Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Amazing Spider-Man #13 - Marvel Comics

As multi-issue comic book events go, Dan Slott’s “Spider-Verse” clearly has a number of factors in its favour. To begin with it not only features the most popular “Marvel Worldwide” super-hero ever but also contains many fan favourite alternative versions of the self-same wall-crawler as well. Whether they be drawn from the larger literary Spider-Man family such as Ben Reilly, Spider-Woman and Peter Porker or other entertainment mediums such as the 1967 animated cartoon Spidey or Takuya Yamashiro from Earth-51778.

There’s also a genuine sense of threat and menace to these characters, as the Inheritors repeatedly demonstrate to the reader that they are both formidable and lethal foes. Then finally there’s the sheer scale of the conflict… a long drawn-out battle which has spread not just across time and space but spans different universes as well. Indeed it is easy to see why “The Amazing Spider-Man” sold in excess of 100,000 copies per issue during this story-arc.

But “Spider-Men: No More” is disappointingly a good example of where the American writer has got his priorities mixed up, of where he has allowed the opportunity to sell more editions of other titles blind him to which plot threads are central to the main storyline, and where scenes laden with heavy over-bearing dialogue have been favoured instead of pages depicting action and major occurrences within the “Spider-Verse”. What this means is that rather than tell the exciting story of the destruction of Jennix’s cloning facility on Earth-802 or Spider-Woman’s espionage mission on Earth-001, this major Marvel event’s ‘supposedly’ leading comic book title instead attempts to ‘captivate’ its audience through having them read endless discourses as Uncle Ben from Earth-3145 drones on about how he turned his back upon ‘great responsibility’, and cowered within a nuclear-proof atomic bunker.

Possibly even more irritating however is Slott’s treatment of Silk’s character as she becomes increasingly annoying, accident-prone and dim-witted. Having already broken one teleportation bracelet, Cindy Moon decides her best course of action is to travel to the Great Hunters’ home, the one place the ‘Bride’ should never go, and once there immediately use her replacement bangle to deflect a sword blow. Not only is this utterly stupid but also an extremely lazy way for Slott to manufacture a reason as to why the three vital ‘spider-totems’ all assemble together on Loomworld.

Even when some action does occur, the man behind “Arkham Asylum: Living Hell” somehow conjures up an incredibly unlikely victory for the Scarlet Spider, as Kaine easily disposes of the ‘unbeatable’ Inheritor Solus before meeting his own demise whilst in his ‘Other’ form. Quite how someone who previously has simply sucked the life-essence from Cosmic Spider-Man can so swiftly be killed having been speared by a few spikes is baffling, and completely contrary to the super-strong villain Slott has previously offered readers. 

Unfortunately so many sedentary scenes also bodes somewhat ill for Giuseppe Camuncoli to show off his artistic talents. Whilst the Italian’s pencilling is competent enough, and well-coloured by Justin Ponsor, the vast majority of panels are concerned solely with various characters talking. As such there is disappointingly scant opportunity for the cartoonist to demonstrate his quite considerable action-orientated drawing skills; and when these are briefly called upon his illustrations appear unhappily ‘out of sorts’.
The variant cover art of "THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" No. 13 by Gabriele Dell'Otto

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