“You do not know when to quit, do you?”
I feel like watching an episode of General Hospital with a crossover with Sci-Spy. Time to get my Spider-Man comic book out and satiate my desires.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #13
“Power Play, Pt. 2: Civil War Reenactment” (Too subtle)
Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: Cam Smith
Colors: Marte Garcia
Editors: Nick Lowe and Devin Lewis
Our story begins in New York Harbor, (Well, it’s filled with enough garbage that I would’ve mistaken it for the comic) where some villain named Orka is attacking a cargo ship because they pollute the ocean. (Either this is an Aquaman clone or Slott’s EPA audition) All of a sudden, we see Regent save the day, blowing up the ship and taking down Orka. (Because I’m sure there weren’t civilians on the ship, but hey, we can’t be choosy with Marvel) Regent then ominously says he’ll protect the city, at any cost. (Somebody needs their meds, and I know just the thing: A 10CC dose of What the Hell Are You Doing In This Comic)
We then awkwardly transition over to Peter and Harry at the Baxter Building, who are gawking at the marvelous power of Regent (It’s almost like they live a world where Hulk exists. Huh.) Harry and Betty go to lunch, just ditching Peter to go meet MJ. (And Harry has Betty around his arm. I’ve seen War Room, this can only end in food poisoning) For some reason, because the Slott-plot demands it (And apparently you did too!) Peter is suddenly overwhelmed by the number of people asking for his attention, so he locks himself in his office and swings off as Spider-Man, (The “F*ck Responsibilty” meme comes into play here) and somehow he regains access to his phantom anchor points. We then see him swinging over a park that appears out of nowhere (Space is warped and time is bendable) for a get-together with his protege, Miles Morales.
But it turns out that Miles is already hanging out with Tony Stark, who apparently upgraded Miles’ webshooters. (This wouldn’t matter if Peter wasn’t so possessive of people, but the Slott plot demands that he have such a fragile ego) Tony offers to upgrade Peter’s webshooters too, and even offers him a job (Well, that’s good, Peter can see MJ more often and he gets another paycheck. Sounds good!) which Peter responds to by punching him in the face. (Wow, somebody tries being nice, but you punch him? Brownie points right there) The Armored Avenger responds by engaging in a fistfight.
We then transition to Harry and Betty with MJ, and through Harry Osborn’s poorly-drawn expressions they all figure out that it’s Augustus Roman (Wow, took you that long, huh?)
After that incredibly short scene (It only took up two pages), Peter and Tony are still fighting like children, while Miles runs off, ashamed that his two role models are putting people in danger over their egos. (This boy is my new favorite character) Miles gets caught in a red bubble when he swings off, and gets the crap beaten out of him by Regent, who takes him back to the Cellar (We make wine out of superheroes. This is a bottle of Miles Morales 2011. A fine vintage.) Regent is interrupted to find Betty Brant waiting for him at the waiting area, and she confronts him over whether or not his public identity and secret one are the same person. (No, Betty, he’s secretly Ms. Marvel. Merry Foolsmas)
Okay, so you know how when you find that piece of food on your table and you don’t know what it is? Then it turns out you’re allergic to it?
That’s Amazing Spider-Man #13 in a nutshell.
Nothing about it rings Spider-Man except for the few pages of web-swinging we get, and even then the internal thought narrative barely mentions anything that would make him seem like Spider-Man. We’re at that point, my readers, where I am literally cutting Peter Parker out of the picture and putting Detroit-freakin’-Steel in his place, and it would have a more cohesive structure.
Let’s start off with the art, and by god, you’d think with a month, Camuncoli could get his act together. I posited last issue that Camuncoli’s rushed work from issue 11 to 12 was the reason for his burn-out, and ran with it, as it was the only reason I could come up with that was deemed reasonable. But he’s had more enough time, and the result is the exact same as our last riffing. I’ll be the first to admit I have a minor bias against Camuncoli, but as a critic, I must remain unbiased. That said, Camuncoli really dropped the ball on this one. Characters have dull expressions that draw to mind a MST3K quote, and some lines are choppy and feel like they’re incomplete. Camuncoli really dropped the ball on this one, and I wish somebody like Coipel or Caselli to give Camuncoli some time he, for some reason, desperately needs to get his game back on.
The writing is downright atrocious. It’s clear that Marvel has literally tried to regress and rely on meta-humor, which I maintain only works in small doses, to try and bring themselves some credit. Seeing people run around talking about superheroes fighting each other does not make you funnier, as I mentioned in my last review. It makes you look incompetent and unpolished in your talent, and desperate for a laugh. The only kind of meta-humor that caught my tongue off guard was when Miles said he was ashamed to wear the costume, which I found true and somehow insightful and foreshadowing. Don’t take it from me, I’m reading this thing regularly. I’m trying to find something to analyze.
Once again, the main problem with the Spider-Man comic continues to be… well, Spider-Man. It seems with all of the other titles that are far more successful right now due to their far superior writing, Dan Slott has been tasked with quietly shunting Peter off to the side to make way for Miles, Cindy, Gwen, and, to a lesser extent, Jessica. Though, I think we can all agree here that Slott has mistaken “Subtle” for “Smashing through the door and leaving the oven on while you’re leaving.” If they were planning on phasing Peter out to make way for all of these different characters, I might not agree with it but would at least appreciate it if he remained as a mentor-like figure for the Spider-Verse. However, that seems to be a non-issue with Marvel, who continue to write Peter as an immature, nonsensically written caricature of a teenage superhero. He makes rash decisions, is possessive, slacks off and blows off work, and gets disproportionately jealous when “his” protege hangs out with other Avengers. And because of this, this leads me to believe that Tony Stark, the character that Peter Parker is actively a clone of at this point, is a better protagonist than Peter. Level-headed, supportive of his peers, and mature enough to fight only when physically provoked, this seems to be Slott’s plead to Bendis to show that he can write Tony better, and that Spider-Man should be in different hands. And either writing each other’s work is something nobody here would like, as I know Mohammed is probably enjoying MJ in IIM, and I’m not sure I’d really want Bendis on Spider-Man.
Or, there is a third alternative, one that I’m sure is just as bad as the other two. They’re planning to retcon Peter back to highschool to remain relevant within the lines of the Tom Holland iteration of Spider-Man from Civil War. It would make sense, they’ve done it before. Not necessarily a decision I’d agree with, but I’d just rather it be from somebody who’s, you know, talented at his job. Or two people for that matter.
In conclusion, ASM #13 is a carbon copy of the failures I highlighted last issue, only Peter’s maturity takes the spotlight as my major concern. The art needs a major overhaul, the meta-humor is stale and trite and needs a major overhaul, and Peter needs a major overhaul to be brought back to his former glory. Better seal this off with yellow tape that says “Critic line, do not cross”. This comic is under quarantine until further notice.
Final Grade: F