Spider-Man #14 (2016) Review

“Mr. Scorpion. Jefferson. Jeff. (Jeffrey?) Whatever you call yourself in this dimension…we need to talk.”

Spider-Man and Spider-Woman hop through the Spider-Verse! Will they EVER find Miles’ dad?

WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis

ARTIST: Sara Pichelli

COLOR ARTIST: Justin Ponsor

LETTERING: VC’s Cory Petit

COVER ART: Sara Pichelli and Jason Keith

TITLE PAGE DESIGN: Idette Winecoor



EDITOR: Nick Lowe

STORY: Miles continues spinning his yarn to Ganke and Fabio. We see Gwen arrive back on her world, only to have the portable portal device start to ding at her, leading her where to go. Miles, as Spider-Man, winds up back at Scorpion-65’s base, where he and the Scorpion start to tussle, only to have Gwen swing in and join the fray. One of the Scorpion’s goons fires, hitting the portal, causing almost everyone to get sucked in. Miles and Gwen bounce around to a few different worlds together, until they get separated, with Gwen winding up…somewhere else and Miles seemingly finding his father!

THOUGHTS: I love me some John Romita, Sr. artwork. So, you’d think an homage would be right up my alley. I actually don’t care for this cover, though. The wedding apparel over their costumes just weirds me out and doesn’t carry over the simplicity of the original Spidey and MJ image. Having said that, this cover actually plays a part in the story later, which softened my stance on it. More on that later.

Opening again back in the dorm, Bendis continues to use the trio of friends as a framing device. Fabio, former X-Man, is still incredulous that there are other worlds. Ganke is more obsessed, and dare I say, insensitive, with Miles telling about the kiss and not about the fate of Jefferson. How long has Ganke known Miles’ dad and yet he doesn’t seem to care about something so important to his best friend? Sure, Miles doesn’t seem to be freaking out or in a state of mourning, so presumably everything is hunky dory, but still. For me, it undercuts the potential for drama and suspense regarding Jefferson’s fate when no one seems to care about what happened to him.

Pichelli once again turns in just stellar work. There are quite a few two-page layouts with overlapping panels that were a fun change of pace. As always, I love the emotion she gives her characters’ faces, particularly the close up she did of Miles’ eye revealed behind the lens of his mask. I like it a lot better than some of the recent examples of his facial expressions emoting through the fabric!

Justin Ponsor continued to provide the appropriate Earth-65 color palette, so even with Pichelli’s style being distinct from Robbi Rodriguez, it still felt like the right Earth and made it easy to distinguish with all the reality hopping in this issue.

Speaking of reality hopping, that may have been my favorite element of this issue! I loved seeing Spider-Man Noir and Ponsor really sold it with his dreary coloring for that world! It provided a stark contrast to the portal’s green glow. We also get treated to something that looks suspiciously like DC’s Metropolis followed by the Marvel Zombies world!

All these jumps have Miles and Gwen together, holding on to each other even, until they get separated escaping from zombies because story. Does it make sense? No. It does further the plot as Miles finally finds his dad when he drops into the next world and Gwen finds…this issue’s cover???

Turning the page to find Gwen staring at giant signs celebrating her and Miles’ anniversary definitely impacted how I viewed the cover seeing how it got used here in story. It was a nice touch to have Miles billed as “The Amazing Spider-Man” with Gwen also suitably dubbed “The Spectacular Spider-Woman”. No mention was made of “Web of Spider-Child” or “Sensational Spider-Baby”, though. It’s also worth noting that they are celebrating 20 years of “Spider Bliss”, putting them on par with Peter and Mary Jane Watson-Parker. Here’s hoping there’s no Mephisto on this world!

As Miles returns to the point of origin for all the recent dimensional jumps, he continues his voice over. The problem with it is that even though it’s in quotes, suggesting he is still narrating events to Ganke and Fabio, it actually reads more like inner monologue and caused some confusion on my end.

Miles’ Spider-Sense goes off as a “clink” is heard, causing him to slug a shadowy figure into the air. That figure is revealed to be Jefferson, who calls the masked Spider-Man “Miles”. Presumably, this is actually Miles’ dad and not the Earth-65 Scorpion version. If so, then who set off his Spider-Sense? In part one, The Ringer’s rings wouldn’t trigger it as they flew by and clocked him in the head, so why did it buzz? Is there still a danger, or was Bendis misusing it for dramatic tension? I guess we’ll find out next chapter!

So, while it doesn’t seem like all that much happened, I still had a lot of fun with this issue. Despite some of the dramatic tension regarding Jefferson’s disappearance being undercut by the story structure, the outright adventure won me over. Pichelli’s art is just gorgeous and perfectly enhanced by the coloring of Ponsor. Gwen is given a little more to think about when it comes to having a relationship with Miles and maybe, just maybe, Miles actually found the proverbial needle in the Earth-65 haystack that is his dad. There’s a lot to wrap up in the final chapter, but it anyone can, it’s Latour and Rodriguez.


JAVI’S HUH?: As Gwen returns to Earth-65, a bystander says, “Hey, if it’s really you…big fan!” Uh, seriously? Spider-Woman dropped out of a portal from the sky and landed atop a bus stop in front of you. Pretty sure she’s the real McCoy!

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