becoming all too chaotic. There’s a late scene with heavy underlighting that takes an otherwise eyerolling reveal and plays it up. This would mean nothing if the colorist team of Java Tartaglia and Dee Cunniffe didn’t get the assignment from the jump. They needed flat backdrops with a subtle vignette to help contrast the heavy inks, so using radial glows to flashlight the inks here works well to highlight the linework! Now, here’s where a VC letterer might come in, drop off some Marvel house style balloons, and call it, but VC’s Travis Lanham, uncharacteristically, went above and beyond incorporating VAM VAM VAM sfx in spots behind action that appears as if it were always a part of the composition from the start! All this to state: Marvel better line this creative team up for a run afterwards. Woof. — Beau Q.

Next week: Blood Hunt and the end of the X-Men Krakoan age continue.


  1. Just a comment, to say I’ve never read anything by Tim Rooney prior to this review, …but I can’t help agree 100% with his assessment of this book.

    It’s just a shame that the largest publisher of comic books today, has regressed to publishing cash grabs to make a living, as there once was a time….when they had it all.

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