Alford Notes: Amazing Spider-Man #13


asm-13-coverPOWER PLAY PART 2: CIVIL WAR REENACTMENT

The cover promises a fight between Iron Man and Spider-Man with Miles thrown in for spice.  However, the cover lied about Miles last issue, so who knows what will be in this issue.  Power Pack?  Dazzler?  Only one way to find out!

 

 

 

The Devil in the Details

Writer: Dan Slott

Artist: Guiseppe Camuncoli

Inker: Cam Smith

Colorist: Marte Gracia

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga

Cover Artist: Alex Ross

Editor: Nick Lowe

Published: June 1st, 2016

 

 

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

Some super fish guy (as police officer Frobisher so eloquently put it) comes raging out of the ocean carrying an oil tanker.  People freak out until Regent, Hero Extraordinaire, comes around and beats the living snot out of him, then carts him off to his prison to have his power siphoned for later use.

asm13opening

Betty Brant is back in town, but is going out to lunch with Harry Osborn Lyman.  Peter wants to be invited along, but Harry completely blows him off, leaving the reader wonder what is going on?  Is Harry and Betty getting together? Are they conspiring against Parker Industries?  We have to wait to find out because that story gets interrupted by Peter dodging his duties as CEO.

Spider-Man swings down to the local batting cages where he is supposed to meet Miles Morales, but is a little ticked off by seeing Iron Man there.  Iron Man antagonizes Spidey.

Meanwhile, Betty Brant and Harry Lyman meet up with MJ, thus the reason they cannot allow Peter to come with them.  They, with very little thought, figure out that Augustus Roman is Regent.  Betty runs off to write up a story.

Back to the batting cages, Spider-Man has had it with Iron Man and punches him.  Iron gets angry and they go at it, leaving Miles Morales to try to get the bystanders out of the way and trying to remind them that they really are heroes.  He leaves and gets ambushed by Regent.  Spider-Man and Iron Man realize what suck-egg mulesthey are being and go to find Miles, but they are too late.  He is already being processed to fuel Regent’s suit.

Betty confronts Augustus about being Regent.

Analysis –

We set Regent up as a powerhouse by having him take down the “super fish guy.”

POP QUIZ TIME

spider-man-questionWho is the super fish guy able to lift an oil tanker?
a. Namor
b. Orka (not to be confused with okra, although each is equally repulsive)
c. Attuma (I can’t hear this name without hearing Schwarzenegger say, “It’s NOT a tumor!”)
d. Tiger Shark

Click image to see answer

 

The answer is irrelevant since all that matters is that we are being shown that Regent is super powerful (in case you didn’t read Secret Wars).  I have no problem with that and the opening panel was awesome.

The story itself needs little analysis.  Iron Man and Spider-Man fight for less reason than Torch and Spidey fought back in issue #3.  We do get a set up for a Betty Brant side story as she starts to go after Augustus for being Regent.

FrobisherThere are two minor characters that do deserve more attention, though.  One is Officer Frobisher.  I have started paying attention to minor characters when we get their names.  There tends to be a back story.  When I see such an unusual name as Frobisher, my curiosity is really spiked.  There are three people that could be the inspiration for officer Frobisher.  The first and least likely is Sir Martin Frobisher, privateer and maritime explorer for England.  The second is John Frobisher, the character that Peter Capaldi played on Torchwood, a Doctor Who spin off  for the BBC impaired among us.  This is more likely since Dan Slott is a huge Doctor Who fan.  However, the most likely reason he picked that name is because Frobisher is the name of a companion of the 6th and 7th doctor in the Doctor Who comic strip.  This guy is a shape changing alien that prefers the guise of a penguin.  When he acts like a private detective, he goes by a name that means, “haven’t got a clue.”  That certainly fights the officer that shouts out “super fish guy.”

 

The other minor character I’ll save for the extra credit question.

What Passed:

Some of the art is good.  Camuncoli is especially good at drawing the superhero. That opening panel was awesome.  I wish I seen a fight between Spider-Man and Orka based on that panel rather than what we got – and that is saying something since I have absolutely no desire to read a comic with Orka in it otherwise.

The jokes are not overplayed.  Peter correcting Miles on his onomatopoeias was funny-ish.  I liked that Frobisher’s badge is all we get of the allusion rather than having some bystander have to make a comment to help us connect the dots.

Miles showing off for the crowd by webbing baseballs in the batting cage was a nice touch, too.  In fact, everything Miles does is a pass here.  The fact that he actually shows up in this comic is a win.

asm13-mm

 

Miles takes on the attitude of the reader.  While I did not like what went on around him, his reactions were spot on.  He could easily be a panelist on the podcast with the criticisms that he is shouting out at them.  At one point he just walks away from them telling them he is embarrassed to even be in a costume – and the reader was embarrassed for him.  Which brings us to…

What Failed:

I’m going to let Iron Man sum it up:

asm13-wth

 

That was my thought (more or less) as I read most of this comic.  I was really looking forward to this issue, but the whole set up for the Iron Man and Spider-Man fight is rather inane.  Spider-Man has plenty of baggage with Iron Man, but instead of pulling from that, he is going to get angry because Tony redesigns Miles’ web shooters, has hired MJ (which Spidey yells out is Parker’s girl – newsflash, Spidey, you may want to go back and read OMIT), and, what really set him off, Iron Man offers Spidey a job.  Now, getting frustrated, irritated, even angry is one thing,  In fact, if we had that kind of dramatic irony** going on the whole time, it would have a bit humorous.  Instead, Spider-Man just punches Iron Man.

O.K., Spider-Man punching people without thinking it out is sort of his M.O.  – poor Morbius always gets punched first.  However, there are three big problems with this.  1. Iron Man is not a villain (I don’t care what your take on Civil War (movie or crossover) is).  2. They are in a batting cage.  As in a park with little children everywhere.  JJJ was right all along!  3. They are supposed to be mentoring Miles.  The best scenario that could come from this is that Mile decides to leave these chumps alone until Spidey gets a different writer.  It’s just an awful fight.  Also, true to many of Slott’s fights, most of the fight takes place off panel.  This is just awful.  I got more enjoyment looking up that stupid shape shifting penguin than I did reading this fight.  I understand Regent’s desire to eliminate the heroes based on crap like this.  He watches it being streamed live via Parker Scope and his comment is, “Where’s the villain?”

Speaking of Regent, I would have liked to see Mile put up a better fight against Regent; however, I’m fine with the way it goes down.  Miles is thrown off by the fact that he believes Regent to be a hero and if his spider-sense was going off, he would have little reason to think it was warning him about Regent.  Instead, he probably would have assumed that the threat he is sensing is whoever Regent is there to catch in the first place.

Responsibility – Peter shrugs off what is obviously an important meeting (they are trying to work out billion dollar deals) so that he can go hang out with Miles.  Slott tries to make it work by comparing it to Peter blowing off classes, but I just don’t buy that  Peter went to his share of classes.  He tried to make both aspects of his life work  and as a result he failed miserably at it.  Here, he is not even trying to make this work.  How he still has a company, I don’t know.  Especially now that Zodiac is no longer managing the business for him.

The art.  This seems to be a recurring theme in my reviews of Camuncoli.  His superheroes are nice, but his faces are not.  Especially if it is supposed to a character that we recognize.  Take a look at MJ:

asm13-mj

If this were a new character, I’d have no problem with it.  But this is MJ and the only reason I know is because Harry told me and her hair is red.

 

Extra Credit:

stillwellWhy should the name Dr. Shannon Stillwell sound familiar to you (besides the fact that she was in Secret Wars)?  Or maybe I should put it – who is most likely her connection to her in the Spider-verse?

 

Final Grade:

I think Miles can sum this comic up best for me:

mmfacepalm

 

Grade?  Without Miles this would be a solid F, but he raised it up to a:

D

Your Turn:

What grade do YOU give it?

 

What’s Next?

portrait_incrediblePOWER 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.

 

My enthusiasm for this upcoming issue knows no bounds.

 

 

 

* A suck-egg mule is something my mom would call people when she couldn’t think of something nice to say.  I asked her what it meant and she said that a suck-egg dog was a dog that snuck into hen houses and sucked the eggs.  Her sister called her that once, so she called her a suck-egg mule since that must be worse.  Now you know.

** Dramatic Irony – we know something the character(s) do not – remember that kiddies if you have to take an English or language arts exam sometime soon. 

(20) Comments

  1. Jason

    I miss the days when comics had footnotes, letting you know X happened in issue Y. For the life of me I couldn't remember when Osborn, Lyman, Harry's family was rescued by Regent.

  2. Al

    Mark in 616 I don’t think Peter ever blew off classes or if so he blew off very few of them. He never failed miserably at them. With the stuff Tony did I know it was OOC of Tony, but the thing is you only know if that stuff is OOC if you have read Iron Man which no one reading Spider-Man should be obligated to do. Within the context of Spider-Man comics Tony has appeared in that was not OOC for him. There’s room to debate that one but even if we were to say Tony was OOC no matter how you slice it the fact is that his actions profoundly impacted Peter’s life (and the MU) in ways which resonate to this day. Modern Spider-Man is built off foundation stones set there during Civil War courtesy of Iron Man so the stories now NEED to reflect that because it’s too big an elephant in the room. Even if Tony was OOC from the POV of Peter our protagonist Tony screwed him over and he has no reason to forgive him for that. Same with MJ. It’d be one thing if we fixed the problems at the heart of Spider-Man’s character and series or retconned in something to absolve Tony but as of right now that isn’t the case so the stuff from Civil War is still in play. @Mark: Tony in Iron Man is flawed but he isn’t douche like he is here.

  3. Mohammed

    I think what I've been saying about the issue since I've read it sums it up ASM #13, is the stupidity of stupidity, it was boring as @~#£$, and I think I lost a few IQ points reading it, thank god I'm able to read it at the store before buying, so didn't lose any money and Mary Jane, I would have thought he would have done better, but I think it's worse, she looks tired, there was nothing that showed that there is life coming from her, she basically had dead eyes. And you know what you get more emotion from Mary Jane from two panels in Civil War #1, where she had to tell Tony about Rhodey. http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y331/animehunter2k13/Comic%20Pages/Mary%20Jane/Civil%20War%20II%202016-%20001-025%20-%20mj_zpshl6rkll4.jpg Compared to this, Camuncoli's art is simply uggh, and it pains me to no end to have to see MJ drawn that way

  4. Frontier

    @George - I try not to hold it against the character when bad writing has them acting out of character and doing terrible things they wouldn't otherwise, because bad writing. I don't hold Scarlet Witch responsible for all the things Bendis made her do, as much as X-Men fans would disagree, nor do I hold Peter and Tony responsible for all the terrible OOC decisions writers have made them do. The one thing these three characters have in common? Future writers tried to eliminate or downplay their responsibility in said events because they were so bad. Even Busiek had to do some of that during his Avengers run and Avengers Forever. @Mark - I don't think you should look to Dan Slott for accurate characterization of anyone involved, let alone the guest stars.

  5. George Berryman

    @Mark - We can definitely agree he shouldn't be! Unfortunately Mark Millar and Quesada had other plans for him that don't get washed away with a convenient mind "reboot" and a champagne toast at the end of Siege. ;)

  6. Mark Alford

    For those that are reading Iron Man right now - is this how Tony is being portrayed in that book or is this just the price he pays for visiting Spidey's book?

  7. Mark Alford

    @George Berryman - I knew you were going to call me out on the Iron Man is not a villain thing. Think that we can agree at least that Iron Man should NOT be a villain?

  8. RDMacQ

    @Evan- I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Slott always meant for this story to be the big return of Carlie Cooper, but it was nixed due to the fact that no one was interested in continuing the story with her character. So, instead, he just split the role in two- Betty does the investigatorial stuff, and MJ is the one who does the whole "Former girlfriend back in their life" side of things. Problem is, by splitting it in half, he's essentially shafting MJ, who has yet to contribute much to the plot at this point. Which, you know, I'm sure the people who were waiting for the follow up to Renew Your Vows would be really OK with.

  9. Evan

    I wonder if the plot will eventually see Betty duplicating Carlie Cooper's role in Superior Spider-man such that, whereas there Carlie felt something was amiss with Spider-man and investigated accordingly, here Betty will lean her investigative reporting towards uncovering the truth about the Regent. I really hope it doesn't come to that -- and not the least because we've seen that before.

  10. ryan3178

    So many holes and so much of Dan Slott "connecting the dots" story telling. Basically, is that it doesn't make sense, but it has to fit from point 1 to point 2 and then point 3 so the story can be told. Never mind the fact that both Peter and Tony are being more man-childish than ever (Anyone read Iron Man?). Or the fact that the Regent's identity was figured out because the company logo was on his suit (Duh!). Or how Miles couldn't use his deus ex machina Venom Blast like he has done on other villains (he has that power?) so he can get captured instead. Also, as said, it looks like MJ and is referred to as MJ, but that's not MJ, or Harry and Betty is being stupider than she was during Big Time. Wow! How this story went down hill so fast after the first issue wasn't too bad. Can't wait to see how AWESOME Dead No More will be.

  11. Jack

    I'm certain this is happening because Peter has always secretly been a Nazi. Or maybe making Peter an imbecile is Slott's idea of redressing decades of comic-book racial imbalance. (That would be such a dumb idea that it's likely the explanation.)

  12. Stillanerd

    And here, I was starting to get worried after Amazing Spider-Man #12 because after I read it I thought "Hmm, this isn't so bad a comic. Maybe Dan Slott's turning things around." Then after I read and reviewed this one, I thought, "Nope, I guess I really was losing my mind last time because Miles saying calling Spider-Man a 'Jackass' sums this issue up to a tee.

  13. Chase the Blues Away

    Nitwitted picks: 1) Wow, Harry, Betty and MJ: I'm surprised it too you that long to work out the secret identity of the Regent WHEN HE WEARS THE LOGO OF AUGUSTUS ROMAN'S COMPANY ON HIS CHEST. Sheesh, that's really hiding the secret identity, Roman. But maybe being this obliviously obvious comes with the territory when you are named Augustus Roman. I can't wait for Arthur English, Charlemagne French, Nicholas Muscovite and Sam Washingtonian to show up next. 2) Speaking of MJ, first Camuncoli draws her with a waist like a toothpick, now he gives her the gut of a sixty year old grandmother of ten who last worked out in the 1990s. Can we take up a collection to buy him a book of anatomy? It's hard to believe he's the same artist who draws such solid superheroes. 3) So happy Peter took Uncle Ben's words to heart. "With great power must also come....really childish jealousy! And blowing off anything that looks anything like work!" This Peter has zero sense of responsibility, even though he currently has great power over the livelihoods of thousands of employees. 4) EVERYONE is this issue was smarter and/or more perceptive than Peter. EVERYONE. (Well, OK, not Augustus the not-so-secret identity). Tony. Miles. Betty. Forbisher is an intellectual giant compared to Peter - at least he knows enough to want to call in the Avengers. But Peter? So can't handle Tony's quips, he resorts to using his fists instead of his words. Yeah, that's really mature of you, Pete. So heroic. I think this is the worst portrayal of Peter I've seen from Slott. Peter was so immature, he needed that web diaper from ASM Vol. 3 #1. 5) And speaking of Slott's writing - I hate to break it to him, but having Miles call Peter and Tony manchildren does not excuse his characterization. It only points out just how ridiculous the wirting is and how OOC they both are. 6) I like Mark's reasoning for why Miles jobbed to the Regent - but c'mon. Miles has a Venom sting that took out Blackheart in his own comic. Where is the Venom Sting here?!? It only points out that Miles jobbed simply because Slott's plot requires him to job. I agree with the grade. I, too, enjoyed Miles. I even enjoyed Tony. But Peter - yeesh. Calling him a manchild iis actually too kind. He's a childchild, and not a particularly engaging or sympathetic one.

  14. RDMacQ

    Hey, look at it this way. Not only do we get Slott providing a terrible characterization for Peter, but we also have him give a terrible characterization to MJ. Got to love that the promised follow up to Renew Your Vows at this point has Betty Brant have a greater and more active role in the story than MJ. But I can honestly see Slott spinning this in a later forum post saying "Oh, the REAL reason Spider-Man was angry was TOTALLY about MJ." Because why bother actually writing that when you can just SAY you wrote it after the fact?

  15. George Berryman

    "1. Iron Man is not a villain (I don’t care what your take on Civil War (movie or crossover) is)" Not a villain overall in the Marvel Universe. But a Captain America villain? Hands down. A Thor villain? Without a doubt. A Bill Foster villain? *smirk* A Spider-Man villain? Goddamn right he's a Spider-Man villain.

  16. Bassdelux15

    I'm actually surprised that Slott did right by Miles. I really thought he was about to kill my favorite Spidey, but even Slott can't do that apparently. Hated the whole Ironman and Spidey-Parker fight and interaction. Also, Camuncoli really needs to work on his MJ, holy crap.

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