Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Amazing Spider-Man #14 - Marvel Comics

There’s a rather enlightening opening paragraph to the ‘letters page’ of Issue Fifteen of “The Amazing Spider-Man” which arguably sums up not just all that is wrong with the contents of this comic but touches upon the main criticisms of Dan Slott’s entire multi-issue cross-title event. It begins with the words “Just like that, Spider-Verse is over” and this really does encapsulate the sense of emptiness and disappointment arguably many readers must have felt when finishing “Web Warriors”.

For having established the Inheritors as possibly the deadliest threat to the wall-crawler’s existence yet witnessed within the ‘Marvel Universe’, the various family members suddenly appear all too susceptible and vulnerable to the myriad of alternative Spider-People which they have previously been murderously hunting. Indeed such is the ease with which the Great Hunters are incarcerated that it is all over in the space of a page, as they’re suddenly shown either ‘all webbed up’ or impotent with grief and defeat. It really is a case of blink and you’ll miss it.

In a way however, even this travesty of a conclusion is actually drawn-out as a far easier solution to interrupting the Great Ritual would surely have consisted of Peter Parker teleporting to Loomworld and then simply transporting the entire family to the incapacitating radioactive landscape of Earth-3145. Without their intimidating and threatening presence by the cyborg’s side the Master Weaver was not likely to utilise his time-travelling powers and retrieve his captors. Thus they’d be no need for Superior Spider-Man to slaughter him, no need for Takuya Yamashiro’s anachronistic giant robot Leopardon to allegedly save the day, nor any excuse whatsoever for Spider-Ham to appear au natural.

Interestingly the “Caught In The Web Of Spider-Verse” ‘fan’ page would also suggest the creative team knew their storyline was tight for space and necessitated an abrupt ending. For it includes a caveat to its statement that the event was finished but adding “Well, almost” and explains that the title's subsequent issue will consist of a much needed Epilogue within which the myriad of loose ends will be tied up. This simply smacks of bad planning and poor pacing on behalf of writer Dan Slott. Surely the American author must have realised the book would close with the spider-army still ensconced upon Earth-001 and contain a plethora of plot-strands yet to be resolved when he first mapped-out the storyline?

The decision to have both Olivier Coipel and Giuseppe Camuncoli pencil half an issue each is also a dubious choice for any comic’s creative team. Both artists are imaginative and competent enough, but when their artwork is so readily placed alongside one another, it is unfortunate but the Italian’s slightly inferior illustrations are always going to badly jar with those of the French cartoonists; even when the likes of Wade Von Grawbadger, Cam Smith and John Livesay are all employed to ink the drawings. As a result the final act just begins with the Spider-army storming the Inheritor’s manor and the wonderful artwork rather rudely drops a noticeable notch or three.
The variant cover art of "THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" No. 14 by Phil Noto

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