Now that we know Nick Spencer’s run on Amazing Spider-Man is officially coming to an end, every single issue and trade paperback feels like it has multiple purposes — not only to tell an interesting story, but also to wrap up plot threads and drive the story towards a conclusion. Out this week is Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 14. Volume 13 was a fun concept that naturally flowed to a conclusive end to Spider-Man and Boomerang’s relationship, and in this week’s collection Chameleon enters the story to further close the door on key characters.
This collection opens with a solid reminder of the various plots at work in Nick Spencer’s series. Kindred gets attacked by Baron Mordo with absolutely no way to defend himself or escape. Cut to Kingpin embracing his son The Rose, and one could surmise this book is about power changing hands. All the while, Peter must face down his superhero friends who helped him aid Boomerang. Spencer also weaves in Peter’s sister while also building towards Sinister War with short backup stories involving Doc Ock.
The reading experience has many ups and downs with compelling approaches to parents and their kids relationships, but also overly drawn-out melodrama with Chameleon. From Kindred and Norman Osborn to Kingpin and Rose, to a few surprises along the way, Spencer is playing around with the old guard — otherwise known as the mainline characters — and the newer, younger characters. It’s unclear what the point is between all these connections and the new parent reveals in the story, though.
Another plot moves forward involving Peter Parker’s science partner Jaimie, first introduced in 2019, that plays into a creation he made. Spencer does a good job establishing details about Jaimie’s personal life while integrating a familiar face into his troubles. Unfortunately, it all reads like a red herring that goes nowhere. The journey to get to her conclusion in the story is vague and uncertain, making the trial she goes through pointless. Similar to the frustratingly drawn-out Kindred mystery, this subplot is more about teasing to no end.
Art by Marcelo Ferreira and Carlos Gomez is solid, utilizing a darker ink that gives the book a haunting feel at times. Inker Wayne Faucher backs up both artists and they are joined by colorist Morry Hollowell with Andrew Crossley. Unfortunately, comics don’t always say who drew what, but Ferreira’s style is all over this book and he’s drawn a lot of it. As the book carries on, Ze Carlos, Carlos Gomez, and Marcelo Ferreira pencil, Carlos, Gomez, and Wayne Faucher ink, and Andrew Crossley and Morry Hollowell color. It’s difficult to tell who is drawing what at times, with jarring changes between pages.
Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer Vol. 14: Chameleon Conspiracy suffers from an overabundance of artists — likely to hit the bi-weekly deadlines — and some interesting ideas that never pan out in a satisfying way. There seems to be an idea at work to flip who Teresa Parker really is, but the story never fully commits and thus feels half-baked by its end.
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