Monday, 10 October 2016

The Amazing Spider-Man [2015] #12 - Marvel Comics

Selling 74,963 copies in May 2016, a slight improvement upon its distribution figures for the month before, it would seem highly likely that Dan Slott probably thought the writing for Issue Twelve of “The Amazing Spider-Man” was far wittier than the majority of the comic’s audience. For whilst the narrative to “The Stark Contrast” contains plenty of humour on account of Peter Parker’s nervousness upon seeing long-time love Mary Jane Watson once again, as well as plenty of battlefield banter between his costumed alter-ego and the Invincible Iron Man, the somewhat ‘juvenile’ nature of its tone genuinely dispels any sense of apprehensive tension throughout a story which ultimately should have been packed with menace as the Ghost attempts to eradicate “the man behind the privatisation of super-prisons” and subsequently threatens the lives of M.J. and Harry ‘Lyman’ Osborn.

This disappointing state of affairs is predominantly caused by the Berkeley-born author’s insistence of playing every scene within this twenty-page periodical for laughs, even those involving Augustus Roman’s theatrical rescue by Tony Stark’s “new personal assistant and right hand.” Indeed, arguably the Eisner Award-winner’s main motivation for including such an old Mid-Eighties foe of Iron Man in this story is so the Golden Avenger and Spider-Man can be shown “squabbling like infants” as to which of them should fight the industrial saboteur; “Why don’t you let the guy who’s defeated him the most deal with this?” Such embarrassing shenanigans and puerile behaviour by two of the publisher’s A-List super-heroes certainly dilutes the impact of Regent’s “destructive debut”, something “Marvel Worldwide” clearly felt was supposedly serious enough to warrant its advertisement over Alex Ross' colourful cover illustration…

Fortunately, for those bibliophiles eager to better understand this 'new' character who has supposedly lined his “pockets off of the misery and despair of the Superhuman Community”, Slott’s script does finally ‘come good’ towards the end of the book, as events (finally) turn to the Cellar and Daily Bugle reporter Betty Brant undertakes an interview of a somewhat emotional Roman. This backstory, one which clarifies that the businessman’s family were “lost… to a super villain attack”, genuinely provides plenty of additional depth to Augustus’ motivations, and makes his belief that “the world will be a better place when those powers [both hero and villain] are in my hands” all the more sympathetically chilling.
The 'Age Of Apocalypse' variant cover art of "THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" No. 12 by Jamal Campbell

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