What has been one of the best event books in years gets its fourth installment today. Is it good?
Amazing Spider-Man (2014-) #12 (Marvel Comics)
All is lost for you if you have decided to start reading at this issue. Not much is recapped unless you want to know the latest details on the tie-in issues; the Inheritors aren’t really explained, nor is the overall situation easy to grasp without knowing what came before it. Understandable since we’re so many issues in, but it’s still important to note. Based on the cover, you might imagine this issue reveals a lot about the Inheritor family, but sadly we do not, which frankly is a very misleading way to start reading a comic book. Instead we get a plot that progresses, lots of checking in on tie-in issues and a major reveal of a new player to aid the Spiders.
Is that a lizard Spider-Man?
So far in the series writer Dan Slott has been able to weave in the tie-in stories without it being obnoxious or confusing, but this issue doesn’t do so well in that department. Everything feels much more claustrophobic in this issue, maybe partly due to the change in artist, but also because characters are siloed from each other. At one point Spider-Man is called and we have to wait for him to join the fray, another time we check in on Spider-Woman only to be given a scant bit of info and so on with other characters. This kills the pace of the story and also means it spends most of its time checking in on the plot rather than characters. It hinders the emotional impact of the story, particularly for one character who loses a loved one, and also makes the cliffhanger less than special. The meaning is lost because we spend most of the time plotting points.
It doesn’t help that much of the most interesting things that are happening in this issue are actually occurring in tie-in issues. That isn’t to say this issue is a waste by any means, or not without its good points either. It’s nice to see the manga Spider-Man finally enter this series as well as the brief but rather fun action scene between a robot Spider-Man and an Inheritor.
As mentioned, the artist has switched from Coipel to Giuseppe Camuncoli, which isn’t a bad thing per se, but I think it’s rather obvious Coipel was a bit better at managing huge swaths of characters on a single page. Camuncoli is good, but things feel cluttered and less interesting than with Coipel’s pages. The style of the layouts remains similar, but there isn’t as much drama per panel as before. All that said, he nails a page with Miles Morales interacting with some of the crazier Spider-Man iterations and the Spider-Woman sequence is very good at building tension.
Power Rangers Spider-Man!
Is It Good?
This issue is good, but not great and probably terrible if you haven’t read the previous issues. That said, if you’re digging this series you should find enough in this issue to enjoy it.
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