“Skip to the most embarrassing bits.”
Oh boy, MJ’s back under Slott’s pen. Either this will make me throw the comic at a wall, rip it to pieces, or a mix of the two.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #12
“Power Play, Pt 1: The Stark Contrast”
Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: Cam Smith
Colors: Marte Garcia
Editors: Nick Lowe and Devin Lewis
We start off our epic with Peter struggling to get into his suit, which he rented instead of buying one tailored to his exact measurements. (Quite the mental titan, our Petey) Harry Osborn-Lyman-whatever recalls the night of Aunt May’s wedding since it took place in the exact same place, Bryant Park. (What a coincidence, right?! In all of New York, they picked the exact same location to hold a charity! What are the chances?) He also makes the point of stating that he wasn’t invited, (You lying little Goblin) and they reminisce over that night before being interrupted by not-Erik-Larsen-drawn-MJ (And with a radiant dose of blandness surrounding her, the air suddenly stales the second she arrives on panel!) MJ clunkily and vaguely exposits that she’s working for Tony Stark, and the Armored Avenger (Angry Alliteration Aggravates) makes his appearance.
Harry leads MJ away as Tony and Peter talk, and Tony calls Peter out on his fiascos in previous arcs, pointing out that Spidey’s antics are costing Peter’s company a pretty penny to clean up after. As Peter preps his opening speech, Tony introduces Mary Jane to Augustus Roman, CEO of Empire Unlimited (Well, I wonder who our bad guy is? Couldn’t be him), and they take their seats. Peter bombs his speech (Because I love it when my hero is incompetent at public speaking even though he was doing it perfectly fine in the first issue. And he also makes the Uncle Ben Rice joke. Classy.) and gets interrupted by none other than… the GHOST! (Spooky!)
Both armor up (Why does Spider-Man have armor? And why does it operate like the suit from Spider-Man Unlimited?) and try to fight off the Ghost, but it looks like they’re probably trying to do it before the other. (Welcome to the 80s, my friends!) Eventually, they combine forces and defeat the Ghost, who was hired by Alchemax to take down Parker Industries again (Because it worked great the first time! Also, where the hell are the other ANAD Avengers? Did Ryan eat them?) and everybody is okay! (Because consequences don’t exist in this universe!) Peter later sulks that MJ is working for Stark and tries to hire Pepper Potts, who promptly shuts his offer down, leaving Peter to sulk some more. (Maturity. Peter doesn’t have it)
And so our comic ends with Roman heading back to the Cellar (that isn’t an ominous name at all) where he’s interviewed by Betty Brant. (Hey, look, another classic Spider-Man character! It only took us, what, 9 issues?) We get told via the classic flashback that he seeks to contain superheroes because his wife and child got killed in the crossfire of an Avengers battle. (Haven’t heard that backstory before) And as he transforms into Regent, he reveals his next targets: The ANAD Avengers! (Good luck with that. Ryan already ate them)
So, here’s a little picture to kick things off.
This picture is what I felt like while reading this comic. (And yes, that is yours truly in the picture.) Every twist and turn made changes for the worst, and displayed the character of Peter Parker in the worst light that I have seen since starting to review for this site.
I have seen a lot of crap since I started reviewing comics and movies. And this is probably the apex of the crap mountain I’ve climbed in the past three years.
Let’s start off with the art. This comic obviously needed to be pushed back, because Camuncoli’s team needed a real break. There has to be somebody who can at least give Camuncoli a cooldown period so they can get their act together. I noticed all sorts of technical errors when I looked at it up close. There were incomplete lines, faded textures, flat colors and shadows, and just all around bland backgrounds. Now, if this was some random webcomic from off the internet, I could accept that. After all, not all of us have access to the tools necessary to make high profile art. However, this is Marvel, one of the Big Two. (Or three, if you want to count Image or IDW, but it’s a stretch.) They should be able to do better than this. Not only are the technicalities bad, but the art itself is lackluster.
I won’t talk about MJ, Mark, Mohammmed and half the Crawlspace played Captain America: Civil War with that topic already. But even not talking about the Rambunctious Redhead (See, Mark? I can alliterate too!), characters look like they could care less about anything. We only see dull expressions on characters’ faces. And while Humberto Ramos may have had worse expressions on his characters, at least it was his norm. This is disturbing since Camuncoli is usually a great artist on this title. This is probably blamable on burnout on Camuncoli’s part since he’s been drawing non-stop for a while for ASM, and while I hope it gets better next issue, we’re talking about the present. And in that present, this does not pass for Marvel’s standards, nor does it pass mine.
Not only does the art not pass inspection, but I actually cringed when I read some of the dialogue. Harry of all people has the best dialogue, actually making some pretty passable lines, with Tony coming in a close second with some pretty good fight dialogue. But people like Peter and MJ have absolutely atrocious line delivery, and I actually felt like doubling over when I read it. Camuncoli’s dull art doesn’t exactly help shoot the target either, making the characters have a Ben Stein approach when they talk. Hint: That’s not a good thing.
Regent is at least definitely improved from his RYV iteration, though not by much. He hasn’t really changed much, other than that he has an origin that somehow bears way too much similarity to the general public of Captain America: Civil War in that they want meta-humans kept in check. At the very least, it’s an understandable idea, but it’s explored so little that it feels like it was just tossed in there because they needed a reason for Regent to exist, so Slott pulled his pencil out of his ear and wrote that down.
Slott also seems to be placing a lot of the issue’s crutching on self-awareness. Specifically, mocking the fans’ whining of how Peter Parker is becoming an Iron Man clone and Parker Industries’ corporate mascot. And, ironically, this is mostly stated by Tony himself. As I’ve stated in previous reviews, pointing out your own flaws and shortcomings in terms of your own writing does not make you a better writer. Quite the opposite, in fact. Instead of trying to fix the character back to a street-level hero in New York, Slott has continued to push the character down into his own grave à la Kraven’s Last Hunt, and refuses to dig him back up even if it is for the better of the character to do so. It is very clear that Slott is wanting to write Iron Man, since he is the character with far superior dialogue. For better or worse, this is Slott’s pleading message to Bendis to swap jobs.
And this cry for a career change is ultimately displayed in the attitude of Peter Parker himself.
Throughout the entire issue, Peter is shown to be acting like a complete child, showing the maturity, attention span and emotional control of a 15 year old. He starts off his speeches by comparing his dead uncle to a rice mascot, (Even internet reviewers have made the joke better) measuring sizes with Iron Man and wanting to fight the villain because he’s more popular, goading the Ghost into attacking him instead. But that pales in comparison to his jealousy of MJ moving on with her life. Like that clingy ex-boyfriend we all know, he then tries to hire Tony’s ex, Pepper Potts, before getting shot down and pouting like that one guy who got rejected on his invitation to prom. It’s childish, unfunny and serves no relevance to the overarching story, other than to make me hate the new Spider-Man even more than I already did.
Amazing Spider-Man #12 is a failure of gargantuan proportions, and fails to accurately put anything into perspective for the Power Play arc. The art is semi-amateurish, and the characters act childishly and like I’m reading my old fanfiction from five years ago. Nothing adds up, and lacks any substance to properly get me hyped for the rest of the arc. While I sum up my feelings for the comic with this one picture, I think I’ll go write a book.
I’ll call it An Avenging Appetite: How Ryan317 Ate the All-New All-Different Avengers. And nobody will read it.