Alford Notes: Amazing Spider-Man #12


asm12Power Play Part One: The Stark Contrast

Wow!  It seems like only a week ago we were reviewing the last issue of this title.  My how time flies.

I’ve been looking forward to this issue ever since they released the image for solicits.  If we are to believe this cover, then this issue will be loaded with story: Miles Morales, Iron Man, MJ, and Regent.  While I’m not particularly in love with Regent I could put up with him especially if he can bring up to Peter the version he knew where Peter and MJ were happily married with a daughter.

The last three issues were better issues than what we have been getting, but can it last?  One of the reasons they were better seemed to be that Peter Parker was, for all intents and purposes, was not really in the comic.  With MJ coming in, he will have to be.

So what will the issue be for us?  Will be Slottastic or Slotthetic?  Plus, this issue is released on Star Wars day.  I’m going out on a limb here (I’m writing this opening BEFORE reading the book) and saying that there is NO WAY we get through this without some sort of Admiral Ackbar reference or something similar.  Somebody at least is going to say, “I have a bad feeling about this.”  Plus I’m also predicting that Regent will go down with a Miles Morales venom blast.

 

You know you want to find out if I’m right – click the READ MORE!

 

 

 

The Devil in the Details

Writer: Dan Slott

Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Inker: Cam Smith

Colorist: Merte Gracia

Letterer: VC’s Chris Eliopoulos

Cover Artist: Alex Ross

Editor: Nick Lowe

Published: May 4, 2016

 

 

The Story – Pay Attention, This Will Be on the Test

Peter and Harry talk before a big Uncle Ben Foundation charity drive for rich people.  MJ shows up with Tony Stark.  Tony and Peter trade comments.  Liz shows up.  She’s quite witchy toward Harry, but only to get him out of the way before her secret plan in enacted.  Just in time, too, because just as Peter makes a bad joke about rice, Liz’s secret plan is enacted – the Ghost shows up to sabotage Parker Industries again.   Peter suits up.  Tony suits up.  They argue over who will fight the Ghost.  The Ghost taunts them.  They team up and beat the ghost.  Regent is collecting bad guys in a prison because he wants all of their powers out of revenge for super powered people being linked to the death of his wife.

Wait – did I miss something?  Where are the New Avengers?  My cover clearly states:

asm12lies

Yet, my copy has no Avengers.  If it was something that was only in a print issue, I’m going to be extra mad because my digital copy costs me as much as a print issue.

Analysis –

I have mixed feelings about this issue.  My biggest concern was that Peter would not be written like Peter; however, Slott does a good job portraying the character as I think a rich Peter would act.  I have not been reading much that is not ASM lately, so I am not really up to date on where the rest of the Marvel universe is after Secret Wars, so I do not really know if Tony is just baiting Pete or if he really doesn’t remember him living in the Avengers mansion after the mind wipe.

I read Renew Your Vows and enjoyed them.  Regent seemed pretty much like a What If villain, which is essentially what the whole Secret Wars turned out to be.  I think his move into the 616 universe seems to be smooth.  He has a new motivation to get super powers.  Was that flash back scene from Civil War or just a generic Avengers battle?

Plus, I’m really pissed about the cover lie.  Sure, I’m used to the cover having a misleading picture on it, but this goes beyond that.

 

What Passed:

MJ-StarkQuite a few things, actually.  Peter’s conversation with Harry flowed well and we get some character development of Harry Osborn – excuse me – Lyman.   I particularly enjoyed Peter mentioning Aunt May’s wedding and Harry responding, “Was not invited.”  Also, when Tony refers to him as Osborn, only to be corrected that it is now Lyman, Tony says, “Not much of a disguise,” to which Harry responds, “not meant to be.”

The Uncle Ben rice joke fell flat, was supposed to fall flat, was not over explained, and therefore gave me a believable moment.  Harry telling Peter that he is not funny didn’t come across as a Peter-is-a-loser moment, but rather two friends ribbing each other.

Tony and MJ’s interaction seemed spot on.  Makes me sad not to see Peter and MJ have that same relationship.

The page where Peter and Tony both suit up in different fashions looks really good.  This is an excellent blending of writing and art, which is what comics  are all about.

asm12change

 

Finally, Iron Man stealing the Ghostbusters joke and getting praise from everyone really felt like classic Spidey back when everyone would praise the Torch and call Spidey a menace.  The “earn money at home” comment on the You Tube panel was particularly funny.

 

What Failed:

What, you mean besides the top left portion of the cover?  Well, quite a few things.

The art is a big failure – at least when it comes to faces.  Mary Jane is rather blah and could be any read head person.  In fact, Pepper Pots is shown at the end of the comic and there isn’t much difference.  Peter is still unrecognizable to me, and poor Harry – those check bones jut out so stinking far!  Camuncoli can draw a good superhero, but I am just not digging his people faces.

We have a new letterer, but the recap page has the same old grammar mistakes, leading me to believe that maybe the letterer doesn’t have anything to do with those letters.

What’s Liz’s motivation for sabotage?  They are no longer in competition for the prison.  This makes no sense to me.  I know she is a cunning and witchy sort of woman (a Lady Macbeth wanna be of the Spider-Verse), but this seems ill conceived to me.  Plus, the Ghost?  Again?? O.K., I know Slott wanted to get a villain that both Spidey and Iron Man have fought, but it just seemed… I don’t know… done already.

And Spidey knows every pop culture reference, but not the Resse’s one?  At least it wasn’t dragged out with an unnecessary explanation.

And a bit nitpicky – Regent’s plan to siphon all the powers.  Well, wouldn’t these villains still have lawyers and family that wanted to see them and fight for their rights?  There was a pretty good Spide story that had Nitro in it and the point was that they were legally unable to keep him locked up in gas tanks.  His daughter and lawyer got him out.  I’m willing to overlook it because, you know, comics, but it just seems like a hole in the idea.

 

Extra Credit:

Was I right about the Star Wars reference? Nope.  No extra credit for me.  However, I’ll give each of you a bit of extra credit (redeemable from any high school teacher or college professor, guaranteed) if you can weigh in on a little dispute I’m having with my friend Mohammed.  Which is better, Camuncoli’s blah plain Jane Mary Jane or Erik Larsen’s strumpet* version?

maryjane

 

Weigh in below.

 

Final Grade:

C-

Why? Well, it left me neither hating it nor excited about the next one.  I was so ready to enjoy it that I’m really disappointed at the end product.  The cover lie, though, almost made me drop it to a D.

Your Turn:

What grade do YOU give it?

 

What’s Next?

asm13previewPOWER PLAY CONTINUES!

 

Things aren’t going well between the Amazing Spider-Man and the Invincible Iron Man and their conflict is opening the door for Regent and his plan against our heroes!

Now that Regent has started imprisoning HEROES and stealing their powers things have gone from bad to worse.

And if this grabs your interest, I’m sorry to inform you that you’ll have to wait until June 1st to get it.  Yep.  Two issues in consecutive weeks then a month of waiting.  Who exactly is behind this release schedule anyway?  Despite those grumblings, the cover looks pretty awesome, though.  Can we dare to hope to actually see this in the comic?

 

 

* Strumpet is Shakespearean for slut.  Don’t believe me? Just read Othello!  Comic books = culture.

(28) Comments

  1. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#27 - Harry has a son with Lily named Stanley. Normie is showing signs of jealousy because Harry focuses on Normie. As far as his id goes, here are some of the people who know: Mary Jane Carlie Cooper Anna Maria Silk Spider-Man 2099 Miles Morales Mr. Fantastic Sue Storm Human Torch The Thing Captain America Luke Cage Jessica Jones Wolverine Captain Marvel Hawkeye Mockingbird Dr. Strange Iron Fist Spider-Woman Bucky Barnes Kaine Jackal Old Madame Web New Madame Web Spider-Girl Everyone left alive from the Ultimate Universe (which means Mysterio if he survived Secret Wars) Doctor Octopus All the Spider-Men that survived Spider-Verse (of course) I THINK that is it.

  2. Kleaners

    Liz and Harry kept saying kids. I know of Normie. Who's the other kid? Who exactly knows Peter's secret identity other than MJ?

  3. Al

    @#24: I guarntee you I can find a worse drawing of MJ somehwere. Probably in 90s minis. Camuncolli did suck here though. In fact controversial opinion...I've never been impressed by Camuncolli at all. To me he's too still and undetailed. Maybe not to extremes but he definitely leans towards the other extreme of what Ramos offers. In contrast Stegman is the happy medium in between them. @#25: I barely recognize anyone in those picutres as human beings

  4. Mohammed

    @ #23 Al Maybe, but at least they attempted to make her look like who she's supposed to be. in this issue (ASM #12) she looks nothing like her and I still stand behind that it worst depiction of Mary Jane I've ever seen and that Larsens' is far better and that I prefer his over this one.

  5. Al

    Surely the worst Mary Jane drawing is from Maximum Clonage Omega? https://67.media.tumblr.com/012dba1da0a8ac7573af6b0d2a757e38/tumblr_o6tmmaU0Qc1svvfjzo2_1280.jpg https://66.media.tumblr.com/aeec88237a5221757ea7653c5f7f6f12/tumblr_o6tmmaU0Qc1svvfjzo1_1280.jpg

  6. Mohammed

    @20 Al and it's a war I do believe I'm winning. Go Larsen all the way lol :D and by the way, the depiction that currently gets my heart pumping is by David Marquez, as I've quite emotionally stated in my review of Invincible Iron Man #5 http://www.spidermancrawlspace.com/2016/01/15/invincible-iron-man-5-mary-jane-centric-review/ http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y331/animehunter2k13/Comic%20Pages/Invincible%20Iron%20Man%202015-%20005-006_zpslxwxqaor.jpg~original

  7. Mark Alford - Post author

    @#20 - We don't have to choose. Mohammed said this this was the worst MJ he had ever seen, then I said, "Oh yeah? Well how about Larsen?" Then one thing led to another. This is how the Crawlspace War began...

  8. Al

    Why do we gotta choose between the lesser evils of MJ artists? when we can have stuff like this: https://38.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7fgbwA8QV1qc3cn4.jpg http://66.media.tumblr.com/314451c3c6c1e3bdbfd226f48efd3997/tumblr_nq7v34pqqq1svvfjzo10_r1_1280.jpg

  9. Mark Alford - Post author

    So Mohammed is claiming victory for saying that Camuncoli's MJ is worse than Larsen's MJ. Here's the count so far: Camncoli's organless Plain Jane - 3 (#2, #9, #14) Larsen's street walking strumpet - 3 (#6, #10, #15) Two unclear votes - #5, #12 So, don't light that victory cigar just yet, Mohammed! As poster of the article, I might have to abuse my powers and claim the to two unclear votes!

  10. Al

    So read the issue over cover to cover and if I was being charitable I’d give it aaaaaaaaaa D-....and that’s me NOT holding the carried over bullshit from OMIT or Superior #31 against it. But Jesus Christ. Spider-Man and Iron Man squabbling like kids. Peter feeling ZERO sense of betrayal and upset over MJ and Tony’s working relationship? Peter being MAINLY upset at Tony who hasn’t actually done anything wrong. Peter trying to one-up-Tony by hiring Pepper. Peter mentioning living with Tony in Avengers tower and NOT thinking about how Tony 100% betrayed him in Civil War. Peter mentioning their time living together in earshot of Harry. Peter and Tony acting like they HAVEN’T teamed up plenty of times in the past including on recent Avengers teams and being unable to work together. The public adoring Iron Man at Spidey’s expense, a plot point so old it was done over 20 years ago in David Michelinie and Erik Larsen’s the Return of the Sinister Six storyline. And the disgusting pure spiteful immaturity of trying to hire Pepper Potts to get back at Tony for ‘stealing his girl’. I’ve kept up with ASm via the podcast, reviews and skim reading and as such this was the first issue I read cover to cover and I think there was honestly just 2 pages at the end which didn’t annoy me. This was horrible, horrible, horrible bullshit of the highest order.

  11. asdf

    #7: The Liz targeting Regent theory actually makes sense, and gives the potential motives as A: Stealing the Ryker's Island reconstruction contract and B: Alchemax being aware of what Regent's planning #11 It's weird, the 13th sign technically wasn't false advertising, it appeared, but it's more Slott himself seemed to totally forget about it, as absolutely nothing happened with it.

  12. Stillanerd

    @#9 Chase the Blues Away -- And that's the thing, Mary Jane already mentioned to Tony that she knew Peter Parker in Invincible Iron Man #7. So there's really no reason why Tony needed to ask Peter if he and MJ knew each other in this issue, because he should already know. Yeah, minor Nerdy Nitpick there. Also, while I did like this issue a lot more than the last eleven issues, I do agree that Camuncoli really dropped the ball with his illustration of MJ. In fact, all the women in this comic, including MJ, appear to have all the vitality and expressiveness of department store mannequins. By contrast, practically every facial tick from all the men in the comic was the stuff of epic melodrama.

  13. ryan3178

    I just realized the stamp about the ANAD Avengers team up. It is mentioned in the story by... the Regent. So there it is, but otherwise completely false advertising much like that the 13th sign of the Zodiac is THE SPIDER!!!!! Is there really any editors at Marvel anymore except to tell readers what we really need for stories instead of you know... editing?

  14. PeterParkerfan

    Well, I for one think that the art is fine. I actually liked Camuncolie's MJ and Harry. I'll take his art over Humbreto Ramos' art any day. The story, however, is hit and miss for me. The Peter/Harry interaction and the Spidey/Iron Man team up is good, but the parts with Liz, Mary "I-don't-want-to-have-any-relationship-with-Peter-because-my-life-would-be-in-danger" Jane, and regent are mediore. My grade for this issue is D+, btw. The last three issues were more entertaining than this one.

  15. Chase The Blues Away

    Oh, a few more: Tony's mind was wiped after Civil War, so I'm assuming that's why he doesn't remember. Why MJ never said anything, however, is beyond me. Maybe she's biding her time. Camuncoli needs to learn that women have internal organs like a liver, pancreas, stomach and intestines. Both MJs are too thin IMO, although at Larsen at least gave her some muscle definition. Larsen can also make his female characters distinguishable. His Felicia would never be mistaken for MJ, while Camuncoli's MJ, Liz, Pepper and Betty are only distinguishable by hair and eye color. So as much as Larsen makes my eyeballs bleed, he gets the nod.

  16. ryan3178

    @7 THat's what I mean with Liz, she might have been targeting Augustus, but to choose the charity of all places. Especially, given the Ghost's track record, just screamed as idiotic. Here was another thing, if Liz was trying to expose that the Regent was using the new prison to steal power so he could wipe out heroes and villains alike because of what happened during Under Siege. She could have broadcasted it and released files and that would have brought in the Avengers. I also find it just odd that the Regent wants to start with the ANAD Avengers. I mean, why them? Most of them had nothing to do with the Masters of Evil attacking the mansion and only Iron Man was really present at the time with the Vision. Everyone else wasn't even old enough yet. I'm not going to start with Peter and Tony's argument, it ranks up there with Peter and Johnny's argument from issue 3. It was forced and made no sense.

  17. Chase The Blues Away

    A few things: Liz hired the Ghost to take down Augustus Roman. The Ghost's attack was centered on him. WHY she chose Peter's charity as the place for the attack, with so many other people who could get hurt, and knowing Spider-Man acts as Peter's bodyguard so there was a good chance the attack would fail, is a leap of story and character illogic that is coming to be Dan Slott's trademark. The Regent is not the same as the RYV Regent. This one saw his family die during Avengers: Under Siege. The artwork clearly shows 616 Avengers. With that said, Slott really has a mad-on for destroying Spider-Man characters, doesn't he? First he offed all the AU Spider-Men he didn't like, now he's going after the rogues gallery. I was kinda bummed to see Tombstone go - it made me remember how vastly superior the Spider books were written right after the marriage, when Gerry Conway told his Robbie vs. Tombstone story. This issue wasn't as groaningly idiotic as the Zodiac issues, but I'm really tired of Peter the perpetual manchild. Peter and Tony sniping at each other like toddlers on the playground arguing over whose dumptruck is shinier while there is a supervillain on the loose and innocent civilians in the line of fire was jaw-dropping asinine - and irresponsible. Peter deciding redheads are interchangeable and if he can't have one he'll have another was a) predictable - that joke was called as soon as it was announced MJ would be in Iron Man and b) says a lot about how Peter/Slott view women. That scene, coupled with Peter's earlier thoughts about MJ, only shows she's better off without someone who only thinks of himself and what he wants (and definitely better off without the writer who puts those thoughts into Peter's head), never considering what MJ herself might want. Not to mention, Tony shows more respect for her by acknowledging she can handle things while he leaves to fight the Ghost, while Peter thinks she needs to be looked after by Tony. I found it ridiculous - if par for the Slott course - that Peter would quibble about spending the money for a tux (let's say anywhere between $700 - $2500 for a decent off the rack tux with a designer name attached) yet he throws a black tie party that had to cost into the high tens of thousands of dollars, if not more (it's New York City, after all). Not to mention, if he buys the tux, he's spending his own money. The party? He's spending the charity's money. Nice priorities there, Pete. And awesome use of how the real world actually works, I think the grade is pretty spot on. The Zodiac issues were festivals of stupidity all the way around, while in this issue only Peter is the idiot.

  18. Frontier

    I prefer Camuncoli's hair and outfit, but Larsen's is more defined and stands out visually. Neither have anything on David Lopez' MJ though. @#2 - Ordinarily I'd agree with you about the suiting up sequence...but the Tokusatsu fan in me can't help but love that it's a kind of Double Henshin sequence.

  19. Ryan3178

    Not to mention, Peter David couldn't even follow up on Liz's behavior in Spider-Man 2099 once Secret Wars happened either. She was losing it big time over there too and even Miguel was wondering what was wrong with her. Now, here she is trying to sabotage Peter again? Umm... why? Just because? So, the Regent hates super powered beings because his wife was killed during a fight with them and the deal is to take all powers and then wipe out others with them. Yeah, that really makes sense. He sounds like a bad ABC TV villain who's motivation is as backwards as the new Scorpio. Just stop, Slott. Just stop!

  20. Jack

    I don't understand why Liz Allen is a bad person now. She just is? Slott never explained why she was cooperating with Norman during SSM, either. This seems wildly inconsistent with Liz Allen of the past (so what else is new, right? *cough*blackcat**). Slott goes to the trouble of giving Regent a motive, but not Liz.

  21. Al

    Tony’s memories of the stuff involving Peter’s identity and Civil War was erased because forgetting you did a crime=you are innocent of it. Preeeetty sure Harry was invited to May’s wedding. Peter and Tony suiting up WOULD’ve been cool if they both didn’t have hi-tech armour which emphasised how homogenous they’d both become which is messed up. I don’t mind Liz being more cutthroat but this is again putting her across like an outright villainess and unless she’s actually going to go crazy and be the first justifiable 616 female Goblin (she’s got the motivation) I don’t want the character ruined. We need more normalcy in Spider-Man not less. I groaned painfully over Peter saying he’s screwed things up with MJ. a) Why didn’t he try to FIX things with MJ then, both after Superior OR back in OMIT? b) Why didn’t MJ try to fix things back then, especially considering she was required to be OOC for her actions in either story to work c) Why is Peter not honestly betrayed over MJ and Stark’s partnership given Tony’s involvement in betraying them both AND MJ’s rationale for distancing herself from peter which is contradicted if she’s working publicly for Tony Stark d) Am I honestly alone in finding it truly distasteful that Superior #31 and now this issue are pushing the narrative that Peter was somehow at fault for things going wrong between him and MJ even though it was all on Doc Ock (and arguably MJ for not realizing) and he was completely victimized. That has really made implications when you think about it. If we’re confining the discussion strictly to those 2 images, I’d say Larsen does more to make MJ seem unique visually in her facial features capturing the sharp green eyes and dimples that Romita gave her, but obviously her clothes are better in Camuncolli’s but we’re comparing 90s fashions to modern fashions and MJ’s not dressed for the same occasions. Sort of same thing for her hair, but honestly Camuncolli’s Mary Jane is only distinguishable as Mary Jane by virtue of dialogue and the context of the narrative. If you put her next to other red haired green eyed Camuncolli drawn women and asked us to distinguish it’d be harder than if the same thing was applied to Larsen. Camuncolli is generic, Larsen ain’t no star either though. Why settle when you could have Kubert or Frenz tho?

  22. RDMacQ

    Maybe the next issue can actually show how this is supposed to be a follow up to Renew Your Vows aside from just the same players, but in different roles.

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