Spider-Man #12 (2016) Review


“How did it go from your dad is missing to you making out with Spider-Woman?”

Miles journeys to Earth-65 in an attempt to find his missing dad!

WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis

ARTIST: Sara Pichelli

INKING ASSIST: Gaetano Carlucci

COLOR ASSIST: Justin Ponsor

LETTERING: VC’s Cory Petit

COVER ART: Sara Pichelli and Jason Keith

TITLE PAGE DESIGN: Idette Winecoor

ASSISTANT EDITOR: Allison Stock

ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Devin Lewis

EDITOR: Nick Lowe

STORY: Sitting in their dorm room, Miles spins a story to Ganke and Fabio of how he came to be making out with Spider-Gwen. Maria Hill approached Miles, briefing him on his dad’s mission, and gave him a device to travel to an alternate world where Jefferson might be. Once on Earth-65, Miles has an encounter with that universe’s Ringer, which climaxed with him meeting the spectacular Spider-Gwen. To be continued…

THOUGHTS: This book might be Miles’, but as you can see from the colors on the cover, Spider-Gwen’s influence is definitely felt. I’m gonna go out on a ledge and guess that this cover is a play on that famous Spidey/MJ kiss from the first Raimi movie. I could be wrong, but it’s the first thing that came to mind when I saw it.

Sara Pichelli once again provides the art, with an inking assist from Gaetano Carlucci, and it is crisp and emotive. She says so much through a character’s body language and facial expressions. It’s my favorite thing about her art, but I do have a nitpick or two this issue, minor though they may be. For starters, Gwen’s shoes are depicted to be more slipper-like when they should be more like the bottom of a pair of Converse. Like I said, minor. The bigger quibble I had, the thing that weirded me out, was Miles emoting under the mask. I don’t mind whenever Spidey’s mask emotes through the eye lenses, but for one panel we get a smile shining through the fabric. For those who don’t like the upcoming Scarlet Spider’s new look, this panel is for you! In contrast, I loved when Pichelli harkened back to that classic half Spidey/half secret identity face. You can see shades of Miles being shocked underneath the masked side, but it’s balanced out by the half face reveal.

Ponsor rocked the coloring this issue, perfectly blending the work Renzi does on Spider-Gwen month in and out with his own. The Earth-65 stuff really feels like Miles is in that distinct environment and Bendis’ prose describing how the smells were different and how it seemed like there were different kinds of light bulbs was pitch perfect. There is a magnificent glow coming from the city and a crackle of electricity when Miles arrives. The scene between Miles and Maria Hill atop the bridge was also well lit and cinematic as the spotlights from the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier danced around them as they talked. Ponsor was really firing on all cylinders with this issue.

Bendis opens right up with the liplock Marvel has dubbed “the kiss heard round the world”, then immediately snaps to Miles telling the story of how it happened to his friends. It’s a great way to create a sense of mystery, but with the stakes being as high as they are, with Miles professing his willingness to give up being Spidey if he has to in order to find his dad, it automatically undercuts that tension since there’s no way he’d be casually hanging out if Jefferson was potentially dead on another Earth.  Still, Bendis winds up using the technique fairly well, cutting between the dorm room and the events that transpired, even sometimes having Ganke and Fabio’s questions mirror those that Miles posed to Maria. If you like the back and forth pattern of Bendis’ dialogue, you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of this issue, for sure.

Bendis introduces us to The Ringer. I’m curious how much, if any, influence Latour and Rodriguez had in her creation. They’ve made up some fun backstories and profiles for the characters of Earth-65 and I wonder if they’ve got something cooked up for this new iteration down the road. She feels like she belongs to this world, but will she be a major player, or the Earth-65 version of Ultimate Shocker, only good for a quick take down? Then again, the 616 Ringer isn’t exactly the Green Goblin, so…

As far as first chapters go, this was a pretty good setup. The team came up with a creative way for the two heroes to meet and Pichelli and Ponsor pull off the Earth-65 vibe very well. Did we need the fake #1 in the corner, though? I get Marvel’s reasoning behind it, but I thought they dropped that practice a while ago. Still, I enjoyed the first chapter and am looking forward to seeing Latour and company pick up the baton over in Spider-Gwen.

MY GRADE: B

JAVI’S HUH:? Did Bendis just depower Miles’ Spider-Sense in this issue? Miles says it only warns him of an immediate danger, but not what it specifically is. I’ve always assumed it was just like Peter’s, but then again, his works however the story dictates. Gotta balance it out with the venom blast, I guess.

The latest issue of Spider-Gwen (#15) states Gwen is 19. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly back when this volume launched, Bendis states that back when he was originally created, “Miles was about 13 and all his friends were about 13 and here [Spider-Man 2016] they’re about 15 or 16 years old.” Uhhhhhh, does Gloria know about this??? 

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