Amazing Spider-Man #12
Written by Dan Slott
Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli
Published by Marvel Comics
Picking up immediately after the big reveal of last issue, part 4 of Spider-Verse begins with Solus, the father and apparent leader of the Inheritors, kidnapping Mayday Parker’s baby brother Benjy, proclaiming him to be the “Scion” foretold in their prophecies. After the deaths of several Spider-People, and a very literal deus ex machina, our heroes manage to escape by the skin of their teeth. But all this running is useless unless they can come up with a plan to put the Inheritors to bed for good.
The danger with massive crossover events, like Spider-Verse, is the over-reliance of tangential tie-ins and side stories. Done right, these can be a fun and optional way to get more out of a story than a main book could be able to give. Done wrong, they become necessary to the storyline of the main event itself and force the reader to pick up more books than they would otherwise be willing to purchase. So far, Spider-Verse has been teetering towards the latter. We are now in part four of the main event, and three of these four issues take distracting breaks from the main book to advertise events in the tie-ins. Until now, they have been mere interruptions, but in Amazing Spider-Man #12, they draw attention to issues that feature essential plot beats, and in one case, an issue that hasn’t even been released yet. The fact that most of the tie-ins books have been fairly strong in their own right is inconsequential. The simple fact is, a big event like this shouldn’t require reading five other series to understand what is happening.
That’s not to say what we’re given is all bad; it’s clear that Dan Slott loves Spider-Man, and is having a blast concocting this tale. As a whole, Spider-Verse is built on two premises: seeing different versions of Spider-Man team up, and seeing those Spider-Men served on (literal) silver platters, with a side of fava beans and a nice chianti. It would be easy to devolve the event into a grim and depressing death-fest, but Slott remembers the fun and unpredictability that makes Spider-Man so popular. Seeing Miles Morales trying to deal with driving up a building in a talking Spider-Buggy alongside five other Spider-Men, while being chased by the police, is a delight.
With all these Spider-People together, though, it would be nice if there was more interaction between them. Between our own Peter Parker, Superior Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider, Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, and the dozens of other Spider-themed heroes, there’s enough potential drama to release a six-issue series of everyone simply talking to each other in a room. Given the high-stakes nature of the event so far, it’s understandable that there hasn’t really been time to stop and chat, but hopefully once the threat of the Inheritors is no longer looming, the Spiders will have a chance to really get to know each other – for better or for worse.
Giuseppe Camuncoli takes over from Olivier Coipel on art duties, and while Coipel’s rendering of characters was in a league of its own, Camuncoli does a great job in his own right. He excels at drawing various Spider-People in costume and manages to make the heroes from more outlandish worlds work in a more traditonal setting. In fact, one area that Camuncoli excels where Coipel faltered is his fully realized backgrounds. While Coipel may have been rushed to finish his chapters and thus chose to neglect the backdrops, Camuncoli is able to flesh out the myriad worlds that the Spider-Army jumps travels through. In a multiverse-spanning event such as this, it’s important that we see that each world is colorful and strange rather than simply being told so.
Overall, Amazing Spider-Man #12 is a diamond in the rough. A barrage of advertisements for tie-ins in the middle of the issue distract from the real meat of the story: seeing various Spider-People jumping through strange and unfamiliar worlds, fighting against an unreasonably powerful enemy. Those adventurous moments are what makes Spider-Verse so exciting and are worth hopping aboard the Spider-Buggy for.