Nick Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man is officially coming to an end, and this week fans can catch up before its conclusion with Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 13. If it’s anything like volume 12, it’s going to be a bit unbalanced, but with some surefire hits and fun moments. In this latest volume, Spider-Man gets a new costume, which is historically great fun.
And for the most part, it is, although that new costume is short-lived. The idea behind it is actually quite clever — early on in the first issue, Spencer explains the purpose of the suit, its abilities, and why Peter is getting it at all. Essentially, Spider-Man will be paid to stream his fights and fans can tip him at the moment to get him to do and say things. It’s absurd, but it suits the current trend of streamers on Twitch.
Spencer also rightly reminds us this concept isn’t necessarily new — we’ve seen something like it with Screwball’s antics, and it flips the money-making aspects onto Spider-Man rather than Peter Parker. This has the potential for new and different stories, which is always exciting with a character as long-running as Spider-Man. It’s too bad this concept only lasted as long as this story arc since it could be explored in different ways. Then again, it changes the dynamic of Spider-Man so much it likely couldn’t exist for long anyway.
We also get more J. Jonah Jameson, who is still a fan of Spider-Man’s, a check-in with the Daily Planet, and a thorough reminder Kingpin wants Boomerang dead. Spencer juggles these subplots well, further reminding us the world of Spider-Man is a tangled web (sorry again!). Also in the mix is a fun idea involving Peter’s photography skills, a social media platform not unlike Instagram, and a reminder Peter has a pet he cares dearly about.
Gleason does a great job making the suit look cool across a montage of Spider-Man antics in the first issue. There’s a great layout of Jameson screaming at Spider-Man over a headset and Spider-Man attempting to follow his orders. It’s not easy dropping one-liners while fighting crime, apparently. Scenes with Kingpin are always mysterious and foreboding thanks to the framing and colors. Colors by Edgar Delgado do well to capture the city lights on Kingpin’s face, or the glow of a hologram of the ever-annoying Boomerang across Kingpin’s meeting table.
If you’re not well versed on Spencer’s run, you might feel a bit lost reading this book. Boomerang and Spider-Man’s pet Gog is a major driving force of the conflict early on. Another element that’s missing is Spider-Man’s new costume playing a part in the action. The first issue introduced different abilities but they’re never really used beyond showing them off.
This story arc does put to bed Boomerang’s relationship with Spider-Man though, which is one of the first endings Spencer has planned for his run. That gives the book a bit of closure for the larger story. It all wraps up in Giant-Size Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom and Spencer brings in Wolverine, Luke Cage, Hawkeye, Spider-Woman, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones, giving the conclusion a bigger feel. Themes involving Spider-Man’s goodness of heart are dealt with well here. There’s even a natural conclusion to Spider-Man’s new suit being retired even if it could have used more exploration.
The art in this Giant-Size conclusion includes three artists, which never feels jarring. The art can certainly look less detailed on certain pages, but it works well enough. Color artist Alex Sinclair does a good job splashing color into backgrounds here and there, in some cases giving Spidey’s new costume much-needed volume so the mask doesn’t look too flat. There are other examples throughout, from casting light on Jameson in an accurate way to adding a bit of shine to Boomerang’s mask.
In many ways, King’s Ransom feels like a natural conclusion to Nick Spencer’s entire run. The relationship between Peter Parker and Boomerang is one of the biggest elements that define his run and it comes to a conclusion here. Save for Kindred, if Spencer’s run ended here it’d be satisfying enough for most and a natural place to end things. All told, this is a good collection with only a few hiccups.
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