Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Amazing Spider-Man [2015] #15 - Marvel Comics

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN No. 15, September 2016
There can be little doubt that the main reason Issue Fifteen of “The Amazing Spider-Man” saw a circulation rise of over twenty-two thousand copies during July 2016 was due to both Alex Ross’s wonderful cover illustration of fan-favourite Mary Jane Watson as “The New Iron Spider” and the picture’s insinuation that Tony Stark’s latest employee donning the armour was actually “a sign of things to come”. But whilst Dan Slott’s narrative for “Suit Yourself” does deliver upon its promise to depict Stan Lee’s co-creation as Spider-Woman, it is done in such an incredulous manner that it turns what could have been a genuinely tense, thrilling transformation, into little more than a frivolous, gimmicky trick; and one which defies any semblance of logic whatsoever.

Indeed, having repeatedly demonstrated the daunting, apparently unbeatable, might of Regent during his “Power Play” story-arc, the Berkeley-born writer’s decision to have Augustus Roman’s energy-siphoning alter ego bested by someone who “wore an early version of the Iron Man armour once” really must have tested his audience’s patience; especially when her opponent has previously conquered such formidable super-heroes as Thor, Captain America, Hyperion, Iron Man and Daredevil. It certainly seems safe to assume that many readers probably sided with an aghast Jarvis when he exclaims “Madam, with respect, it seems Regent has defeated all the Avengers. This strikes me as suicidal!”

Equally as frustrating as the script’s questionable lucidity however, is the Eisner Award-winner’s decision to relegate this comic’s titular character to simply infiltrating Regent’s state-of-the-art prison, whilst M.J. and Iron Man tackle the main ‘villain of the piece’ in an incredibly well-drawn fast-paced fist-fight. Surely it would have made far more sense to have had the amateur adventuress rescuing Harry Osborn and Miles Morales from the Cellar rather than the book’s main antagonist, who subsequently doesn’t even get to wallop the brains behind Roman’s brawn, Doctor Stillwell; “Guess they don’t like it as much when they get sucker punched.”

Fortunately, what this twenty-page periodical is good at doing is providing a treat for the eyes, courtesy of some terrific artwork by Giuseppe Camuncoli. Capable of pencilling ‘Spider-Woman’ sending Augustus reeling with a surprise sock to the jaw one moment, and then able to heavily populate a panel with less dynamic, yet still engaging, sedentary figures the next, the Italian illustrator arguably imbues even the comic’s less interesting scenes with plenty of life.
The regular cover art of "THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN" No. 15 by Alex Ross

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